norman gaulin: blog

#ShowYourWork: Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener, Summer Issue

Something new

Three years ago, I approached Holly and Joey Baird of The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener with a new product, in effort to grow our audience , a quarterly digital magazine. Our first issue set a lot of standards and allowed us to share new ideas about; urban farming, illuminate the growth of our brand, set ourselves apart from the rest, and most importantly, give our audience a tangible piece of knowledge. Something they could share, download, email and print off at home for themselves.

In all the work I’ve created, I am most proud of the magazine.

Discovering Weakness and Raising Standards

In preparation for the summer issue, I discovered I had fallen victim to bad habits. Often in the freelancing world tight deadlines and specific requests from clients, can remove important elements of the design process, and this lazy mindset had begun to effect the quality of our magazine. That became more apparent when reviewing past issues. 


So in response I decided to set a new standard for myself. It was time to change my work flow. I turned off my phone, I turned off the internet. I placed a huge ‘do not disturb’ sign on my studio door and I started sketching, brainstorming, and creating thumbnails. I would take long walks and drive myself crazy as I “carved” the ideas out in my head. I created a new grid for our articles, I took new photographs to reflect each article, instead of relying on our archives .This new approach turned out to be the most effective and powerful way to create a solid and standard design to carry the product to its final conception.

In the past, I used large amounts of color to create something vibrant and tantalizing. In this issue I used more negative space and a selected standard fonts to allow the magazine to be printed by our readers in a cost-effective manner.


I am very proud with the product we created this quarter. I’ve been indifferent towards my life as a creative person in the past few months and forcing myself to this change, and challenge to grow,  revived my confidence and output. I’m very thankful to the audience that we have cultivated through our efforts at The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener. In today’s growing world of interactive media, print and 2-D design is becoming less appreciated. I have been blessed with the rare opportunity to create for a very involved and active audience.

You can read our publication at (The summer issue will be out soon) It’s a PDF free to download, share and print. We also have the complete back archive available. You can also find more information about Holly and Joey, including a video series, podcast and multitude of things that they are up to. If you live in southeastern Wisconsin, you have many opportunities to attend their free educational talks this summer, click here for the full schedule.


Uncle Lester’s Guitar -Yamaha FG-140 Nippon Gakki

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#FG140 #NipponGakki #Yamaha #classicguitar #acousticguitar#vintageguitar

Lost Sound Defects – MPLS Underground Music

WEEK TWO: Family Record Collection

recordsNGP2014 (48 of 6)      My Grandmother was a short, southern Italian immigrant who arrived in America first in Kentucky,as I understand it, as as teenager. When she passed in 2010 a great deal of her possessions where given to family members. And I with serious curiosity took the record collection. Between an outstanding Johnny Cash collection, Laurence Welk and Tennessee American Folk with a few time life collections peppered in. I have spent countless hours of the last 4 years exploring this vast collection of American music.

     In a world pre-internet a, pre-instant gratification, my grand mother would spin these records most of the day. A constant source of entertainment, to be thoroughly enjoyed. Re-visiting them as an adult I can only gather vague memories of visiting her. It is interesting to discover what our possessions say about us, and what they will continue to say after we leave them far behind.

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WEEK ONE: Daily Practice

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As a photographer I have been fortunate enough to live a life full of tiny serene moments. If you look hard enough or let yourself be aware you can see those moments happening all the time, in all things continuously.  I have recently started carrying a camera every where I go now, as I did when I began.This form of practice has lead to some interesting adventures, allowing myself to be places I probably shouldn’t and take some risks that only have lead to an expansion of knowledge and an ability to take on unexpected challenges. Comfort has never been a good friend.

I hope this experiment goes well, for the most part. It will at least make for an interesting summer. I look forward to sharing that work here.

burning composite
Will had a divorce

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“Growing Together” A Documentary Short



The John High & Victor Campbell Quartet

Savage Aural Hotbed at Franconia Sculpture Park, August 2013

Cascade Falls, Osceola, WI


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