How to make a magazine with Chris Brown of “Refueled”

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Chris Brown: Publisher

The first thing we probably have to say is that this is not that Chris Brown. We happen to think this Chris Brown is a lot more interesting than the one that usually grabs the headlines. This Chris Brown is the self-publishing powerhouse behind Refueled, a magazine which, he says, is “a way to introduce others to the things and people I dig.” Refueled is as well photographed, written, and designed as anything from Condé Nast. In fact, it’s better than that. Plus, the people that he features are people you might actually meet.

The designer, writer, and photographer created his first magazine when he was eight years old. Back then, his magazines were stapled together (more on that below). Ready for the newsstand? Note quite, but they were enough to fuel a lifelong obsession with publishing.

These days he uses Blurb to put it all together. Initially, he published issues 8, 9, and 10 in our Standard Portrait size. We sent him an email saying we thought it’d look pretty good in our new Magazine format. Would he let us give it a try? He said sure. And, from what he told us during a recent interview about his past, present, and future in publishing, it sounds like he’s a convert.

Blurb: What does Blurb’s new magazine format mean for Refueled?

Chris: Three words – Simple, Seamless & Beautiful. It’s a great format for self publishers. Everything from the perfect binding, stock, and color creates an amazing finished product. I’m very impressed. I love holding it in my hands.

refueled 1 How to make a magazine with Chris Brown of Refueled

Blurb: Can you tell us how you fell in love with magazine publishing?

Chris: I have been interested in magazines and visuals from a very early age. As a child of the ’60s I was drawn to the media of the times – television, radio & print. The turning point was when my grandfather bought me my first MAD magazine. Its rebellious spirit spoke to me. So, at eight years old I began creating my own magazine. I drew the covers, developed fake ads, wrote stories about the people in and around the neighborhood, stapled those eight and a half inch pieces of typing paper down the sides and sold them to kids for ten cents.

Blurb: What is the mission of Refueled?

Chris: The mission for Refueled is pretty simple – to explore and share the American dream and the people, ideas and things I find inspiring. Every issue of Refueled is like a entry out of my personal journal. Refueled represents a vibe – an American spirit.

refueled 2 How to make a magazine with Chris Brown of Refueled

Blurb: Can you describe how each issue is created?

Chris: Every issue comes about in a very organic way. I’m always knee deep in exploring inspiring folks. My small personal circle of friends consist of artists, designers, makers, musicians, hoteliers, publishers, photographers, bikers, hotrodders, surfers and adventurers, so I never have to go far for inspiration. I’m extremely lucky to be involved with an amazing creative community. Refueled is definitely about collaboration.

refueled 3 How to make a magazine with Chris Brown of Refueled

Blurb: Besides Refueled, what other creative projects do you have going?

Chris: Music has played a huge part in my life, so from the very beginning I began to explore ways to incorporate it throughout Refueled. And a developing video series, which can be found on the Refueled website titled “Automatic Buzz” was created to showcase singer/songwriters that I dig. This year also found Refueled collaborating with some amazing folks doing really cool things. Lifestyle brand Iron & Resin, and I collaborated on a vintage inspired embroidered patch collection surrounding Refueled’s “Explore America” theme. I was also asked to curate American made goods for the MADE Collection, which was cool. There are some rad things planned for 2013.

Blurb: Any plans to take Refueled the ebook route?

Chris: I see the ebook route definitely growing, with huge potential. I’m always exploring way to better share Refueled.

Blurb: Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Chris: Peace, Love & Print.

Get a copy of Refueled in its beautiful new Magazine format. And for more of Chris, check out his TEDx Atlanta talk below:

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