When Jordan Vouga graduated from Columbia College, he knew he didn’t want to work for a corporation.
“I knew so many people that were going out and starting their own projects, and making their daydream their day job despite what their parents or society was telling them,” said Vouga.
He said it motivated him to do the same.
Vouga, a graphic designer, joined with friends to found their print publication, Ancestry Quarterly, which launched is first issue in September. The publication serves as a platform for other starving artists and local businesses, allowing them to expose and promote their unique craft.
Ancestry Quarterly is now sold in over 50 stores throughout the U.S. in cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Providence. It’s also in three stores in Canada, and 350 copies were recently sent to a distributing company in Europe that will display the publication in art museums, art book stores and smaller boutiques.
The vision of Ancestry Quarterly started in summer 2012, but Vouga had been playing around with concepts for a creative publication for years. He said he began experimenting with different designs that didn’t become a reality until the first issue was launched. Since then, Ancestry published its second issue in March with a 60s underground newspaper-inspired design, Vouga said.
“You know how a dog and its owner will begin resembling each other after a few years?” Vouga said. “Ancestry is much like that in exposing how a person and their space can really grow to be one; it’s essentially an extension of themselves.”
Vouga’s business partners and friends recognize his rare ability to expose and accentuate the abandoned beauty of the basic things in life.
“Jordan is a creative and innovative thinker,” said Sofia Bibliowicz, public relations representative for Ancestry. “He has a lot to say and give to the publication industry.”
Staff members at the magazine said Vouga challenges himself to improve and he approaches his art form with a need for pushing the boundaries of design.
“He is always searching for a way to push his designs, and is constantly challenging himself to make his work better. He is very critical of himself and his work, which is probably why he’s so good at what he does,” said Lauren Tackbary, marketing director of Ancestry.
Vouga has thought about what he wants the publication to become.
“I hope we never stop growing,”Vouga said. “Short term, we want to get the magazine into every major city throughout the U.S., as well as in Asia. Long term, I eventually want to turn Ancestry into not just a magazine, but an entire publishing company where we’re publishing other similar magazines and companies’ideas and then creating an online store, so everything we publish, as well as anything featured in the magazine, we can sell. I guess we want to turn it into more of a creative empire.”
Among all the places around the world he hopes Ancestry Quarterly will reach, Vouga said there was no better place to be at the time Ancestry started than in Chicago.
“It is the perfect place to be doing something like this at our scale,” Vouga said. “The small business and creative scene is really close knit and everyone is really interconnected. If you get in now, you’ll rise up with everyone else and there’s a lot of room for growth, so we’re in a good position.”
Now that they’ve grown, the core of Ancestry is moving from Chicago to San Francisco. Vouga and Tackbary are moving there in May.
The third issue is being planned and is expected to hit the press mid-July when it can be found throughout Chicago in places such as Lula Cafe, Humboldt House, Sprout Home, Half Acre Brewery and many more.
Meanwhile, Vouga is rebranding an all vegan fast food restaurant in San Diego that’s dedicated to the non-use of genetically modified organisms. Vouga has worked on the marketing signage and the redesign of the restaurant’s website. He also recently finished the branding for a therapist in Chicago.
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