St. Joseph campaign celebrates the power of print through employee art

“Inspiration” by Judy Kirwin

Who: St. Joseph Communications.

What:, a new microsite for people to vote on artistic representations of the importance of print. It’s part of a larger marketing campaign to promote print magazines (ed. note: yay print!!).

When & Where: The campaign began in April, but the site just launched, and people can vote until Aug. 31. The winning design will be featured in a new ad about the power of print later this year.

“Comfort” by Michael Finley

Why: The campaign is partly about celebrating the 65th anniversary of St. Joseph Communications, and partly about promoting print media—which, in case you hadn’t heard, has been “DYING!!!” for, oh, 15 years or so.

St. Joseph isn’t advocating for print over digital, of course, but contends that print can still connect with consumers in ways that digital can’t.

“While print certainly ties back to our roots, our focus is on the power of print in today’s digital world, for consumers and marketers alike,” said Tony Gagliano, chairman and chief executive of SJC, in a release announcing the launch of

“Print materials like books, magazines and personalized communications in our mailboxes give us ways to connect with people and the topics we care about in a more tangible and intimate way. After the last 18 months, a physical way to connect and engage is more relevant, and more unique even, than ever before.”

As proof of its commitment to print, SJC pointed to the just-completed design overhaul for the iconic Maclean’s magazine, it’s first in 10 years. Next month it will relaunch a print version of another prestigious title, Canadian Business, after previous owner Rogers killed the print version in 2016.

“Grounded” by Kathryn Boyd

How: In the spring, St. Joseph invited Canadians to answer the question: “What does print mean to you?” The launch ad used the headline “Print is Trust,” based on Kantar research showing that people trust print more than any other medium. Readers were also invited to share their own words describing how they feel about print media.

More than 60 words were chosen from the submissions, with 14 “brought to life” by SJC staff as personal works of artistic interpretation and posted to

Michael Finley, a senior project manager, used freehand drawing, acrylic paint and collage to show how print is comfort. “I found the word comfort more difficult to portray than I had initially thought, so I went with ‘Print is comfort in a digital world,'” he explained. “I tried to include social media logos. I turn to magazines and books when life gets overwhelming. Living in this digital world leaves us bombarded with constant notifications, people reaching into our lives all the time. Unplugging, and shifting focus brings me a sense of comfort.”

“Imagination” by Ann de Sanchez Ross

People can review the 14 pieces of work, read the SJC artist / employee description of the work, and vote for their favourite. The most popular work will be featured in ad  running across SJC properties later this fall to “reinforce print’s powerful and personal role in today’s media landscape.”

The site also includes all 63 words chosen by SJC—”Dreaming,” “Erudition,” “Joy,” “Magical” and so on—with a short explanation why that word best represents print to the person who submitted it, along with articles and content on the value of print for advertisers.

And we quote: “So much about magazines is intentional and thoughtfully considered. These qualities, unique to print, are why we continue to invest in our brands, thrilled to usher in a new era of Canada’s best stories across print and digital.” —Tony Gagliano, chairman and CEO, SJC.



David Brown