“FLARE” will be a reality beyond just a digital-only magazine for Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) Public Awareness

Kerry and I have completed the final planning and decision making around the “FLARE” program and project. We are officially moving ahead with the effort.

With Kerry taking the lead with the support of our core team and several of you owning your own dedicated columns and editorial features, FLARE will now be a reality. The last time I posted an update about this special program I mentioned we were still making final decisions whether to move forward with it or not. God knows we have enough already in the hopper that is being worked on that needs to be finished.

You can read the first post I refer to if you would like, it is titled “FLARE – A Quarterly Digital Magazine Published By Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) Patients.

Months ago when I first mocked up the cover and shared this idea, I asked you guys if you thought it would be of value for us as HS patients. That FLARE would only work and we would only move forward with it if enough of us wanted to work on the project. That if FLARE could be of value and aligned with the fundamental mission and purpose of our organization. My tone at the time was only as such because I was attempting to take a hard look at my own limitations. To make sure I remain dedicated and focused on my own existing projects as part of this team. This is a very difficult thing to do for people like me. You can fill in the blanks.

We can now officially thank Kerry for not just her commitment to the project planning, but appreciate the very real creative and technical talent she already possesses that will define everything around what FLARE can and will become. As a growing organization, we could not and can not take on creative work like FLARE without people who have the experience and capability within fine art, graphic design, and publication design that Kerry will bring to the project.

Such resources that on our team historically I have provided for out of necessity only.

Well, she has it all including my confidence and respect in the most profound ways. One creative to another, allow my words now as she is reading this for the first time just like you to provide for admiration and gratitude.

I obviously could not be more elated about everything around this project and how it is all coming together.

FLARE - Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) Digital Magazine

FLARE – Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) Digital Magazine

In addition, in my previous update, I mentioned that if we were to pull the trigger, it would be the first day in 2018 for first quarter publishing. This was an attempt to be realistic with stated goals and expectations yet again. I also proposed that if the stars aligned in what is left of 2017 we maybe could pull off a celebratory publishing before issue number one.

As early as the coming week, Kerry and I will begin the design and layout of FLARE – cover to cover. My hands-on involvement will become limited after the production workflow is established and in place to support quarterly releases. I will, of course, be working at a high level to grow and support this project as I do with them all, as part of the team, but I have some new ideas I will share with you below that have only occurred to me now.

I explain all this in detail because for Kerry to be leading our core team and contributors on this project are the only reason FLARE is moving forward anytime soon.

That is just a fact.

Let me now propose some new goals I can focus on while you guys do your thing. I didn’t mention it before and made a conscious decision to present FLARE as a digital-only magazine for very good reasons. This was personally painful for me to establish such limitations. Real pain for me, no pun intended, that probably only other artists and designers would appreciate and understand.

But while very much they would be laughing at me now sharing this personal note.

You see, to plan for a digital-only magazine is not in my vocabulary. As an Art and Design snob, digital only isn’t good enough. Like bookworms, the need to feel the paper in their hand and do not care to read ebooks on a tablet, those of us as designers who got our start in print share a similar nostalgia if to make a comparison.

My education and career for over 20 years at its core has always been that of a Graphic Designer for print. It is this type of creative print work, specifically magazine and publication design that is our playground and used to define our professional identity in a brutally competitive industry.

Have you watched the HBO series Mad Men before? There is a reason we are called mad. This type of work is where we can and are expected to flex our creative muscle, innovate, and redefine the science of visual communication on a two dimensional printed surface. For us, this is nothing short of magical.

I must sound ridiculous to you trying to explain this on a personal level.

All jokes and self-loathing aside, I felt I had to plan for and to present this project as a digital-only magazine due to very real cost prohibitive limitations. That did not feel good for me personally.

Which is why I presented the FLARE concept and idea to you guys in my first post as I did.

To print and publish a FREE full-color magazine, let alone be able to distribute it, is a massive undertaking. One that is not foreign to me. These days, printed publications struggle to survive and are in a downward spiral of failure. I did not want this or any one of our projects to struggle or fail. I want them to be purposeful and with real value to address the unmet needs of us as HS patients.

The core reasons, purpose, and mission that our growing organization exists for, to begin with.

So when I first shared this idea it was important for me to clearly represent FLARE as a digital-only magazine to set realistic expectations. That outside of my selfish wants and ambitions as a designer to create a print magazine that there were very real limitations and even barriers I had to consider and make decisions about.

So at the time, digital only was my decision.

With that all said, and now that this project has it’s own legs with Kerry leading and with a supportive team working together with her, I am not so sure that FLARE has to be a digital-only magazine forever. I am thinking that my role on the project team now can be to take the purpose of FLARE to a whole new level that only print can provide for.

Allow me now to set a new goal for the 5th quarter publishing.

The first day of 2019, after FLARE is published in digital format only for a full year, will see our magazine exist in print.

This time frame will allow me to work on realizing print production and distribution for an entire coming year. I can work actively on planning for FLARE to be available in Dermatological clinics and their waiting rooms for HS patients and the general public for the sake of raising awareness across the USA as the next major goal.

We will need to carefully scale distribution early on by catering only to Dermatological practices within the largest medical institutions and hospitals first. These only number in the hundreds and as such is a realistic goal. One step at a time we could eventually be distributing FLARE to the thousands of registered Dermatological practices and smaller clinics across the country.

Thousands of practices and professionals that I already hold a contact database for that is ready to be used for mass direct mailing. If keeping the project scalable by conservative goal setting I can focus on, taking only one step at a time very carefully, there is no reason FLARE could not see global print distribution some day in the fairly near future.

As I mentioned, the first post I refer to if you missed it is titled “FLARE – A Quarterly Digital Magazine Published By Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) Patients”.

On behalf of the entire HSAWARENESS.ORG team,

Ron Bercume

About Kerry

Kerry Adams of HSAWARENESS

Kerry Adams (Creative Administrator of Special Projects): A proud single mother of three, Kerry lives in the south of the UK. As with the majority of HS patients, she lived without a name or answers for many years as a teenager as to why she was sick. This disease then became more of a major obstacle in her life in her mid-twenties, fighting through many years of minor surgeries and medications that didn’t work. She was finally given a diagnosis at 33 years of age. Due to her personal experiences with HS, Kerry easily observed a dangerous lack of awareness and wanted to make a difference. Learn more about Kerry by reading her personal Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) patient story “My HS Battle“.


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