‘Clearly crazy, probably possessed, I started a magazine named NAIL!’

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By Ted Leonhardt

Why NAIL? Nails have a sharp point. They penetrate. They’re powerful. And yet they make connections and collaborate. I wanted NAIL to have these attributes. And, as an old brand guy, I knew that a short, easy to pronounce name, one that could evoke our higher purpose, would serve us well.

You may, or may not, have noticed that my first book was titled Nail It, and I publish a weekly email titled NAIL IT! Weekly. Clearly, I’m stuck on all things nailed.

So, here we are with NAIL. It’s all about being a creative person in today’s world, and it’s available in print, thanks to ColorGraphics, as well as in digital form.

Here’s the real question: Will readers like NAIL enough to buy it, so we can get to work on a second issue? I know that sounds self-serving, and it is. But I also know that you understand how wonderfully all-consuming it is to create something from scratch with a like-minded team.

NAIL is our gift to readers—in the form of a host of ideas and perspectives on life as a creative professional—and it’s also a gift to ourselves.

I’ve spent many fruitful years leading creative firms, launching creative projects and doing creative work for corporate clients and for people just like you. Somewhere along the way I began to think about what it means to be a creative. How we get to be creative. And how to balance the joy we get from immersing ourselves in the work with the sorrow we feel when we encounter the inevitable failures and disappointments.

My life experience has led to an accumulation of ideas and, dare I claim, insights on our creativity, which, in turn, led to NAIL and this declaration of purpose.

NAIL’s mission is to look at the lives of creatives in the world. We’re interested in how talented, committed, empathetic people get through the day—that is, survive and, more than that, thrive, looking beyond to greater ambitions and desires. Especially in this current moment of incivility, visceral and psychic violence, information bombardment and fake news, and the post-truth culture of Donald Trump.

And since we swim in a capitalist sea, how do we get through our careers and work lives without drowning in the worst? When goals of personal branding and financial accumulations take precedence—and often are achieved through bullying—it’s all the more important to focus on what matters most to individuals who truly are creative.

Creatives are motivated by feelings and job satisfaction far more than money, and we do our best work in relative isolation. How then do we negotiate  the narrow channels of business and money and the often-challenging company of others, as we paddle through this wide and sometimes-turbulent ocean?

The NAIL team and I firmly believe that, in addressing these issues, we will make the world a better place—and that by helping certain very special people (sensitive, thoughtful, talented people)—we will be helping everyone. We believe that this is doing our part.

The world always has been challenging for people like us—we feel it, we take it in. We know that when our work grows out of experience, it’s always better. But how to weather and best manage the takeaways from that experience is a key, continuing part of being creative.

Please consider NAIL a source of support as you keep your commitment to yourself, your heart, your mind and your talent.


Seattle native Ted Leonhardt has had a long career in the global design industry, and he has a passion for seeing all creatives get full value. Go to NAILthemagazine.com to buy the first issue of NAIL.