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Changes Afoot at Signs of the Times

Staff changes, a redesigned website, new print content, and an old friend are on the mind of Editor-in-Chief Mark Kissling.




WHEN WE TALK ABOUT change, we have our choice of myriad clichés, some of them even contradictory. How can both “Change is inevitable” and “Some things never change” be true? Except both are true, as countless experiences have proven.

Changes are afoot here at Signs of the Times. I’m thrilled to be the new editor-in-chief and I’m equally excited that the indispensable Grant Freking is our new managing editor. We’ll continue to do all we can to help keep you informed and also – we hope – a bit entertained.

The just-updated website is cool and fun to navigate. Check it out!

And next month, we’ll debut our latest magazine redesign — one that reaches well beyond grids, fonts and new names for columns. Be ready, because the April issue of Signs of the Times will include content from you, our readers, as led by our new Brain Squad (sign up at I really think you’ll love reading your fellow signmakers’ “True Tales,” “Do You or Don’t You?” and more.

But there’s one more change I want to mention. March and this month’s accompanying Black Book are the final two issues in which Jeff Russ will be directly involved. Fittingly, his Last Look for this issue is one of his best finds.


Jeff started at ST Media Group, Signs’ former parent company, in March 1993 – just a month before I was hired – both of us in different roles for the company at first. Jeff became art director for Signs of the Times with our May 1996 issue, and designed every issue from then until December 2020, a nearly 25-year stint crossing four different decades.

Now then, I come to praise Jeff, not to bury him. He’s still very much with us! Thankfully, he now exerts his talents as content studio manager for SmartWork Media, the new parent company of Signs of the Times. And Victor Cantal, who’s succeeded Jeff as art director, has already demonstrated his incredible vision and creativity with the handful of issues he’s designed. We’re in very good hands with Victor.

Just one last thing about Jeff: I owe where I am today with Signs of the Times to Jeff for suggesting I apply for an editorial opening back in the summer of 2016. My job as manager of ST Books was fading away and I desperately needed the move. Well, I got that job and here I am. For that I am forever in my friend’s debt, and that will never change.

The 2021 Black Book Is Full of Useful Sign Industry Resources

Mark Kissling is ST’s Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at [email protected]


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