The Jig is Up. The News is Out: Making Revelo Magazine a Reality

Dream a Little Dream

It has always been important to me to use Espial Design Group as a means to fulfill our dreams. Prior to our first official meeting, I asked our team to come prepared with projects that they have always wanted to be a part of. They enthusiastically arrived, armed with ideas to pitch, and together we devised ways to make those dream projects a reality. Among the most compelling topics were photographing everyday people and video documentaries. At some point that weekday morning, one team member asked, “so, are we done with publications?”

The wool had been uncovered from our eyes. Coming from a publication background, the obviousness of beginning our own magazine set off a spark. Without hesitation, the team said “no” and each chimed in on what they deemed as important platforms in forming what has now become Revelo.

1. More content. 

One negative comment about magazines that we took notice of is that it is often grueling to flip through a large number of advertisements before reading story content. We knew Revelo needed to be different. However, with a limited start-up budget, it also needed the financial support of advertisers. In turn, we wanted to demonstrate our support to our local business community.

2. Less advertisements.

To remedy the “more content, less ads” issue, we discussed a sponsorship concept that allows businesses the chance to support their local community by sponsoring stories rather than placing a traditional advertisement. Noticing the number of local businesses who make it a point to donate to causes, it seemed like taking a chance in asking them to sponsor specific individuals was not a far-fetched approach.

3. Meaningful features. 

Another observation was the reader’s appetite for feature topics of meaningful substance and stories of heartfelt reality. We listened to these comments and we also agreed. The Espial team naturally gravitates towards charities, human-interest stories, and incredible people. The wheels kept turning and the concept developed.

We thought back to ancient folklore. We thought back to the stories that we remembered and we realized that some of the most impacting moments and closest relationships in a one’s life may come from connecting experiences to another person. This impact can be as a casual conversation with a stranger sitting next to you on the bus, at a coffee shop, in a pub. Through communication, you may find out something about that person that either connects you together from a common coincidence, or they tell you something that wows you. You are not likely to forget that person. You may think about them for days or mention their story to someone else. That is the ultimate form of human connection and that is what we wanted Revelo to be.

To continue the story telling in digital format, we threw around the idea of video interviewing each individual as they told their stories as not to lose any piece of their journey. Not moments before discussing the possibility of Revelo, we dreamt about photographing everyday people and documenting their stories. So why not combine the two? The idea stuck.

With those thoughts setting the stage for our new publication, we returned to our homes and continued to let the ideas brew.

What’s in a Name?

Naming Revelo was the most difficult part of the progression. We had the talent; we knew writers; we knew printers; we knew business owners; we knew people with really incredible stories to tell; but putting a name on our brainchild took more work. A Google Doc was started and thus began the painstaking process of crossing names off the list. The name needed to have meaning. It also needed to not already be another business or publication. So together, we searched and searched for days on end to find the perfect name, and when the English language failed us, we turned to the Latin dictionary.

After we narrowed down the names to just two, we polled our 9-year-old (aka our intern) on which one sounded better. Without hesitation, the word “Revelo” rolled off of his tongue and landed in front of us on our plate of burgers and fries at the diner table at which we were sitting.

The magazine had a name. The Latin word “Revelo” means “I reveal. I disclose. I uncover.” It perfectly summed up the goal that our publication was aiming to accomplish.

Keep it Secret. Keep it Safe.

Todd hit the streets equipped with the Revelo media kit and began contacting his connections. Right off the bat, he was met with very little resistance and an overwhelming enthusiasm for the project. One advertisement or sponsorship commitment snowballed into many and soon our publication had found the backing that it needed to become a reality.

Our gratitude continues to go out to the 18 organizations that took a chance on Revelo and essentially gave it the means to see production. The assumptions were correct on the day of our staff meeting … the county’s close-knit community is filled with amazing business owners who also seek to lift up others and create a bond between the people who live here.

Since Revelo’s reveal, we are often asked how we found the incredible people who became our first issue subjects. During the process, we felt that it was key to keep Revelo’s production a secret to the masses until it was time to release it to the world. This may have made finding subjects for the first issue a difficult endeavor but what we discovered was the exact opposite. Due to the excitement that buzzed between our staff, family, friends, and advertising and sponsor partners, we quickly found that uncovering subjects was easy.

The next few months were spent contacting a list of individuals, gaining agreement to be involved, and setting up a date to meet with our crew of four to five…myself, Bianca (photos), Chris (video), Brooke or Michael (writers), and on occasion, Todd (interviewer). To our excitement, not one of our initial contacts denied the opportunity to tell their story in Revelo.

The subjects willingly opened themselves up to tell us their personal journeys of enduring hardships, their determination to overcome and succeed, and their most triumphant moments. Most of the interviews took place at their private residences… meaning not only had they divulged their incredible stories, but also opened the doors of their homes to us. At times, we entered strangers, but left closely bonded by the details that forged their present day existence. It is a bond that will never be forgotten and will influence the Espial staff throughout the ages.

Revelo was born.

It is our great honor and privilege to reveal Revelo onto the community. Our goal is to continue to offer an outlet to tell the tales of those who have lived, and are living, incredible lives. Together, with our society, we aim to inspire others and give public voices to those who deserve to be heard.

The team at Espial Design Group offers our sincere and heartfelt thank you to the subjects, sponsors, community supporters, and talent behind the first issue of Revelo. Please continue to submit your stories online and take the time to read and watch the interviews at We look forward to growing and for issue number two in April, 2018.

I dedicate this post to my dear friend, Annika (Horn) Kerchner. It is within her ability to overcome, to live, that I found my personal inspiration throughout the creation of Revelo. She is my muse. My person.