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Charm City Chinese is a beautiful magazine about the form, culture, and taste of Chinese take-out in Baltimore and America.
Charm City Chinese is a beautiful magazine about the form, culture, and taste of Chinese take-out in Baltimore and America.
159 backers pledged $5,186 to help bring this project to life.
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$5,186

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Have you ever wondered about General Tso? Not just the chicken, but the guy? Ever walked into a Chinese restaurant and been amazed by a menu that seems to follow you, from state to state, always exactly the same? Maybe it's a little more mundane - if you live in Baltimore, have you ever just wanted to know where the best Chinese food for your money is? 

Finally, your questions can be answered.

Rough Cover
Rough Cover

Charm City Chinese is an exhaustive survey of all things Chinese take-out in Baltimore (and beyond!) in magazine form. 

Charm City Chinese includes authoritative reviews on a majority of the Chinese restaurants in Baltimore city, in addition to food photography, illustrations, narratives, essays, historical and cultural perspectives, and assorted information about Chinese take out, both nation-wide, and Baltimore specific, packaged in a beautifully designed magazine.

I'm a senior Graphic Design major at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Charm City Chinese is my thesis project. The magazine will be constructed in the style of an information-dense newsstand monthly magazine. That means attention-grabbing photographs, illustrations, infographics and typography running along side engaging articles about all of the aspects of Chinese take-out. Although I'm a student, I'm fully committed to this publication being a fully functional & professionally made magazine stuffed with original content and worth holding on to.

A big part of Charm City Chinese is restaurant reviews of the Chinese take-out restaurants in Baltimore. 

Our team has already run scientific reviews on over 50 restaurants, and we've got more to go. We'll give you the low-down on each place - not just their food, but also their delivery charges, combo deals, fortune cookie generosity and more.

 If you don't live in Baltimore, there's still lots of great stuff on the magazine for you.

We've got a great group of writers on everything from the true nature of MSG (a hint - it's not that scary!), interviews with restaurant owners, a discussion of Judaism and Chinese food, analyzing Chinese food in pop culture, figuring out why all Chinese restaurants look the same, and much much more. And besides, there's all the beautiful food photography and illustrations to look at and get you hungry!

photo by Cherry Lau
photo by Cherry Lau

We have an all-star staff of illustrators, photographers, and foodies working on material for the magazine.

There's over 40 creative contributors currently lined up and making art, and we're fairly compensating all of them for their time and abilities. Here's a short list of some of the people pitching in:

And lots more!

Zak Bickel
Zak Bickel

About the Designer

I've read magazines voraciously my entire life, and I've made a lot of publications throughout my career at MICA. I've also eaten a lot of Chinese food. I currently am a design intern at Express, the commuter newspaper of The Washington Post. Last summer I interned in the design departments at Food Network Magazine and The New Republic, two national magazines. Previously I've interned at various design studios in Baltimore and done freelance work for a whole range of clients. I'm really excited to make Charm City Chinese happen.

Budget 

Producing a full-scale magazine with entirely original content is very expensive, but I'm trying to make it possible on a student budget. I'm printing 200-300 copies through Publisher's Press in Kentucky, one of the largest dedicated magazine printers in the country. There's also the costs of paying all contributors, buying food to review, and miscellaneous costs like website domains, font purchases, and props for photoshoots. 

We're looking at a total expenditure of around $7,500. 

The Kickstarter is set at 4,750, the lowest amount that will result in Charm City Chinese being able to be produced using my own money. Going over will make the magazine production easier on me and will allow me to create more content and rewards for the backers.

 $1 

Supporter: Thanks for helping out! You'll see updates on the project and appear on the backers page of the magazine. You'll also get a personal email thanking you for your contribution.

$10

Online Magazine: Get access to the eBook version of Charm City Chinese, fun Chinese food stickers, and a handwritten note thanking you for your help. Also participate in a group Google Hangout where we all eat Chinese food together! You'll also get all Supporter rewards.

Custom Stickers
Custom Stickers

 $25:

The Print Magazine of Charm City Chinese!

Also includes previous awards. 

$25+:

Look on the side for more donation options above $25! Rewards range from limited edition t-shirts (pictured below), Charm City Chinese chopsticks, artists' prints, masthead credits, even the chance to guide your own restaurant review!

Custom T-Shirt
Custom T-Shirt

 Thanks so much for your support!

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge involved with this project is the quantity and quality of content. I'm directing a lot of contributors and coordinating production of a massive task. I'm lucky to have teachers and collaborators at my side, helping and giving advice, but it's still a huge amount to take on.

Most of the reviewing content has been finished and the magazine is completely planned. Around 30% of the tasks have been assigned, with the rest of the stories and art being rapidly handed off for production. There's a lot of things to be designed, but I'm very confident in my ability to finish it based on my past experience in publication creation.

The biggest possible issue would be my inability to finish the magazine by May (my thesis show). If this happens, I'll be in contact with all backers and communicate when the magazine will be complete. Regardless of deadlines, I will not compromise quality or cut material from the magazine. Even if it prints slightly late, Charm City Chinese will be a top notch publication in every sense of the word.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    ~ SUPPORTER:

    Thanks for helping out! You'll see updates on the project and appear on the backers page of the magazine. You'll also get a personal email thanking you for your contribution.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    ~ ONLINE MAGAZINE:

    Get access to the eBook version of Charm City Chinese, fun Chinese food stickers, and a handwritten note thanking you for your help. Also participate in a group Google Hangout where we all eat Chinese food together! You'll also get all SUPPORTER rewards.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    ~ CHARM CITY CHINESE MAGAZINE:

    This is what we're here for! $25 gets you the print edition of Charm City Chinese, plus all of the rewards listed above (SUPPORTER & ONLINE MAGAZINE).

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    ~ ARTIST PRINT FROM MAGAZINE:

    Get a high quality 8.5x11 inch artist print of your favorite illustration from the magazine, plus a print edition of the magazine. Selections of prints will be made available in the coming months. Also includes SUPPORTER and ONLINE MAGAZINE awards.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    ~ LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT:

    Get a limited edition Charm City Chinese t-shirt, plus a print edition of the magazine. Also includes previous awards (SUPPORTER, ONLINE MAGAZINE).

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    Limited 15 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ~ LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT & ARTIST PRINT:

    Get a limited edition Charm City Chinese t-shirt, plus an artist print of your choice (see above for details), plus a print edition of the magazine. Includes previous awards (SUPPORTER, ONLINE MAGAZINE).

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    Limited 12 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ~ LIMITED EDITION CHOPSTICKS:

    Get a limited edition pair of Charm City Chinese chopsticks! Includes a print edition of the magazine and SUPPORTER and ONLINE MAGAZINE level awards.

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    Limited 1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    ~ SWAG COMBO PACK:

    Get all of the limited edition items! This includes chopsticks, a t-shirt, an artist print of your choice, and a print edition of the magazine, in addition to stickers, the eBook, and our sincere thanks privately and publicly.

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    Limited 5 backers
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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    ~ DIRECT YOUR OWN REVIEW:

    Interested in a specific Chinese restaurant in Baltimore? We'll do an in-depth review on it, and we'll work with you to bring you on the outing! Includes a copy of the print edition, ONLINE MAGAZINE and SUPPORTER level awards, a masthead credit of "Guest Reviewer", and a personalized business card as a reviewer.

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    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    ~ ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT:

    Be listed on the Charm City Chinese masthead as an associate producer! Includes a copy of the print edition, all previous physical awards, ONLINE MAGAZINE and SUPPORTER level awards, and a personalized business card.

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    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    ~ CHINESE FEAST AND PRODUCER CREDIT:

    You'll be treated to Charm City Chinese's favorite Chinese meal in Baltimore and get to meet the primary contributors to the magazine! Transportation not included. You'll be listed in the masthead as a Producer. Includes all previous physical awards, ONLINE MAGAZINE and SUPPORTER level awards, and a personalized business card.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ~ CHINESE TAKE-OUT LOVER:

    All of your Chinese take-out dreams will come true! Be interviewed in the magazine about your connection to Chinese food (or lack there-of, or anything else you'd like to talk about). Transportation not included. Includes all the awards listed under CHINESE FEAST and a producer credit.

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)