This is why we *can* have nice things! Thanks to one local artist’s mad InDesign skills, East Falls’ community paper shines. 

Until 8 months ago, East Falls Local’s monthly newspaper layout was an uneven, random affair. At different times, we’d employ a traditional format or magazine spreads and some editions kinda looked like comic books. Sometimes in the same issue.

“You were all over the place, “ Stephanie Ostrov reminded us when we sat down for a brunch interview on Murphy’s patio. “I could see what you were doing online, but in print you were still looking for your voice.”

Dan & Steph at the Knotted Grotto

We met Stephanie and her husband, Dan, (Stanton St) at the East Falls preview for their “Knotted Grotto” art installation for the Pope’s visit in 2015. Our paths would cross over the years as Stephanie started designing for BuLogics, and more recently with the East Falls Beer Garden and Young American Cider, where Steph leads promotions & marketing.

So last February, East Falls Local reached a milestone in ad revenue that we put right back into the paper by bringing Stephanie aboard as our layout designer! She set to task, cleaning up our look and unifying it with her own modern stamp. “You guys already have an expressive voice, I just tried to convey that graphically.”

Meeting at Murphy’s with Steph & Dan

And in newsprint, which always requires a bit of a learning curve — different printers use various inks, paper weights, processes, etc.  Plus, broadsheet is an archaic style so Steph had to adapt some retro skills for a contemporary audience. It’s a process. “I always think I’ll just use last month’s template but then I always wind up playing around & designing something new.”

In fact, Stephanie factored flexibility into her template – every month, she finds a theme and creates a new image for the GPS marker in our banner. She also often adds her own headlines & callout text, and sometimes even pics. Frankly, she puts in way more hours than we can pay her, but she tells us she enjoys creating for the neighborhood, “A lot of artists live around East Falls, it’s fun to get my work out there while supporting the community.”

Steph’s the marketing guru behind the beer garden in the Twin Bridges’ parking lot

Working with so many local businesses and organizations, Steph maintains a uniquely neutral position across the board. How does she do it? “I work hard, I don’t pick sides, I focus on the positive. What’s really important to me is that we’re all neighbors and we’re all trying to do what’s best for our home.”

As East Falls’ community paper, we’re proud to share stories about the people, enterprises, and events in our area – written by neighbors who love where they live. Stephanie’s distinctive designs make every month’s East Falls Local. Big thanks to Steph for bringing us up to speed in print for our readers!

And thanks, too, for pulling other talented artists into EFL’s fold! “I’m looking to create some collaborations in the future,” she told us, with not a little “mwaahaahaa” in her voice.

Speaking of evil laughter, heads up – next month is our 3rd Halloween edition! No idea what Steph’s got in mind but apparently she’s been talking with a couple who creates old-school zines… And conjures the dead!

LIKE EFL’S LOOK? Send feedback to editor@EastFallsLocal.com. To collaborate, email us with links or attachments, and let us know what you have in mind.

FREE BEER! Keep your eyes out for Stephanie’s EF Beer Garden Facebook posts telling you how to tag friends for a chance to win five free beers at the next 3rd Thursday.

HEADS UP: LAUGH HARD THIS SEPT! Steph’s husband, Dan Ostrov, is an emerging stand-up talent with friends in funny places. September 14th, he’ll be presenting his 2nd Dirty Old Town Comedy Showcase at the Trolley Car Café.