VIA Publication Style Guide

VIA Publication Issue 04 Deadline Schedule:


Note: Top Editors complete final grammatical edits


VIA: refer to the publication as VIA Publication, not VIA magazine, nor Via magazine.

VIA follows the Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for citations and grammatical styling. Here’s a link to Purdue’s online booklet: For all questions not specifically addressed in this style guide, please consult one of the references above.

First draft articles should include a working title, stay within 2500-3500 words in length, and include at least 3 high-resolution (300-600 DPI) images. Once we receive your draft, we will pair you with an Editor to work through any additional details or fact checking. While writing your article, your point of contact will be Julie, Ally or Casey. They are available to answer any questions or concerns about your submission. 


abbreviations and acronyms: use sparingly, unless the abbreviation or acronym has become a part of daily language. When necessary, use abbreviations and acronyms only after the first reference to the full title followed by the abbreviation or acronym in parenthesis.

For geographic abbreviations: LA, NY, US, UK

For two word abbreviations: B.A. Ph.D.

For three or more letters, and acronyms, no punctuation is necessary: ESPLA, CULA

ampersands: avoid using unless officially part of a title: & Pens Press

artist names: use first and last name on first mention, then by last name thereafter.

art styles and periods: should be capitalized when referring to a specific style or period, though they are not capitalized when used as adjectives to describe a general style

The Light and Space movement


biannual: can mean twice a year or every two years, so it should be avoided unless it is clarified

VIA Publication is a biannual publication that prints twice a year.

Better: VIA Publication prints twice a year

biweekly: see biannual

British spellings: should be avoided, unless it is an official title or name:

theater NOT theatre
organization NOT organisation
gray NOT grey
British Labour Party NOT British Labor Party

could potentially: is an oxymoron

critique: noun; criticise verb 

dates: do not use apostrophes for decades: 1950s NOT 1950’s

use numerical figures: 19th century NOT nineteenth century; 1950s NOT nineteen sixties

use a hyphen for adjectives: 21st-century ideology not 21st century ideology

do not use st, nd, rd, or th with dates: January 22, 2014 not January 22nd, 2014

commas are not necessary when only a month and year are given: January 2014 

DJ: noun; deejay: verb

em dash: can be used like a parenthesis, comma, or semicolon to set off a thought. do not use spaces on either side of the em dash. create the em dash on Macs using option + shift + hyphen. do not mistake an em dash for an en dash, used to replace "and" or "to" (indicating spans): 1930–2009 (option + hyphen). do not mistake an en dash or em dash for a hyphen, used to join words: full-length album


foreign words: should be italicized unless listed in Webster’s 11th

image captions: should include the artist name, title of work in italics, date, medium, size, collection/whereabouts

Peter Alexander, PA and PE, 1990. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 75 × 200 inches. © Peter Alexander. Courtesy Pacific Enterprises

Instagram: noun; instagramming: verb (lowercase)

lyrics and poetryset in quotes, use a slash between lines without other punctuation, and capitalize the first letter of each line:

"You say I'm inconsistent / Have to admit, I'm fucking persistent," sings Michael Fiore, before "I think of changing / When you rearrange me."

midcentury: NOT mid-century

MC: noun; emcee: verb

more than: refers to quantifiable numbers; over: should be used to describe distances

The space allows more than 30 musicians to perform. 

numbers: spell out one through nine, use figures from 10 through 999,999

Never begin a sentence with a figure: Nine years have passed since the gallery first opened its doors to 27 attendees in 1973.

Spell out million, billion, trillion: 25 million, 3 billion, 14 trillion.

If required for accuracy, use figures: 13,924,478.

For decades: 1930s, 1890s.

oxford comma: do use the serial comma to separate a list of items 

The brightly-lit and bustling space was filled with paintings, books, sculptures, and people. 

palate: refers to taste while pallet: refers to a wooden frame while palette: refers to the tool used to mix paint

passive: tense should be avoided when you can use active tense

Bad: The show was attended by patrons with high hopes.

Better: Patrons attended the show with high hopes.

percent: should be spelled out as one word and never hyphenated. follow regular numerical rules

75 percent NOT 75%

three percent NOT 3 percent nor 3-percent

periods: use one space, never two, between a period and the next sentence

punctuation around italics: unless it's an apostrophe or part of the title, punctuation that follows or precedes an italic word is set in roman type

quotes: should be edited for clarity, concision and elegance. direct quotes should be spare and used to enhance a story, not fill a story, otherwise paraphrase the quote. use brackets and ellipses also sparingly as they may suggest a false precision or accuracy. quoted material should be in the present tense if the writer did the interview. if the quote is from another publication, use the past tense.


swear words: use them, don’t abuse them, and don’t censor them (with asterisks or any other symbols)

that: is used in restrictive (essential) clauses; which is used in nonrestrictive (nonessential) clauses

the: lowercase when part of the name of a group, a company, an institution, a restaurant: the Doors, the Standard Hotel, the University of Southern California

Capitalize it when it’s part of the title of a work: The New York Times 

titles: italicize names of books, albums, exhibitions, films. use quotations for song names and artwork. 

If an italicized title becomes plural or possessive, the s or 's is not italicized: VIA Publication's mission is to document contemporary LA culture. 

time: 4 p.m. NOT 4:00 p.m. nor 4:00 pm nor 4pm

4:30 p.m. NOT half past 4 p.m.

noon NOT 12 p.m.

midnight NOT 12 a.m.

4 o'clock is also acceptable if you wish to be less precise

websites: for URLs that appear in print, omit the domain server and URL protocols NOT



Publication Inspiration

The following are starting points in looking to develop a consistent tone for VIA. This is what we’re looking at and aspiring to; take a gander and hopefully this leaves us closer to the same page. 


N+1 - especially their writing on technology and interdisciplinary approach to culture. They also have wrapped a political approach and tone into some of their features.

LA Review of Books

The Hairpin - a little too informal for VIA but the perfect phds writing on their lunch breaks kinda vibe

The Creators Project

The Paris Review

New Inquiry - such a smart take on general culture through the lens of people with art, lit, and critical theory backgrounds

Club Donny – for it’s lovely imagery


Frieze Magazine’s Interview section: the interviewer is informed on their subject, asking insightful questions relevant to contemporary art, design, music, architecture discourse. Similar to Zac Tomaszewski’s piece in VIA Issue 02. See Poet in Action in the Issue 159 of Frieze Magazine online.



Cabinet - Art through the lens of a broader cultural sphere

Bad At Sports - super pointed interviews that are relevant to their core audience and explored in depth.

For 500 word reviews, Artforum’scritics’ picks

Recent fan of Temporary Art Review’s Futures Section

texe zur kunst


Apartamento - especially the personal essays at the beginning. great anecdotal tone.

Sight Unseen

Freundon von Freundon - interviews with creatives + original photography (could be nice to do 1 of these types of things in each issue)

You Have Been Here Sometime

Design Observer


Tiny Mix Tapes

Pitchfork - music reviews are my go to when trying to discover new music. There's always some anecdote or personal insight that engages me to read on. Also their more extensive coverage not only profiles new musicians, they often tend to have a historical lean with fucking fantastic first person sources (e.g. Elliott smith comprehensive interviews around 10th yr anniversary of his death. Definitely invaluable content )

Awesome Tapes From Africa - exposing readers to new and unknown content

The importance of this:

 Looking at music writers who have experience with different publications and have versatile taste:

Some LA based music blogs to keep an eye on:


The Gourmand - art+food (and editorial styling)a+++

Put An Egg On It

Lucky Peach - clever narrative structures, blending of food with other cultures-film and lit mostly, with a bit of a look-inside-the-minds-of-famous-food-people vib



Public Fiction

Night Papers

Stuff we don’t like:

The Atlantic - everything, but specifically pieces such as Why Women Can’t Have it All, How to Design a City for Women,Should Journalism School’s Require Reporter’s to Learn to Code) In short, the biased tone of these pieces jump to emotionally charged - i.e. subjective - opinions, backed up by lazy arguments or insanely personal experiences. This calls itself journalism but could easily be OpEds.

Monocle - this kind of writing has it’s place, but not in VIA. Overly stylized with a strong continental sensibility and really most often just gossiping about the figures it interviews or what new stores and restaurants are best.

e-flux – mostly because of the overthetop art-speak jargon. Use to a minimum.

Notes on Tone:

VIA is about visual culture, music and food culture as they relate to contemporary LA life.

While the scope of the contributor projects can vary (roving into social practice, politics, design, publishing, and other fields) contributors should always consider how their interview, feature or review reflects back on the state of culture in Los Angeles.  As an interdisciplinary publication, there is a special place in our hearts for work that considers how the various avenues of LA visual, aural, and culinary culture overlap and work together (or against each other!) to form our current cultural landscape. 

The editorial tone should be smart but not pretentious, readable but not gossipy, informed but not too jargony. Particularly in the case of art writing, though a VIA reader might also subscribe to October or scroll through the latest e-flux, this isn’t a place for heavily theoretical and academic writing, but rather the distillation of those ideas into everyday language. We especially seek work that combines the personal and anecdotal with the cerebral.

Above all, VIA is a generalist publication.  We celebrate the dilettantes and the Renaissance–(wo)men of LA and want this magazine to be accessible (though hopefully mind-expanding) for all of them. So remember to explain your references, keep your shop talk and jargon to a minimum, and write for your cute next door neighbor reading god-knows-what in the backyard.


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