Canvas Magazine

About the Magazine

The February 2011 issue of Canvas Magazine features the world’s first interactive printed electronic cover. Even though there has been another magazine that utilized E-Ink, this cover incorporates printed electronics in two important ways: user engagement and entirely printed circuitry. What’s more, this innovative cover used entirely familiar, commercially available materials and conventional printing equipment.

GrCI Project Management

The Graphic Communication Institute partnered with GrC faculty in the complex organizing and management of the Canvas cover project. When the intricacy of the design called for manual assembly of each piece, GrCI mobilized an organized student work force to assemble each cover. Students attached printed batteries to each magazine, powering the project’s electronic effects. GrCI worked with the diverse organizations that provided the materials for the project, including major players like FujiFilm and DuPont.

How It Was Made

The world’s first interactive printed electronic cover was made using electrochromic ink technology, an exciting new application that creates the possibility of a design that changes colors when charged with electricity. This special ink was used alongside student-created artwork especially designed to fit the printed electronic process. The cover utilizes printed circuits, built with screen-printing and conductive ink. To complete the circuits, the reader is engaged in several creative steps like dog-earing a corner and adding in a coin of their own. The dynamic maze-and journal design was powered with printed 1.5V batteries, making each cover spark with the transforming colors of innovation.

GrC Student and Faculty Contribution

Dr. Malcolm G. Keif, a professor in Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication department, was asked by Carl Joachim, VP Marketing for Ricoh Americas Corporation to come up with a clever printed electronic cover for the February issue of Canvas, utilizing the students and faculty unique to Cal Poly. Together, several students and Dr. Keif collaborated on the cover, and more than 30 students contributed to finalizing production by assembling batteries with the finished printed covers.

For more information, visit​.

Related Content

Contact Us

Learn More about Us


Find Out More

Special Projects


Find Out More

Upcoming Events