Cool Companies Magazine in AlbertaCool Companies is a magazine styled book series that is focused on “helping entrepreneurial-minded business people discover unique business development opportunities — joint ventures partnerships, R&D collaborations, product purchasing agreements and investment opportunities — with innovative Canadian companies in emerging high tech industries.” Published yearly by Claudia Sammer since 2004, the latest publication – the eighth one in seven years — heralds an expanded business model. Claudia is now offers strategic marketing support for innovative, technical new-to-the-world products and producers. Each of the publications in the series explores a single emerging high tech industry. Based on first-hand research, each article captures an industry’s latest products and technologies, industry leaders and rising stars, cutting edge research, proven industry supporters and key industry stats.

The 2011 publication focuses on Alberta’s Clean Technologies & Green Products. The articles are presented as indepth profiles of innovation-driven companies pioneering their own space in the clean technology and green products industry. It also features the latest technologies and opportunities, cutting-edge research and proven industry supporters.

The first of four chapters — Clean Power, Energy Efficiency, Green Buildings and the Environment — present the highlights of some of the companies, initiatives and people leading Alberta’s cleantech industry. It includes companies developing fresh ideas to solving the CO2 problem, why Edmonton is North America’s leading city in waste management and how Alberta is creating value from biomass— which goes beyond biofuel to include Canada’s first biocomposite electric car being prototyped and manufactured in Alberta.

While the content of the Cool Companies publications are always well written, designed and remarkably well researched, it was the design of the publication that really caught my eye this time. Claudia reports that the covers of the magazine have always been designed by Halkier + Dutton, one of Edmonton’s preeminent print publication designers. She also informs me that, as a result of all she’s learned from Halkier + Dutton, she was able to design a template for the interior pages of the publication. As a result, Claudia can all but put the publication herself. Bravo!

I would not have guessed that the interior of the publication was not put together by a graphic designer with years of experience. To my mind, the publication from cover to cover is a work of art. Each of the four chapters has its own coloured section which gives the impression of a lively yet subtle cohesiveness when you flip through the pages. Each article is short, punchy and chock full interesting tidbits of information about how Alberta’s innovators are defining their own space in their respective industries. It makes you proud to be an Albertan to know that in the clean and green industries that we can compete with the best of them.

As someone with a penchant for publishing myself, I read with respect Claudia’s note that advises readers than none of the profiled companies paid to participate in the publication or have pre-ordered a bunch of books. I respect her for valuing the integrity of the publication to that extent and also appreciate what this might mean to her pocketbook. It’s an expensive publication with a 95 lb coated cover and 72 interior pages of a premium recycled paper so that colours hold true, vibrant and solid and the impact on the environment is minimal. The photos are well chosen and illustrative of the concepts presented without being too technical or overwhelming. Because of the premium paper they are also presented sharply. Each page bleeds to the edge of the page which means the publication cannot be printed on standard size paper and results in increased printing costs. Only a publisher with a strong design sense or a designer with a strong publishing sense would make such a decision. A publisher primarily motivated to keep the production costs low and the revenue high as a top priority would not make such a decision.

Download an excerpt from the 2011 publication on Alberta’s Green Technologies & Green Products so you can check out the contents and design for yourself. And, if you’re interested, you might also order a publication or two online and support an Alberta publisher with good taste and good talents. And Claudia is not just a pretty face with a fine eye for design. She holds a Master of Science degree in Physics and an  MBA in Innovation & New Product Development from McMaster. She knows of what she writes.