The Making of the Small Times Newspaper


The Making of The Small Times Newspaper

By  | 

If you’ve received one of our World’s Smallest Packages in the last few months, you’ve got a genuine copy of The Small Times newspaper in your hands. As part of our recent collaboration with Chronicle Books to produce the World’s Smallest Post Service stationery set, we created this itty bitty fictional newspaper. And it’s not just the newspaper that’s small, but every article and image is tiny themed too! Thanks to Jason Sacher, my wonderful editor at Chronicle Books, for daring to approve the inclusion of this totally unnecessary, but ultimately incredible, addition to the stationery set.

Here’s what The Small Times looks like all crumpled up in one of our World’s Smallest Packages:

"You're as cute as a..."

“You’re as cute as a…”

Call for Submissions

We began with an open call for submissions among our wonderful circle of friends – for articles, advertisements, classifieds, whatever their whimsy might dictate. Thanks to all the lovely folks who submitted! I wrote about half of the content and the rest was written by the following awesome guest contributors. Thanks so much y’all!

Grace Carolinda Patterson, Bob Cronin, Renata Miller, Kendra Holliday, Clare C., Francisco R., Chris Kerr, Ina Braun, Colleen Schneider, Beth Redmond-Jones, Jessiena Luhman, Danny M.

Here's the early mockup we used for scale and layout purposes.

Here’s the early mockup we used for scale and layout purposes.

Hand Drawn Graphics

Once the tiny-themed articles were in, we needed some stunning imagery to spice up the look. This is where our dear friend Sam Bower came to the rescue with his series of tiny drawings. Here’s an oversized taste of the magic he worked with a skinny little ink pen:

Words & Clues

And it wouldn’t be a genuine newspaper without a crossword puzzle, right? I had no idea how I was going to pull that one off until I discovered the amazing, which will automatically generate crosswords for you from a list of words and clues. Wow! The best part? Every crossword clue and answer is tiny themed! Here’s my working sketch:

Getting It All Just Right

So at this point we’ve got text, illustrations, and a miniature crossword puzzle. It all came together in the following draft layout, which I submitted to Chronicle Books for review:

And here’s what the super amazing Chronicle Books graphic designer Kirsten Hewitt did with my draft. This is a scan of the final version, printed on real newsprint for maximum effect:

And a few close-ups…

In case you want to get ahold of some of these tiny newspapers, you’ll find four copies of it rolled up in each World’s Smallest Post Service stationery set. Or you can order a teeny tiny package for your very own hand-crumpled copy of The Small Times.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! (With a magnifying glass!)

(Visited 3,474 times, 1 visits today)

Lea Redmond is always looking for the poem hiding inside things: a salt shaker, a clothes tag, a hand gesture, a cloud. She is infinitely intrigued by the way experiences can slip from the ordinary to the extraordinary and she endeavors to design things that hold this possibility. Leafcutter Designs, her creative studio in Berkeley, CA, makes the world more playful and peaceful one little experience at a time.


  1. Sharon Henry

    April 1, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    So excited to see how much effort you put into this work of art. I would love to have a copy of any,all issues.

    • Devin Redmond

      April 5, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Hi Sharon – Sure thing, just email your address to ant(at)leafcutterdesigns(dot)com and we’ll send you a few copies!

  2. Kath

    June 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    This is the first time visiting this site and I am just thrilled with the poetry in the tin – I love you! Just so creative – wonder how you got to be so creative – what sort of school turned out such an amazing person. Love it all
    from Perth Western Australia

  3. learedmond

    September 21, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Neat – thanks! My address is PO Box 5358, Berkeley, CA 94705.

  4. c

    September 21, 2011 at 5:49 am

    This not the first “The Small Times” newspaper.
    Let me know your addy and I’ll send you the original one.

  5. Roberta Clarke

    September 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    All of your ideas and everything else at Leafcutter Designs is the best thing since chocolate! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  6. Annika

    September 9, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Unrelated to the above, I just wanted to tell you that I have just signed up for the sky scarf project and cannot tell you how excited I am. It’s such a wonderful idea, and I skygaze a lot already anyway! I cannot wait to see how my and everybody elses scarves turn out. It would be interesting to see if any people in the far North participate, where the sky does not really get bright during the day.

  7. Kendra Holliday

    August 30, 2011 at 6:08 am

    This is fabulous! Thanks for the behind-the-scenes post, it’s like watching a miniature version of Mister Rogers Neighborhood!

  8. Jo

    August 21, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Stunning and oh so irresistable. Love the crossword making tool link – such fun!

  9. suzi

    August 21, 2011 at 5:53 am

    please imagine the sound of teeny tiny paws all over the world clapping in teeny tiny time at the awesomness of the teeny tiny mind that came up with this super huge idea of making a teeny tiny newspaper. Wow, wow and bow in teeny tiny humbleness.

  10. ginger

    August 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    lOvE this!!!

Share Your Thoughts...