Martina Friedli at creative work

Chinderzytig – the newspaper for children

Hundreds of hours of work for a free children's magazine

Who would do something like this?

For most of you, the Chinderzytig is probably a magazine you come across at the Gurten. But you presumably pay little attention to it because – as the title alludes to – it's for children. Once you've read this article, you may view this Gurten magazine for children in a different light. The first Chinderzytig came about as a result of collaboration between the Migros Culture Percentage, the Migros Aare cooperative and the Gurten – Park im Grünen. The very first issue of the Chinderzytig was published in 2016 under the editorial auspices of Michaela von Siebenthal. Due to a subsequent reorganization within the Migros Aare cooperative, the magazine has been provided with financial backing, but has had no staff resources assigned since 2021. (Lucky me for being able to continue the Chinderzytig project!)
Hundreds of hours of work go into the making of this free children's magazine. Hard to imagine, isn't it? The editorial planning process alone – searching for topics, carrying out research, writing articles, distributing tasks and much else besides – takes at least 100 hours. That's not even counting the illustrations, which make up another 130 hours of work.

This would not have been possible without the Migros Culture Percentage
Were we to add up the total time spent by everyone involved, we would come to about 300 hours (by comparison, a person in a full-time job works approx. 180 hours a month). 15,000 copies of each of the annual editions of the magazine are printed. The Chinderzytig contains no advertising and is free of charge. We, the publishers, therefore bear all the costs. Without the commitment and support of the Migros Culture Percentage, we wouldn't have been able to create the children's magazine at this scale. 

Important issues presented in a child-friendly way
Like most adults, you undoubtedly have never even opened the magazine, let alone read it. But we're sure the jokes and texts it contains would also put a smile on your face. After all, there's far more to discover than the puzzles. We attempt to provide the generation of tomorrow with a better understanding of a variety of social issues using easy-to-understand examples. For example, our last issues addressed topics such as climate change and the animals in our environment. What impact will global warming have and what will this mean for the Gurten? Issue #4 (2021), for example, showed that less and less sledging will be done on low-lying hillsides like the Gurten in the future. This will mean no more spontaneous tobogganing outings on the Gurten, and more rain and muddy days. A poem by Lorenz Pauli summarizes the topic in a humorous way:

We’s geng rägnet anstatt schneit,
ds Schlittle drum ids Wasser gheit,
muesch halt chli flexibel sy.
Glungge-Söörfe! Bisch derby?

Suech e Glugge, läng u breit,
seckle los, so schnäll wie’s geit.
Gump! Es sprützt nach überall!
Gump nomal, das fägt total. 

Klar bisch nächär pfludinass.
Houptsach isch, der Spass isch krass.
U vo wäge Suberkeit:
D Wöschmaschine steit bereit*.

* «bereit» heisst eigetlech im Bärndütsch «parat», das riimt sech aber uf «Salat», u um dä geits hie nid.

In the latest issue, we have focused on the regional honey bee. This was inspired by a bad summer and the subsequently meager honey harvest. Children are most likely to associate bees with painful stings rather than a creature that makes an important contribution to our ecosystem.  Using cute drawings, jokes and puzzles, we familiarize children with this somewhat unpopular insect. By enhancing the bee's image and raising awareness about this topic, we hope we can give children a lasting connection to nature and a desire to look after the animal world. 

Using a drawing competition, we encourage children to take a closer look at animals and draw them as they see them. Here are a few heart-warming pictures of hedgehogs from the Chinderzytig #4 (2021):
Children drawings from hedgehog.
Martina Friedli – Illustrator and the star of the Chinderzytig
Fifteen thousand. That's how many copies of the magazine are printed and read – or at least looked at – by children. Graphic designer Martina Friedli has been in charge of the layout within the Chinderzytig team since 2017. She is responsible for the most important part of our mission – making topics colorful, palpable and – first and foremost – easy for children to understand. Her drawings are self-explanatory and create a "wow" effect.  

You've been involved since 2017 and have been solely responsible for the graphical design of the Chinderzytig since 2021. Can you tell us about your creative process regarding the design?
Martina: Naturally, we always start by reading the briefing, i.e. what the commissioning party wants. I then mull over the subject for a while. This doesn't happen at the workplace, but while I'm traveling or doing something else. I usually already have a specific idea at the end of this process. When it's ready, I sit down at my desk or wherever inspiration hits, pull out my sketchpad and pencil, and start sketching. These thumbnail drawings are doodles that are only about the size of a thumb. First I concentrate on the cover page because that's the most important part. If the front page is appealing, the magazine will be read. 
The hardest part is therefore over. I then do the final drawings on my computer, where I can make changes and try out different colors.

How much freedom do you have from a design point of view? Are there specific directions about the graphical implementation?
Martina: I have completely free rein on the Chinderzytig. The topics and wishes are specified, but how exactly it will look is left up to me. With this job, I really appreciate that I can let out my inner child. It means I can use lots of colors, draw funny pictures and simply think like a kid again. In my other jobs, I mostly work in black-and-white and mainly with straight lines. I love watching how my three boys react when they look at the finished Chinderzytig. If they are smiling from ear to ear, I know I've done everything right. 

What difficulties are there when creating an issue of the Chinderzytig?
Martina: In my first issue of Chinderzytig, I mainly worked on the layout. Back then, I only contributed a few illustrations. Most were produced by Rahel Winiger at the time. Now, I take care of everything – the illustrations and the entire layout. That's both a curse and a blessing because I can make it all fit together. However, it also means I sometimes can't take a step back from the work and get too blinded by the project. As a result, I can only see things from my own perspective, and for me it all seems logical, even though the reality can be quite different. To get the necessary objectivity, I give my work to a colleague and ask her for critical feedback. In this way, we are able to support one another and do a good job. 
I have tremendous fun working on the Chinderzytig, and I'm always really pleased to see copies of the finished product at Gurtebähndli or at the Tapis Rouge restaurant.

Markom manager Tatjana Schär at the east signal


Tatjana Schär

Markom Manager

Martine Friedli at work. On the left you can see an excerpt from the sketchbook with the
Help me design the Chinderzytig!
Do you share our desire to raise awareness among young people about various social issues in a sweet and fun way? We'd love to catch you "glüüslen" the Chinderzytig some time. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Then write to us here

Migros Culture Percentage

The Migros Culture Percentage is the brainchild of Migros founder Gottlieb Duttweiler. The Migros Culture Percentage is a voluntary commitment by Migros to promote cultural, social, educational, leisure and business undertakings. Through its institutions, projects and activities, it gives the general public access to cultural and social services.

In addition to the Chinderzytig, the Migros Culture Percentage also finances other activities at the Gurten, including the opening of the children's playground and the fall festival, making such events available free of charge to a broad swathe of the population.

More about the Migros Culture Percentage