Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Critique: DIY covers

These covers will be one of the last things that I do for Vox before I graduate. There are four short stories for this feature that make up the entire package. They each talk about things that we will all have to be aware of when it comes to adulthood. The editor of the story suggested designing the story like a first aid kit, and it would be like saying, "Here are all the things you need in your life to survive; now go be an adult." I decided to take that concept and make it a little different. The story has been slugged as a D.I.Y. story for awhile now so I decided to stick with the D.I.Y. theme and put the items from the story into a toolbox.

The second cover is more like an infographic. It shows a young professional and has tips coming off of him to describe what has to change to look like an adult.

The third cover is more of a play off a child acting as an adult. It shows a boy dressed in a suit. It takes a different spin on the story.

I'll be presenting these covers in lab on Thursday. See you then!

You Can't Miss: 12 Art and Design Documentaries

This you can't miss seems pretty fitting with the title. I found this list of 12 design documentaries that you can't miss when I was on (as always). I thought it was something worth sharing with everybody.
You can find the complete list here.

This week on designing magazines I found nothing new (again). I've decided that I'm going to leave the semester without a post from this blog. They haven't updated since June of last year, which means everything on the site is dated. So check out the movies above. I know I will.

Response: Wrapping up the semester

The semester is actually coming to a close. On Friday we will be heading to Meredith to present our work. It's crazy to see everything come together. The website, the print edition and the iPad have all finally come to a close. I don't have to work on Nosh anymore and it's weird. I still have some Vox things to wrap-up, but overall I'm finished.

This semester I've learned so much. I cannot believe how much a person can accomplish and do in 15 weeks.  I came into the class in January with barely any clips and limited knowledge of design and the software. Now I'm leaving the semester with so much experience. I have more relevant lines on my resume, clips and tons of knowledge about the magazine design industry. Plus I made some pretty sweet friends almost every late-night in the design lab.

I'm sad everything is coming to a close. Hopefully my life will bring a job that I'm passionate about. I'll keep you updated :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Can't Miss: Cool Infographics

This week I decided to stray from because all their content is dated. So I went to one of their featured blogs instead. Cool Infographics is a blog that obviously is about cool infographics. I found this fun one called The Tweet Topic Explorer. You type in your twitter name and it comes up with a bunch of colored circles in varying sizes that will show you what words you use them most in your tweets. This was created by Jeff Clark of Neoformix.

On stumbleupon I found this funny picture. It's just a little creative inspiration made from snow.

Response: iPad

Designing for the iPad has been running fairly smooth so far. Theresa made a template for our group to follow, so it literally takes minutes for us to put our department pages on the iPad. The part that really trips all of us up is where and how pinning works. When we were taught how to do this it seemed so easy, but when we actually started working on our own pages it started to get kind of complex.

I'm working on the webbie team to try and add multimedia content to our existing content, and it has been a challenge trying to figure out how to make each page work in both orientations. Even though it's a struggle trying to make everything work and flow together, I'm happy we are learning Mag+. Without this software we probably would just be doing mock-ups in inDesign still. We wouldn't be able to actually display our work on the iPad like we can with Mag+.

Critique: Logo for web and mini portfolio

This week I tried to spend some time working on my logo/branding. I decided that I wanted to keep the logo clean. For now, I think I like how it's not too over powering or crazy.  I struggled with the typeface for the word designs. I didn't want my logo to appear to wedding invitation-y or to fancy. I think the way this one looks is less formal, but is still elegant. I really like the way the two colors look together. They complement each other well. I might mess with the logo a little bit more later in the week. I'm hoping to get a proof to the printer by Monday. This weekend I plan on dedicating myself to this portfolio.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Critique: Nosh web wireframe

This week I've been working on designing the wireframe for Nosh's website. The website has been coming along. We have taken huge steps to get our wireframe up to speed with everyone else. There still needs to be some copy written for the website and ads need to be placed, but overall, it's starting to come together.

We decided it would be best to keep most of our website online only information. Nosh is set to be a quarterly magazine so our website will need to be updated with fresh topics frequently. We want readers to keep coming back to our site throughout the year for new information and ideas for snacks.

We decided it would be best to incorporate elements from the magazine into the website. We wanted to keep everything consistent so it could look as well-branded as possible. Once we've finished creating the wireframes we will move on to working on the iPad.

You Can't Miss: Ampersands and EmDash

Today on designing magazines I found a post that showcases the magazine EmDash, a design publication that is created by George Mason University students. Inside, there is an article about not judging a book by its cover. It's interesting because it says in elementary school that many of us told not to do this. We are told to read the back cover of a book and a few pages of the inside to decide whether we want to read it or not. However, book design is such a huge part of the book itself. We should judge books by their covers because a beautifully designed book cover means that the publisher and author spent a lot of time and money perfecting the visual that is going to represent their book on the shelves.

In EmDash, the book that they use for an example are the Twilight book covers. The covers all have a black background with a blood red colored object. This color represents the main theme of the book. I'm not sure if there is evidence to support that these book covers helped with the success of Twilight, but the covers are striking visuals that any Twi-heart will recognize.

I also stumbled upon a page about the beautiful curves of the ampersands. I'm not sure how often people use ampersands in their designs, but I always think it's a fun design element that can be incorporated.  I mostly see them used in wedding invitations played up pretty big. Anyway, this is a good site to go to to download some free fonts that you might not already have also.

Response: Blogs and Nosh printing

So I'm glad we went over all of our blogs in class. I know my blog is in need of a makeover, but it just keeps getting pushed to the end of my list of things to do. I think I'm going to try and set aside some time to work on branding my blog the way I choose to brand my mini-portfolio and website. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but after browsing around for some inspiration I'm sure I'll find something that I like.

So, Nosh is just about ready to be sent to the printer! I'm so excited to see how everything turns out. Our entire group has worked really hard to get our magazine ready to print, and it's nice to know that we can finally breathe a sign of relief this week (at least until the weekend when we start doing iPad stuff). At the beginning of the semester, when we looked through the books that past students had produced I thought that it would be near impossible to do all that work in one semester, but I stand corrected. I can't wait to get our first proofs back.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Can't Miss: Web Portfolio Designs

Since we are going to have to start putting together an online portfolio for ourselves I decided to start looking around for different ideas to get my website started. I found this website that has screenshots of some of the best web portfolio designs. They're a little too complex for what most of us are able to do ourselves, but it's a good place to look for inspiration.

The above post from Designing Magazines is rather funny. It's short and it gets to the point. I thought it was worth sharing though because the blog hasn't been updated in almost a year, so it's hard to find stuff that is still new and relevant.

Response: Mini-Portfolios

I'm excited to get started on my mini-portfolio. I think it will be a lot of work deciding exactly how I want to layout my portfolio, but I once it's finished it will be nice to finally have everything bound together in such a professional looking book.

I think I want to have the larger square portfolio that is dimensioned at 7.5 x 8 inches. It's a good size and it displays the work in a pocket-sized proportion that isn't too small, but still doesn't make the work look larger-than-life or awkward.

The way I plan to organize my book is by all Vox stuff, then all Meredith stuff then other stuff. Within each category I'll break everything down by cover, feature and department. This will help me keep everything organized. I know for sure that I want the left side to be a blank page with words that describe the work. I also know I only want one design on each page.

As far as a resume is concerned I'm not sure if I want to include it in the portfolio because it might look too cluttered. I know I will include my contact information for sure though.

Critique: Nosh designs

Now that the final weeks of school are quickly approaching that means putting our finals prototypes to bed. This week my group has been working hard to get our book finalized. We laid out the entire magazine in order to finalize a page and ad count. Our book will be 48 pages not including the cover. I can't wait to finally have a hard copy in my hands.

The recent struggles that have risen lately have to do with word count on stories, cutting text to fit and writing small blurbs of display copy. These next few days will present a challenge while we finally work out all the nit-picky details of each page. Right now I'm working on a cover for the prospectus, perfecting my feature and redesigning one of my department pages. The peach department page doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of book when they were all finally side-by-side. I'll post the stuff I have right now and show the final pages later in the week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Response: Photo Journal

Last week I was on spring break in Cancun, Mexico and it was AMAZING! Seriously, every second of it was wonderful. We were gone for 6 days and 7 nights. I had the trip planned since last semester and it was so weird when all five of my friends and I were finally standing in the airport waiting to go through security. Now I'm back and peeling. Awesome. Despite my snake skin, I did manage to take some inspiring photos while on vacation. Here they are:
 Day 1.  My first day in Cancun. We got in around 11 a.m., but couldn't check into our room until 3 p.m. Once we got in our rooms though we hit the beach.
Day 2. There were chairs with shade lined up on the beach for those who didn't want to feel the burn. After the first day when everyone was nice and crisp we would lie out here. I got outside early enough to get this photo before all the chairs filled. 
 Day 4. Three of us had a beachfront walk-out room. It was awesome. These palm trees were right outside our room. This is around 6 p.m. before we went to dinner that night. It was so windy at night that all the tree leaves would stick straight up.
 Day 5: This is the last day we were on the beach before we left the next morning. It's a pretty cliche image, but I really like how the color of the ocean and everything turned out.
 Day 5: I stood on the roof of one of the hotel restaurants to get this picture. There were steps to get to the roof, so it's not like I broke any laws either. 

I like the idea of the assignment, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up and do this everyday for an entire year. I need to post my typography assignment later. I don't have the flashdrive that is on with me right now. So stay tuned!

Critique: 30 Under 30

I am currently in the works for 30 under 30. I'm kind of going for this retro vibe. At first I wanted it to be old-school movie poster like, but now I think I'm going to try out a few things and see where it take me.

I like the idea of the big arrow to lead readers into the story. It just points them in the right direction and gets their eyes moving with the story. I decided to organize my story by individual. I didn't want to break them up into categories because I thought that might pose problems in the long run when it comes to diversity.

I'm going to finish up the design tonight and I'll post finished pictures when I'm done working on the project.

Here's the basically finished product:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Can't Miss: Trick Photography

I found an awesome trend called "Sleeveface." It's when a photographer uses the sleeve of an album cover to cover a part of their body and it creates an illusion. There's some really cool artwork that they can create by doing this.

Critique: Nosh

This week I did a lot of work for Nosh. The first drafts our group did was a work-in-progress. We had to find the best way to display our recipes, titles and deks. We have found a way to make everything cohesive and I think our magazine is coming along really well.

We are going to add web refers and department openers to the book also. I think once all the elements are laid out in order it will look much more cohesive and like a real book.

I need to work on the feature a lot more, but it's coming along the way I want it to look. I plan on designing the quiz a lot more and incorporating small food items.

Response: Prototypes

When we looked at everyone's prototype it was obvious that many of us were in different stages of the design process. There were many different elements that I liked about everyone's design.

In Shindig I really liked the many different elements that they plan on using. The different types of arrows and colors make the entire magazine fun and come together. I really like how this group is also planning on using different texture elements. This magazine has some flair and a distinct style that works really well.

In Modern Midwest I liked the slab serif fonts for the department titles. It's a very cool font. It seems fresh and fun. The colors also have a young vibe to them that works with the feel of the mag.

Cupboard also has some fun elements with it. Once the template is finalized I think it will come together nicely. I like how the nameplate looks. It makes Cupboard seem younger than the name of the magazine. I'm excited to see the final product.

Plaid Dad has some great stuff and it has some issues with the publishers. I like the diamond plate that the magazine carries throughout the department pages. I would try and get the publishers to make up their mind in regards to what is a feature and department page. I think it is coming along well though and I'm excited for tomorrow's presentations.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Critique: SJI Logos Round 2

This week I've been working on a lot of different design assignments. Tomorrow I have three covers due for the Strange Addictions feature and the second draft of Food Challenges. However, my latest design endeavor has been reworking the SJI logos.

The above logos are the the two are the ones that were chosen for SJI to see. They both have a sense of diversity in the color choices. The first one I chose to use the three primary colors because these three colors can be mixed together to create all the colors in the rainbow. The"I" in this logo also is meant to represent a person. The second logo shows diversity in the people joined together and in the muted color choices. The colors are different tones of red, yellow and blue.

It was definitely a challenge to not design the obvious sporting logo, but to incorporate SJI's mission of bringing diversity into newsrooms.

Response: Portfolio review

Yesterday I had my portfolio critiqued by everyone in the class. It was an quite an interesting experience to have work from the entire semester and whatever past work I had displayed for everyone to critique. I know that with each passing person it got exhausting having to answer the same questions, but I tried to give the best feedback possible because I know a lot of us really appreciate the criticism.

Although it was a long process, I did enjoy each time a new person put all their designs out on the table. It was so fun to see all the work that someone did, and it was great to see how someone's work progressed. I know that personally my design skills have gotten a lot better, and I have become much more familiar with software and different programs since I have been immersed in so much work during  this capstone. I'm excited to get my critiques back to see how I can improve on some of the existing work in my portfolio.

You Can't Miss: Comic Sans Criminal

This is funny. It's a site called Comic Sans Criminal. It's all about the evolution of Comic Sans and people's use of the font. You really just need to go to the site; it's too hard to explain.

This week on designing magazines I found a post about folios. The guy that maintains the site writes that in his opinion, folios are not something that should ever be touched or changed. Ever. This "page furniture" as the Mag+ instructor from last week called it, shouldn't ever be touched by a designer because it is meant to stay the same issue to issue. However, I disagree. I think if there is ever a special issue that the publication is putting out, then why can't the folio change? Wired changed their folio to coincide with their Star Wars themed issue. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see a problem with it as long as it doesn't change every month.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Critique: SJI Logos

Designing 20 logos was such a challenge! I knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn't realize how big of an assignment it was until I began. We were told that most of our designs didn't incorporate enough about diversity. We need to wrap sports, journalism and diversity all together to create one logo.

I'm going to work on my top five a lot this weekend to try and get all aspects of SJI represented. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to incorporate diversity yet, but I'll find a way.

Something I found interesting was that some of my designs that I probably spent seconds on were the ones that were most liked. I'm guessing that it was because these were the ones that were easiest to read.  I'll post the final designs this weekend.

Response: iPad conference

The iPad conference on Monday was amazing. Ever since I've been in the Magazines Across Platforms course and have been learning about tablets I've been hooked. It really set in when I went to New York and had the opportunity to talk to almost every magazine's iPad team.

I really feel like the Platforms class is helping to make me think like a Web Producer, which it's supposed too, but I do find myself thinking about how my designs can translate to the iPad.

I'm still planning on watching the rest of the sessions that I missed soon, and I cannot wait to begin working with Mag+.

You Can't Miss: TOC

Designing Magazine's doesn't update their blog that much. Actually they haven't updated since June 2010, so it's safe to say they don't update it ever. Every week I'm greeted by the same stuff on the home page and I'm forced to rifle my way through old posts until I find something worth blogging about that's not outdated. Today I found something that probably won't ever go out of date - The TOC (Table of Contents).

The post talks about the many different types of TOC's. In Editing we learn about the TOC and how it appeals to three readers, the cliff-notes reader, the person who uses it as a index and the person who still needs to be sold on the publication. However, personally I agree with Designing Magazines that the TOC is the most looked over aspect by designers and readers.

The post talks about how the TOC is very important when it comes to a redesign, but afterward it's a second thought. Desgining Magazines sees the TOC as only being there for advertisers, not for the reader at all.

Personally, I never really look at the TOC unless I'm super interested about something on the cover. I prefer to find things on my own, but I'm trying to make an effort to not skip over it anymore.

Book Nook
I seem to find a lot of furniture stuff lately. I thought this book nook was very cool. It looks so inviting. It's basically the essence of curling up with a good book.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You Can't Miss: CMYK designs and cakes

I was looking through some posts on designing magazines, and I found a post about how CMYK is trending right now in design.
Spread from designing magazines site.

When I was looking through Popular Mechanics and Men's Health I noticed there design is also very CMYK. I'm sure it's not 100% CMYK, but it's pretty close. 

Take this months cover of Popular Mechanics for instance. While it does have builds of different blues, it has the true highlighter yellow and hints of cyan. Throughout the magazine there are mostly cyans and yellows, with other hints of bright green. Men's Health is the same way with the cyan and yellow. I know that these colors probably aren't true CMYK, but it's interesting how this is trending right now.

Because of my love for the Food Network I decided to look into cake designs from Charm City Cakes. Ace of Cakes is one of my favorite shows on the Food Network. They make amazing-looking cakes. Have a look at the stuff they do, it's unreal. 

Response: New York City

Last week I went on the trip to New York with the Magazine Club and I was able to visit in the offices of Real Simple, ESPN, Sports Illustrated,, Men's Health, Women's Health, Redbook and Whole Living. The seniors on the trip also had the opportunity to have dinner with the creative director of People en Espanol. The entire trip was an amazing. I wanted to share some advice that we got at most of these places.

As far as the iPad is concerned everything we have been hearing in school is correct. If you want to get into the publishing business, especially as a designer and a dot com person you will for sure want iPad experience.  Fortunately, the iPad hasn't been out all that long so none of us are much farther behind than those in the industry. Everyone where we went many of the people who worked on the iPad had help from designers, so it's key to know how to think and conceptualize for things on the iPad.

Herman Vega, the creative director of People en Espanol, told us that when we are applying for jobs and showing our portfolio to edit it down to only the best pieces. Which might be obvious, but he said he would rather see a portfolio with 10 great pieces than 20 mediocre pieces. He also said not to over design your portfolio or resume. He said to have it designed, but make it subtle. There's nothing worse than a poorly designed portfolio and resume. Also, some of us might be applying for jobs and might not have the clips that are similar to that particular companies design style. He told us that even though this could be the case, that it doesn't matter as long as the design is good and conceptualized and clean.

At Men's Health the HR director came and talked to us about some tips for applying for jobs in New York. She told us that even if you are out-of-state to say in your cover letter that with 24 or 48 hours notice that you would be available for an interview. She told us to never get the hiring person involved in your travel plans or even let them know you are traveling because they don't care, and the minute they feel like your a problem they stop considering you. She also said to address weird dates on your resume. If you had an internship over winter break and it was only 3 weeks, then say in the cover letter that it was a winter internship, otherwise they might see that as you got fired or your lazy and quit.

These are just some tips, but overall the offices at each place had it's own vibe and many of them were collaborative. Working at any of the places we visited would be a dream.