Sunday, January 30, 2011

Response: Critiquing for Baby Beauty Pageant

Last Thursday in lab we went around the room and talked about what worked and didn't work with our designs. After talking with my peers I think I have a better understanding about what design elements help tell the story better.

When I first read the Baby Beauty Pageant story I missed the mark on that the whole story was about the father. I focused mainly on the daughter and her life in pageants instead of the dad's involvement in pageants. After critique I saw that many of us struggled with the same problem. I want to be sure to have a stronger reading of my stories so I can have content-driven design.

On top of critiquing the concept of our designs we also talked about technical aspects of designing covers. Erica gave us some feedback from her portfolio critique that she recently had. She told us to try and find a color palette and stick with it. Usually the palette with be complementary colors and play off the photograph. She also told us to pick a cover photo that isn't too busy, and one that will stick out. As far as typography is concerned we should pick a type that works with the photo and not to use more than three typefaces on the cover. Her advice will definitely help me when it comes time for my cover group to compete in a few weeks.

Here is the winning cover design. It encompasses what we talked about in lab.

You Can't Miss: Calendar Designs

I'm one of those people that is obsessed with calendars. I get excited when the new ones start to hit the shelves, and it's always takes a lot of time for me to finally find the perfect calendar (I still haven't found on yet, hopefully by mid-February I'll have one). So my obsession with calendars has led to me to want to share with you a few cool ones that I've found after pursuing and various other sites for some great calendar designs.  Enjoy!

I found this one Willow Tree Crafts  

I found this one on Swiss Miss.

I also looked at a few letterpress calendars on etsy. I found this from the designer OldSchoolStationers. 

From my design blog I saw a post that talked about Wired's Magazine Covers. It was super interesting to read especially because we just had a discussion about covers in lab on Thursday. Wired is super simplistic when it comes to their mag covers. They embellish a bit in the metallicy inks on the front, but overall there isn't a whole lot of art, just a few illustrations and some text. Wired does a great job pulling off what they want to accomplish in their covers, and knowing who their reader is and what they want.

Critique: Spring Preview and Last Weeks Vox

This week I spent a lot of time working on my design for Spring Preview. I wanted to be sure to think outside of the box this week and come up with a concept that wasn't spring related. After a lot of thinking I chose to do a circus theme. In the end I like my concept a lot. It isn't spring related, and I thought it was fun.

My biggest challenge with the design was trying to decide how I wanted to present and organize all of the information. It was difficult because there was a lot of text to work with and not a lot of space. It was especially difficult because I needed to place pictures on the spread also to highlight some of the events.

On top of the space limitations I also had a hard time trying to figure out the best way to carry out my theme. With my splash page I wanted to try and make it look like an old-school carnival poster. I chose a font that reminded me of the circus and I made the background red and beige like a circus big top would be. On the cover I chose to do an illustration of an actual big top. Within my feature spread I used the same colors and fonts to carry my idea throughout and added a ticket stub underneath the month to add to my concept.

Last week's Vox feature had a lot of good design elements. In my Response post I talk about what we learned in lab that will help us design better in the future. I think the feature spread had good use of illustration with a purpose, and also had the perfect amount of pictures to visually tell the story. I learned a few tips to help me design later in the semester, and tips that will improve my abilities as a designer. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1/26 Shimer

Critique: Baby Beauty Pageant

Last week and most of the past weekend has been spent working on my feature design for the Baby Beauty Pageant design competition. I started working on the assignment on Thursday night and I got the opening spread to basically look like how I wanted it to look. I didn't touch it again until Saturday at noon and worked non-stop until 5:30. It was a long day, but I'm pretty pleased with the end result. The hardest part was trying to make the copy stretch across five pages. There wasn't a lot of copy to work with and I was worried that I would have a page without any (I'm not sure if that's a bad thing). I ended up getting copy on all pages, and I was able to fit six photos throughout the entire feature with two pull quotes. Overall, I like it. I tweaked a few things on the cover and spreads today, but they were mostly small errors. The pictures I posted above are only of the cover and opening spread. 

As a tip I would avoid going to Kinkos. The guy that helped me didn't know what he was doing. He said they have new software, and he didn't know how to use it very well.

This week I will be working on a draft for Spring Preview. I'm not sure what direction I want to go in yet, but I'll post drafts when I start designing. Next week I'm going to start working on my Social Smoking feature for Vox that will run February 17. It's a two page spread.

Response: Large Magazine Project

I'm excited to get started on the Large Magazine Corporation Project for this semester. I think it will be really cool to come up with design for a magazine aimed at a younger generation that is themed toward home decor or food. I can't wait to see what the Publishing class comes up with for the project. It is such a great opportunity as a student to work under the a large corporations brand.

I also found their information about the industry helpful. When Maggie Meyer talked about how to art direct a photo shoot and design in order to make the subject matter younger was interesting. She had a lot of tips about what it was like to actually design for a national publication.

You Can't Miss: Book of Art
Today I was stumbling on and found these really cool art pieces made out of books. The artist is Isaac Salazar . His stuff is really cool. He takes a book and carves words out of the pages. Check out his flickr site to see more examples of his stuff. He sells a lot of his art on etsy, so if you're that inspired and want one of your own it's for sale. His site is

Designing Magazine's blog
The blog I'm following this semester is . In a post on the site about the redesign of New York Times Magazine, the blogger Jandos Rothstein, writes about how the redesign is a disservice to everyone from editor and designer down to reader. The editor explained that the magazine is smaller because they switched to a more condensed typography. However, the switch is harder on the eyes, and causes the design to look much more cluttered.

Even though times are tough in the publishing world, when publications make cuts to try and slim down magazines to save money it can be detrimental on so many levels. The blog post about New York TImes Magazine can be found at It is on the main page.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Very First Post

Hello everyone,

I'm still getting used to this whole blogging thing, so you will probably notice a few site changes throughout the week as I try and get the whole layout of this site down the way I want it. For this first post I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and what I'm doing these days.

My name is Christina Shimer and I am a senior Magazine Design major at the University of Missouri. I am also minoring in Information Technology on the entertainment media track. I get my design inspiration from a number of different places, but my favorite way to find designs is by using I'm addicted. I'll probably post some of the things that I find interesting by stumbling on here throughout the semester. Aside from my design obsessions, I'm either watching the Food Network, E! or MTV (I'm addicted to trashy TV) or doing school things.

This blog is going to encompass my trials and tribulations in the design world during my semester in Advanced Magazine Design mixed together with some of my own opinions of other design blogs and industry news.

Happy Blogging!