Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Critique: Dirty Jobs and Prototype

Last week I spent some time working on my second draft for the dirty jobs cover. When I was asked to work on my illustration for the cover I decided to make a cover that made a statement by making such a stark contrast with the white background and messy foreground. Kaylee helped me with this cover by taking photos for me because she has a great camera that can take high-resolution photos.

For the boot cover I took my black rain boots and went out in my yard and found some spots that had been walked over and muddied after the snow and just started going crazy in it. I did this the night before because I wanted to get that dried, caked-on look all over the boots. After we took the photos I noticed that the I used picture wasn’t as crisp as I had hoped for it to be. It is a bit blurry in the front of the boot, which is unfortunate. I do have other photos though that I can choose from to put on the cover because I want to use this as a portfolio piece. 

The raw meat was challenge for me. It wasn’t as juicy as I wanted it to be. I tried to squeeze some blood out, but it didn’t work. Instead I pulled off some bits and placed them in front of the t-bone steak. This shot is just straight meat, but after Kaylee took some photos of the meat I decided to add food coloring to make it look more red and bloody. Those looked good initially, but after reviewing the photos I decided it looked too fake. In the end I think I’m going to work on both and put them in my portfolio.

For the prototype I decided after the critique in class to drastically change my department page. I think it turned out a lot better and fit the tone of the magazine better. I decided to keep the people in the feature. It is important for all of us to incorporate people in our publications because that is how we are going to connect to our readers. I know whoever is chosen as creative director for my group will do a great job leading us. I feel like our group all has a similar vision for the magazine and it will be easy to work with everyone.

You Can't Miss: Logo Inspiration

This week in my blog I found a post about magazines from France and Germany. According to the blogger, he says he found better magazines in Germany than he did in France. The designs he shows are a lot like American designs, but showcase the different culture of living overseas. It is something worth checking out. The designers use a lot of white space and cutouts to make the designs pop. The color of the typorgaphy and photos have a chance to really shine though.

Also I found some more logo inspiration for everyone to take a look at. The deadline for the 20/10 project is quickly approaching and I figured everyone could use some more fresh inspiration.

Response: The September Issue

I loved this movie. It was so great to see how an editor and creative director interact when planning an issue. I was surprised to see how much both of them work together when making decisions for the magazine. In the movie, everyone knew that Anna was the final say for the magazine for basically all choices. I always thought that when it came to the visuals that the creative director always took charge and had final say, but in this movie it wasn’t like that at all. Anna was the one who did the picking and choosing for The September Issue.

It was very interesting to see Anna and Grace interact. Anna would pick apart the many things Grace did and would turn down a lot of Grace’s clothing choices and studio shoot ideas, but Anna would still praise Grace’s brilliance. Anna felt that there was no one better than Grace for the job, but it was so funny to watch her cut spreads that Grace spent so much time and effort putting together. However, in the end, Grace would get her final say when it came to the color blocking spread and the retouching of the camera guy’s stomach. 

Watching Grace prepare for the ’20s feature was so fun. She did so much research for it and wanted to get every aspect of the feature just right. I thought it was so great to see how a creative director art directs a photo shoot. The creative director has the ability to call-it-a-day when he or she thinks they have gotten the perfect shot for the spread or cover. The photographer doesn’t get to call all the shots, which is great to know

This movie really takes the average person inside the pages of a big magazine. I’m so glad we got to see this film as a class.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You Can't Miss: Drawings in Photography

This work was created by Ben Heine, who is a creative artists from Belgium. He has a degree in journalism, but does a lot of artwork. Check out his flickr site that I linked above to see more, but here area few from his Drawing vs. Photography collection.

I love that he can look at something draw what he sees and place it perfectly in the right spot so it coincides with each other. It's genius.

This week in designing magazines I looked through some older posts and noticed this one about designing for long-form features. Since everyone has a feature story to do this semester I thought it would be helpful to take a look at. It gives some great examples and talks about how the opening spread should differ from the other pages that follow.

Some quick tips:
Strong images for the opening spread. One can be enough.
Don't let your headline compete with your image. It should be bold, but it should complement the image.
Maintain the same color scheme throughout the entire layout.

I know most of us know this stuff all ready, but it is helpful to look at more examples and always learn more about what works and what doesn't.

Response: Mag+

I'm in both the Magazine's Across Platforms class and obviously the Advanced Design class so learning about Mag+ was really exciting and important to me. I couldn't believe have simplistic the entire process really is. I think it will take some time getting used to designing for the iPad instead of designing for print, but overall it looks like it can almost be easier for designers to work with the iPad than orginally expected.

Yesterday, in Magazine's Across Platforms we played around with some iPad's, and I think actually seeing what other publications are doing with the iPad makes it easier to envision what our class can do with Vox and our prototypes. I noticed that yesterday I was already thinking about how not only Vox stories could be enhanced online, but how much more they can be enhanced with the iPad. We can add tour dates for bands featured in Vox as a link on the iPad, with audio soundbites. Have interactive photos and so much more.

I'm so happy to getting this type of experience before I graduate. It's a valuable skill and I think once we start using Mag+ it will be even easier to envision what's possible on the iPad.

Critique: Nosh Prototype

This week I spent a lot of time working on my prototype. I presented my work in class and I got a lot of good feedback from the class. One thing everyone didn't like, and I, myself, also didn't like was my department page. Department pages have always been my least favorite thing to conceptualize and design. I think I mostly have trouble when it comes to trying to make things look inspired and new, but still maintain a grid and hierarchy. Usually the end result is a mess.  I think I'm going to start with all a completely different layout and try to make this page cleaner and less crazy.

I like my cover choices for this magazine. I need to make my sell lines pop more, and I need to choose a different font choice for them. Also I want to take my logo one step further. I'll try experimenting with different ways to make my letter interact that is content-driven. I got mixed reviews about the icons, and most people thought it looked too old for my demographic. I think I might make a solid black stroke instead of the oxford line that is on the right cover now. I might also take a totally different approach; I haven't decided, but I do want to keep some sort of icon that can be used every month. The feel like the picture choice on the right is the right type of photo, but maybe the color scheme doesn't match my color palette. I'm going to try working with different pictures to see how the feeling changes. I want my entire magazine to feel like the same publication all the way through, and some people mentioned that my feature was nice, but it felt out of place with the cover.

 My feature is about four people with different lifestyles. The people are going to be profiled and then each of them will have a personalized snacking guide that goes with there profile. I decided to mostly focus on the people in my spread, instead of the food because the people are the big part of the story. When comparing the right cover with the feature spread I can tell right away that there is a disconnect. I think choosing a different photo for the cover might help that. I would also like to have a better photo of a guy for this feature. This would help pull everything together.

Overall, I think after I spend some time working on the prototype this weekend that it will all come together. I'd appreciate more feedback on this project! Thanks.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Response: Historical Magazine Spread Influence

I found this spread (well, technically it's two spreads) in Alive Magazine's September 2010 issue. Fergie, from the Black-Eyed Peas was appearing on the cover that month because her band was stopping in St. Louis on its "The E.N.D. World Tour." I was an intern at ALIVE over the Summer on the editorial side, but I really appreciated the design style of the magazine. I felt that it was young and attracted the target market ALIVE set out to find.

This design is reminiscent of an Esquire spread from 1957 pictured below and in the reading.

For the Fergie spread, the designer took the image and cropped it to fit on three different pages. This design takes inspirations from The New York School Era of the '40s to the 60s. This is when more art direction started taking place and more designers began playing with typography, white space and photography. IN the beginning of magazine design, magazines usually hada page of text and some art on the following page, now magazines take risks with photos and type that usually never happened. Henry Wolf, the art director for Esquire in '57, took a headline and wrapped it around the turn of the page to create a build-up of excitement. The ALIVE designer (who I think was Victoria Millner because she is the Art Director for ALIVE and is a Mizzou alum) wrapped the photo and created an awkward crop, which creates an interesting build-up of excitement and confusion because she broke the horizontal pattern of a magazine and went vertical in both spreads. It's out-of-the-box designing and reminds me of how designers began taking more risks with their photos by using full-bleed. The headline is over the photograph on Fergie and the page numbers are in the center of the two spreads, instead of in the usual corners.

You Can't Miss: Convertible Furniture

While I was stumbling again today I found some sweet convertible couches in assorted colors. These couches start out as a regular looking couch, but can turn into bunk beds of all different styles.

I wonder if these are as comfortable as they are inspiring and cool?

This week on my blog designing magazines I found an old post about covers and logos for magazines. This post is written as a lecture to students to supplement the book that accompanies the blog. I thought the post would be helpful to a lot of us because we will be designing our prototypes soon and might need some more pointers. This post built on my knowledge that I learned in Magazine Design.

Some quick pointers:
Try and stick with a sans-serif font. Without the details of a serif it makes it easier to read because there are no competing or added details to the nameplate.

Use value contrast on the cover. It's more readable.

Create a hierarchy with the sell lines.

Always stick to the mission and personality of the magazine when choosing cover photos.

Critique: Social Smoking

This is the first draft that I turned in on Monday during the staff meeting.

 This week I have been working on my social smoking spread. It has been tough to work on it because of all the snow days we had. The art was supposed to be on the server on Tuesday but because of the snow it made it difficult for Hayley, the photo coordinator for Vox, to select and edit the photos. It wasn't until Wednesday night that we all learned how to VPN into the server and were finally able to accomplish some things.

Aside from the technical difficulties, it was tough to design. All the photos that were available to me were horizontal. This paired with only having a two-page spread to fit photos and the entire story was a challenge. I'm still trying to figure out how exactly I want to tell the story visually.

I foresee my design changing quite a bit once I get the actual photos for the spread with captions (Hayley is thinking about having the photographer go out again).

This is the second draft I am now working on after Erica's comments.

I'm not super fond of it right now, so any feedback would be great. There was one horizontal shot taken, so that's the one that I had to use in order to fit another photo on the spread.  I might try a different type treatment for the headline. Any suggestions? It looks a little crowded over there right now.