Tufts Magazine Wins Again

tufts-summer08-coverOur work on Tufts Magazine has received awards of excellence from the University College Designers Association 39th Design Competition (UCDA), including the cover and complete issue. To view this project and other new work, check out Projects on our website.

Share This Article
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Ma.gnolia
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
  • YahooMyWeb
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
Posted in awards, projects | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Strengthening Voice Through Visuals

With deadlines getting tighter and budgets getting crunched, it seems that the concept of art directing an original image is becoming a thing of the past. But as much as type and color are part of a brand, so is imagery. When a creative team takes into consideration the value of a directed approach to photography and illustration, whether it is in a marketing brochure or a publication, the brand is strengthened. But the process requires time and teamwork. Here are some tips for a successful collaboration.
Start early. In order to have time for the creative process, it is important to start discussions with your editorial team early on. Because this means starting weeks ahead of time, not days, it usually requires reviewing copy in a rough stage and sometimes just an article outline.

Take time to conceptualize visuals. Brainstorm beyond your first idea. Think about different ways that visuals could enhance the material: For illustrations, what style would be suitable? If you’re using photography, would color be better, or black and white? Would incorporating infographics be appropriate? Uncover the theme of the material and develop ideas that will bring the core message to the surface.

Brainstorm with your team.
Discuss the goals of the piece. What is the message, and how can that message be conveyed visually? Be willing to share ideas, even ones that might not come to fruition—one person’s initial thought can evolve into a well-developed concept. It can be tempting to try to come up with a final solution quickly, but it is important to remain open to ideas at this stage.

Begin the creation of imagery. If you are used to working with stock photos, creating the imagery can be a nerve-wracking process. You are now responsible for developing the perfect image, not retrofitting an existing one. You have to find the right artist to visualize your message and communicate it clearly. You don’t want to stifle the artist’s creativity, but you also want to make sure that he or she understands the editorial direction. Most illustrators share sketches, and this allows for a checkpoint on direction. But unlike stock, you can’t alter what you get in the end, so the direction needs to be clear.

Don’t forget the editorial. The collaborative process of creating imagery means that multiple creative people are bringing their talents to the project. Be open to direction and look at strengthening the piece by fine-tuning the editorial after the final imagery is delivered. It is that last touch that can take a piece to the next level.

Share This Article
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Ma.gnolia
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
  • YahooMyWeb
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
Posted in 2connect, projects | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

critique – Franchise Times

franchisetimes_may09This issue’s cover critique is of Franchise Times, submitted by editor Nancy Weingarten.

The overall presence of this cover is authoritative. The logo is understated, the portrait subject is direct, and the smaller information is straightforward—all well composed but lacking in enthusiasm and energy. Based on the content—articles about franchises and franchisees—and the audience, which is mainly entrepreneurs, it would be interesting to see a cover with more energy. Why not relate to the audience by taking risks with the design? Have a logo that is more playful while still being serious. Overall it feels like an old-school trade magazine at a time when trade magazines have become much more visually interesting.

Share This Article
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Ma.gnolia
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
  • YahooMyWeb
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
Posted in critiques | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Which Digital Publication Is Right for You?

In the publishing industry today, most publications have a digital version of their material, whether it’s a simple post-production PDF, a flip-book, or a blog. With the upcoming release of the Kindle DX and the recent explosion of Twitter, is it time to rethink which digital format is right for you? Is your digital publication meeting your readers’ needs?

PDF The PDF is certainly the veteran of the digital publications. It’s a low-tech solution for the organization with limited resources. A PDF can be made in-house easily and cost-effectively. There is potential for the addition of multimedia and linking, though clients selecting the PDF as their digital solution are usually trying to reduce their budget, not increase it—not to mention that the addition of interactivity can increase the file size significantly. The PDF is a quick solution for the publisher with limited resources who is trying to maintain a print look and feel with their digital publication.

Flip-Book The next step up, so to speak, is the flip-book solution, which is offered by companies like Texterity, Zinio, or Qmags. This format simulates the experience of reading a magazine, with buttons, flipping pages, and sometimes the sound of moving pages. The pitch for this solution seems to be solely directed at advertisers. The editorial (the actual product) seems to be an afterthought. But if you are going to allocate the resources to create this digital version, why not rethink the editorial content? Make graphs interactive, drop in slide shows, include additional content through links, and design for a single page-viewing as opposed to a horizontal spread format. If you want to maintain control over the content and distribution of your publication but need a portable, digital version, this may be the solution for you.

Blog When you are ready to let go of simulating a print experience in the digital world, there is the blog solution. Yes, you might lose the large-scale, high-quality images and finishing techniques, like die-cuts and gatefolds. But what you gain in the blog format is the ability to share content, mainly through the technology of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). The benefit of RSS is that it’s widely used by blogging platforms (Wordpress, Blooger), video- and photo-sharing websites (YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo), and social media (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed) to deliver information. Your publication can connect to these communities, where your audience is most likely already sharing with friends and colleagues.

By looking at a blog solution, you are opening up options for you and your audience. A web-based publication built on a blogging platform allows your audience to build a community around its content, provides instant reader feedback for you, and connects you with your audience. If you have a publication wrapped around a community, then this solution is the one for you.

In order to make an educated choice for your digital delivery, you need to analyze your readership and understand how they interact with your publication. Where do they read your publication? Do they need a portable digital solution? How are they using your website? Do they always have an internet connection? Move out of the mindset of thinking print vs. interactive and review your overall budget. By looking at the big picture, you can make strategic decisions about where funds are best allocated for your digital presence.

Share This Article
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Ma.gnolia
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
  • YahooMyWeb
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
Posted in 2connect | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Print in Motion & Social Media as Course Communication

Creative Director Chris St. Cyr will be presenting two papers at the UCDA Education Summit. “Print in Motion” is a presentation about inserting motion design projects into a print-focused curriculum and “Social Media as Course Communication” addresses the issue of delivering course and project content to design students via web 2.0 technology. The UCDA exists to promote excellence in visual communications for educational institutions.

University and College Designers Association (UCDA) Education Summit
Mobile, AL
May 29

Share This Article
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Ma.gnolia
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
  • YahooMyWeb
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
Posted in lectures | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

critique – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Quarterly

bidmc_sp09_smWith the tagline “A look at life and work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Hospital,” one can tell the goal of the cover was to capture the community aspect of the publication by showing the people who work in various departments. Unfortunately, the main theme of the article, “employee safety,” gets lost. It is unclear who these people are, and the image feels a bit forced in its representation of diversity. With the doctor at the center, it almost feels as if these safety hazards revolve around him. A conceptual photo or illustration might have been more effective and less literal.

Also, in a time of quick information, especially in health care, the prominence of the word “quarterly” in the logo feels overstated. The space would be better served by emphasizing the organization name, not the distribution schedule.

If you’re interested in having your cover critiqued for the next issue, please email us a PDF. First come, first served.

If your organization does not have the budget for a redesign, but your publication is in need of review, consider a publication critique. We will review Identity (color, typography, imagery); Structure (grid, hierarchy, and pagination); Packaging (the relationship between editorial and design); and Experience (the overall reader experience). We will provide feedback in a written document, a marked-up copy of your publication, and a one-hour phone consultation. Contact us if you would like more information.

Share This Article
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Ma.gnolia
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
  • YahooMyWeb
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
Posted in critiques | Tagged , , | Leave a comment