A6: Final Draft

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Final Draft

A6: Self-Evaluation

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I contributed at every class critique. I tried to contribute useful comments at the critiques. I made some subjective comments that weren’t very good, but I tried to refine the comments I gave — making more useful comments as I went along. I think that the good comments I made — useful one with good reasons behind them– outweighed the bad ones. In my group critique, I gave both people I was working with a lot of feedback that I think was good and useful. Giving feedback at later critiques was easier than at the first one because people had a better grasp of their big idea and our designs were far enough along that the commentary was more meaningful and concrete.
I came prepared to almost all the critiques (except when printers malfunctioned), and I turned in my work on time.

A6: Process

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Step 1: Initial Concept, Planning, Research

To begin my process for this project, I chose my concept for a location and wrote my design brief. I spend less time picking a location and more starting on the design than on other projects. In my design brief, I came up with my big idea:

Toulon, a beautiful and historic French city, offers an authentic experience of more relaxed Southern French culture.

I also determined the target audience for my article. I began to plan the visual style. I looked at some other magazine spreads for the type of article that I was planning to write– travel feature aimed at experienced travelers interested in lesser-known locations. Looking at photos of my location and considering the feel that I wanted the feature to have, I came up with a color palette.

I spent time online looking at various typefaces. I knew I wanted an old style typeface that looked more grey than black from far away– I wanted the article to have a lighter feel. Also, I tried to find a typeface that seemed French, or at least European. At this stage, I was planning to use Baskerville for my header and Garamond for my body, but later decided against that since the fonts were fairly similar. In the end I decided to use different weights and styles Garamond for all of the text in my spreads.

Since I visited Toulon for the first time this past summer, I already had a good number of photos (part of the reason I chose this location). I compiled the ones that I thought would be most suitable. I decided that I would write the body text myself and began to do so.

Step 2: Exploring Layouts

Color was a major design device in the first set of spreads I planned. (Yellow and green areas have colored backgrounds, blue rectangles are photos. This set of spreads used a two column grid, but I didn’t end up developing this set of spreads more. The main reason I didn’t go further with this was because of my content. These spreads include a lot of large photos, and don’t leave much room for the text. Also, later when I tried giving parts of the page colored backgrounds it proved to be complicated– the color could divide the page in ways that I did not intend.

The second set of possible layouts I sketched had multiple alternatives for each spread (horizontally). At the start of my process, I used these layouts as a guide. They have a nice balance, but practically had to undergo many changes.I discarded this set of possible layouts early on. Having text in all 3 columns, even when that text was broken up by photos, was too much– too busy. At this stage, I was also finishing up the body copy.

Step 3: Drafting and Revising in InDesign (iteration)

At this stage, I transitioned from planning and exploring possibilities on paper to working in InDesign. I also continued to finalize my content and did some additional photo research, since I wanted more photos with people in them. To get more ideas and a better feel for how magazine spreads are laid out, I also looked at more magazine spreads– even ones from non-travel magazines.

I did more photo research to give myself more choices for photos of Toulon. I had some luck finding the photos-- the hard part was choosing which to use-- which best supported my Big Idea.

I also looked at more magazines to try to get a feel for ways to layout spreads.

The rest of my process was basically a feedback loop of trying different layouts for my spreads, evaluating them, and then trying to improve them.

The first draft for my spreads was pretty bare. I spent time selecting photos and experimenting with the layout, setting aside other aspects of the design. I had a three column layout, but was not consistent in how I used the columns. The initial splash spread used a panoramic view of the city and very plain type styling.

The second draft incorporated color for sidebars and quotes. Since I defined my color palette early on, it held together well throughout the spreads, but the boxes were very closed off from the rest of the content. I was still varying how I used my columns. This was the spread I had at the first critique.

The third draft started to place the content only in the inner two columns. I also changed the scale of the photos on many of the spreads. I changed the layout of the text on the splash spread, but had not yet developed it further.

In this draft, I explored other options for photos and layouts for the splash page. I was still using color blocks for pull quotes and captions. I changed the title of the article on this iteration from "Authentic, Alive, Allons-y" to "Paris? Try Toulon" to make the story better suited to my audience-- not all French speakers.

On this iteration, I also spent time tweaking spreads and comparing layouts for the photos and captions. I probably should not have looked this closely at the details this early on, but I did get a better idea of how I wanted to layout the photos and captions that I used in later designs.

In this draft, I spent more time on the splash spread than the others. I decided to use a different photo, and started trying to make the text more bold and attention grabbing. I also looked more at photo layouts on the fourth spread, trying to use multiple small photos to bridge the gap between the pages.

On that same draft, I also explored other layout possibilities for the later three spreads. I was working more at the layout level than the spread level-- just trying different photos in different arrangements. I took a lot of ideas from the spreads I had sketched early on, but the content definitely did not fit neatly into any one of my early possible layouts.

In this draft, I spent more time on the splash page than anywhere else, trying a title that crossed both pages of the opening spread.

This draft is also part of the set of intermediate drafts where my focus was on the splash page. I tried more layouts for it and left the other spreads for later (note: I spent somewhat less time on iterations that focused on one spread in particular-- not all of these drafts are equal in terms of the progress made.)

This spread worked more with the splash page. I also developed the first and second content spreads more. The layout of the first and second spreads here definitely carried through to the final. I tried vertical text on the opening spread, but it ended up dragging the viewers eye all over the page, rather than chunking the header as one piece of information.

This draft's splash page was the most direct ancestor of the final page. The first and second spreads were also more developed. I started paying more attention to the third spread. Still, I had spare photos and pull quotes-- extra content-- set aside for areas where I was undecided.

This draft was much more polished than previous ones. I had spent time developing each spread and came up with the design for my sidebar. I used typographic flourishes across the pages to accent the story and link it together more.

This version of my spreads was the one I presented at the final crit. While it was polished in many aspects, there were still plenty of improvements to make, especially in terms of readability.

The very last draft of my design made some significant changes from earlier drafts, the most significant being that I put my text into one column rather than two. After hearing feedback during the final critique and then measuring the line length, I figured out that one column would be much more readable. I also changed the scale of one photo on the third spread. Another significant change I made was to the text content. I changed the text of the headers and added subheads to chunk the content more effectively. I also tweaked some of my color choices. Some of what I tried to do on this draft was to make the article not only more readable, but more approachable and welcoming to better fit my big idea-- Toulon is a friendly, relaxed city, so I didn't want my design to feel so formal that it contradicted the message of the content.

A6: Grids

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

A6: Post Crit 3 (Final Crit)

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Though it was the final crit, I am not finished with my designs. At the crit, I was impressed and inspired by my classmates’ work . I received a lot of feedback that I’m going to try to use in my final designs.

First, a concern that came up a lot about my spreads was readability. The body copy is pretty dense, and the way the paragraphs flow does not support chunking of the information, especially on the first spread. One other issue with readability was how my designs printed– the color of the type on the page changed how readable it was. Because of this, there are some adjustments I need to make to the coloring of the text. I need to make the captions for photos darker, probably navy blue, and the text in my sidebar a heavier weight since it’s on a dark background. I might also experiment with a one column layout instead of my current two narrower columns, but that experiment may or may nor make it into my final depending on how it interacts with the other elements of my design.

Besides readability, the layout of the third spread remains problematic. The variation in size for the bottom left photo was too small– not a drastic enough change to seem intentional. I think I may enlarge that photo so that text flows around it (though I had been avoiding flowing text around photos).

On the splash spread, there are a few small things that I got feedback on that I might change. Mainly people said that they would like to see the header text be larger. Seeing my design on the page, I do think that the header text could be larger. People suggested that I make the word Toulon larger so that it calls more attention to itself. I understand this and plan to experiment, but I am concerned that that will break up my header, which is currently a nice ‘block’ of text.

A6: Pre Crit 3 (Final Crit)

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Since the last critique, I’ve made a lot of progress on my designs. All of my spreads are now almost 100% done. I modified the layout for my splash page significantly. I pulled together the title of the article into one block of text and added some French-ey flourishes. I also reduced the length of the subhead. I used color to start hinting at how the article characterizes Toulon. While Paris is printed in a harsher, metallic grey, Toulon is printed in a navy blue. The curves of the flourishes are also meant to evoke the shape of a wave (Toulon is a coastal city) and the shape of a bird (seagulls).I repeat the flourishes from the first page throughout the article to tie it together and to help guide the reader’s attention to certain parts. I increased the width of my inner margins. I also adjusted the type, removing hyphenated words and making sure that there were not paragraphs awkwardly split between columns or pages. For the photos on my third spread, I ran the bottom photo off the page to break up the left column. I tweaked the position of captions to be consistent and to use proximity so that it was clear which captions went with which photos. On the last spread, I was sure to leave whitespace and to finish on a pull quote that linked strongly to the big idea “Immerse yourself… experience the culture”. I used color to distinguish the sidebar. Though I experimented with other typefaces in the sidebar, I felt that a change in typeface made it too different from the article.

Now that I’ve refined my design, I’m looking forward to my classmates’ and teachers’ feedback so I can further refine the details.

A6: Post-Crit 2

April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

After the group crit, I was torn between what to work on: details on my splash page and my first two spreads, or the last one. I ended up working more on the details because I felt that I might forget them later. My peers didn’t have too many concrete suggestions for what I could change, but their comments on parts of the design that they did and did not like (e.g. varying typefaces and novelty font on splash page, verbal content on first page– too much focus on Paris, not enough on Toulon) were helpful, and helped me add to my mental list of aspects of my design that need improvement. After my desk crit, I felt much better about knowing what I need to do to continue improving my design. On a general level, there are some details I need to fix with the more developed spreads, as well as some changes I’d like to experiment with, and the last spread needs a good deal more work. On a specific level, I need to:

  • increase inside margin on spreads
  • experiment with varying photo size on left page of third spread
  • make sidebar more stylistically distinct, possibly use different typeface
  • cut out some photos, especially the ones related to the markets
  • change some of the subheadings, make sure I have enough of them
  • consider making some of the content about the beaches or markets into a sidebar
  • work on splash page: make the header one block of text, try to fit header and subhead onto upper portion of right page (covering the sky in the photo)
  • get a better infographic/map for Toulon
  • … other items on the mental list that I’m forgetting