Sunday, November 27, 2011

InDesign > Quark

I gave it a chance, guys. I really did. I opened my mind to this strange new program. I set aside my Adobe bias for a little while, and I learned about Quark. What I have concluded is that InDesign is far superior. Not only does it have more bells and whistles, but it enables you do do things quickly. Want to use the text tool without trying to click a tiny button? Just press "T." Want to access the type within a text box? Just double click. For some reason, Quark has made all its keyboard shortcuts so convoluted that you need three hands to perform them. Making type bigger requires a shortcut of four keys, and there is no easy way to move from the positioning tool to the content tool without accessing your tiny-ass toolbar up in the corner.

Basically, I'm on Team InDesign. I should make T-shirts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Design program overload

Naturally, when you start a new job, there's a training process. Each company/newspaper/etc. has its own way of doing things, and that's cool. It's what makes them all unique. What I didn't figure out, though, was that I jumped on this design studio bandwagon a few months too early. I agreed to help out in Springfield, Mo., before they rolled into the studio in Des Moines, and the process of "rolling into" involves more than what I thought.

All through college and even at my job in Savannah, I used Adobe-based programs: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. I'd always heard the switch to Quark wasn't too hard, but I never thought I would have to switch at all. I'd always considered Quark the lesser of the two — the more outdated design program. So I was surprised to learn they used it here in Springfield. I was even more surprised to learn that when the paper rolls into the studio, it won't be designed through InDesign or Quark, but something called Layout Champ, which is a subsidiary of CCI, the Gannett-wide, web-based content management system. Learning the content management systems shouldn't be too hard, though, considering the Content Watch debacle in Savannah and how we all pulled through that.

There's also the Mac/PC aspect of the switch. I worked on a PC in Savannah, and I'm currently learning all the Quark stuff on a Mac. However, they will soon be switching us back over to PCs for the switch to CCI. But I have my own Mac at home. Ridiculous.

So, these next few months I am going to be learning a system and a program that I get to throw away come January, when I will learn a whole new system. I know I am probably making a bigger deal out of this than I should, but I just find it amusing. For now, I feel like I'm going into design program overload. I tell you what, though. I am going to be a design program champ when all is said and done.

Design program overload.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick and dirty website

This is my home page. You can find it at
A few months ago, I posted about how I was planning on creating a website for the upcoming SND conference. Well, the conference has come and gone, but I did still slap together something to display some of my design work. You can find it at Now, this is my no means the best portfolio website in the world, but I think it is a good display of how my design can translate onto the web. I am especially proud of the fact that I didn't go overboard with the code. It is really simple, and the only thing I borrowed from other sites was the code for the lightbox on my clips page. You can find the lightbox tutorial here.

I also crafted some coordinating business cards to hand out at the conference. I definitely didn't hand out as many as I should have, though. What do you think? What could I improve on? Feedback is more than welcome!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Everything will fall into place

Hello blog readers! I have to admit, as I am writing this, I am feeling a little guilty about keeping you in the dark about everything that had been going on. I had to for a number of reasons, but I am sorry nonetheless. So, let's rewind a little bit.

In memory of Maia Nielzichbacherott

On Sept. 16, 2011, I lost one of my best friends. Maia was a part of my life for such a short time, but she helped me get through a lot with moving to Savannah. She was my only friend here for a while, and I love and thank her for helping me though it.

Maia's digestive sicknesses took a nasty turn and the vet eventually boiled down her diagnosis to some type of cancer in the intestines. Keeping her alive with chemo was just not an option, so I had to make the hard decision of letting her out of her misery. I didn't do it alone, and I thank all my friends for helping me through the ordeal.

I decided to cremate her remains and bring her back to Columbia, so Allie, Jayme, Amanda and I could all send her off together. It was more for my benefit than for theirs, I think, but I got real closure spreading her ashes at the Big Tree in Columbia.

Here's the Tree in April 2008. We didn't take any pics the day we commemorated Maia.

SND Conference, Sept. 20-Oct. 1

I was lucky enough to attend this year's SND conference in St. Louis. The city was really the perfect place for it to be. Not only did I get free room and board, but I was also able to use my mom's car for the weekend. On the whole, I was a cheapskate, but I still learned a lot!

The panel that will stick with me the most was actually the first one I attended. It was about doing more with less in newsrooms that are dwindling down to a few designers. I learned about what the res of the country is doing and got a couple of ideas to bring back to Savannah, even though they probably won't work out because the staff is almost too tiny to function as it is.

I saw other seminars and learned a lot from people who have been in the business for a lot longer than I have. I actually talked for a while with the people at Gannett, who are consolidating their design into five design studios across the country. I was skeptical about the idea at first because it is so easy to cut off communication that way. Having worked in two traditional newsrooms, I had a lot to ask about. In this digital age, though, it makes communication that much easier. And they are trying to keep as many natives as possible in the studios so that the designers are at least somewhat knowledgable about the area they are designing a paper for. I do have to admit that I did have some ulterior motives for speaking with them, too.  We'll get to that later.

My apartment saga

I moved into my new apartment in July. I had the highest hopes for it. I knew it was a lot older than my other apartment (more than 100 years older), but it was cheaper and in the Historic District. Then the first sewage flood happened.

I'm not going to get into the gory details of the flood or post pictures (ok, maybe just the one...).

The nasty remnants of flood No. 1.

The flood spanned three rooms and a hallway. That first time, the contractors had said that it had happened previously, too, and they would ask the property manager if they could run a camera to fix the problem. Manager said no, and it flooded less than a month later. And then less than a week after that.

After the third flood, my property manager got a quote from a water extraction company assessing the damage. It was at least $3,300 and included ripping up the baseboards and tile flooring to avoid mold and mildew form growing. Manager said no and hired people to clean the surfaces of the floors, leaving the water underneath to rot. Finally, though, they decided to run a camera to actually fix the problem rather than just clean up the mess. They left a hole in my floor for almost two weeks with a piece of plywood on top. After about a week and a half, they cut the plywood to fit the hole, but I still have no tile over it.

A blessing in disguise

So, given the things you have read already and what you may or may not know about my current work situation, can you guess what comes next?

During my 6 days off for Mizzou's homecoming, I was rented a car to drive up to Des Moines, where one of Gannett's design studios is located. I don't think they know how lucky they were to snag me, but the design director talked to me on the phone, and we set it all up. By the end of the day-and-a-half interview, they offered me a job. It was one of those interviews where you know they are going to hire you even before you talk with anyone.

The job involved me living and working in Springfield, Mo., for two months before I move up to Des Moines when the newspaper goes live at the studio. They'd pay my housing in Springfield for two months and storage for my stuff in the city of my choosing.

I didn't respond right away, namely because the signing/moving package wasn't anywhere near what I'd need to move across the country again. (You all know how that one turned out.) They gave me the weekend to decide if it's what I wanted. When the director called me back on Oct. 17, and I negotiated for twice as much for moving and even a pay raise. Then, I took the job.

That's right, folks, I'm coming back to the Midwest, and I couldn't be more excited. Everything seems to be falling into place. With all the crap that's been going on with my apartment, there's really no doubt that they'll let me out of the lease. And while I wish she were with me, even moving without a cat would be easier.

I keep going back to this quote on a magnet my mom gave me when I moved to Savannah a year and a half ago.

"Everything Will Fall into Place"

Life is life a giant puzzle. Though our futures may not be clear or turn out exactly as we expected, each of us has the strength inside to put the puzzle together — we just have to look for the right pieces. It may seem impossible, but keep striving. Life's pieces have a way of falling into place when you least expect it.
— Renee M. Brtalik

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago today

Today I felt compelled to share my findings on Everyday, the website compiles front pages of newspapers from around the world, and today seemed like a great opportunity to analyze the meanings and displays on papers across the nation. I picked out a few that I liked and that I thought were unique and different from the rest.

The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Ariz.

The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, Ariz., put together one of my favorite fronts of the day. I have a few beefs with it, but overall, I think it is the most unique. Instead of creating an image of the towers with columns of text, like the San Diego Union-Tribune, below, the Republic  created a void, which goes perfectly with their quote-style headline, 'There's a hole in the world.' The only beef I have with the design is the flow of text from one "column" to another. After it creates the void for the first tower, I get confused as to which column I should be reading. For legibility, it should have been three columns of text with the two towers in the middle. I can see the allure of the asymmetry with the type, though.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego, Calif.

The two twin columns above seem like the easy thing to do, right? I mean, columns naturally look like the buildings. I have to give San Diego some credit, though, because I think the spacing and air to the page is just right.

Sioux City Journal, Sioux City, Iowa

The Sioux City Journal, above, did something different with typography that I don't think does the trick, either. It definitely needs an explainer paragraph on the front saying where the words came from, and, to me, it feels more artsy than actually conveying any journalism whatsoever. It does, however, get a lot of air.

Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa

The Des Moines Register went on a cloning spree and Photoshopped a very literal translation of an image being burned into our eyes. I am inclined to like it if only because it breaks up the monotony of the file plan-crashing-into-the-towers photo. And it is definitely "eye"-catching.

Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.

Speaking of breaking up the monotony, the Star-Ledger in Newark seemed to think the same thing. Instead of running file images of the attacks, they told the reader, "We do not need to tell you what happened 10 years ago today. You know." I love this unique take on the day, but I could have probably done with a shorter story on the front. It is neat, though, how the writer of the story was the same writer who reported on the attacks 10 years ago.

The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.

Ahh, The Virginian-Pilot. Always with the innovations. Even though the front page is very self-explanatory, let me point out a few things. For one, this front is informative. It doesn't show you an image you have already seen, and it doesn't tell you something you already know (well, some you may). It gives you facts, albeit snarky ones (i.e. Number of Osama bin Ladens: 1 —> 0).

West Hawaii Today, Kailua Kona, Hawaii

West Hawaii Today is the only paper I picked that used the file photos of the towers because they went big. They flipped the front page and used the iconic image to speak for itself.Yes, it's an image we have already seen before, but they repurposed it for the anniversary.

These are just my opinions, folks. I haven't spoken to the designers of these papers, and all I know is what I see. However, I do suggest people check out the front pages for themselves on A direct link to today's papers will probably be posted on the site tomorrow, and I will in turn post it here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Designing for the iPad ... kind of

I know in (not so) recent posts, I have talked about using a new content management system at the newspaper. It's been rough going while they work out all the kinks. I've tried my best to remain positive during this time of short staffing and high stress, and not until today did I actually see the fruit of my/our efforts.

The new system is supposed to help merge all platforms for the newspaper, namely on the iPad. It is actually a reall cool app. It takes the PDFs of the daily paper and enhances them for tap-, swipe- and zoomability. We can add videos, slideshows and links to the stories on the page while we are designing the section for tomorrow's print edition, and today was the first day I saw my A section on the iPad. It was pretty exciting -- especially because the copydesk has an iPad now!

Technology is an amazing thing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting lost in Ireland

So I am going to take a break from taking a break to tell y'all about my recent trip to Ireland. Even though I've been back for a few weeks, the experience is still fresh in my mind, and I want to share some of it!

Wednesday, June 15
This was the first day of my vacation, and the first day I tried to fly to Dublin. I say "try" because flying standby in the summer is like pulling teeth. You never know if you will make the flight, and that is super crappy.

I left on an early flight out of Jacksonville to Chicago so I could spend some time with my mom, who was flying up from St. Louis. Weather wasn't on our side, so we both had delayed flights. It all worked out, though, and we had a nice Italian lunch before I tried to make it on my international flight.

The airline gods were nice to me, and not only did I get one of the last seats on the plane, but I also was seated next to someone who didn't make their previous connection because of the bad Chicago weather. Two seats for me!

Thursday, June 16
The flight got in at 8 a.m. local time, and Allie had given me directions to Trinity College, where she was staying. We didn't quite communicate everything, though. She thought I was going to get in at noon, and I thought she was out of class by 10. I knew where to meet her, but the times got all screwed up.

It was so weird to be stranded in a place with no way to contact anyone. My phone wasn't international, and I couldn't find Wi-Fi anywhere. It wouldn't have been as bad, but I had a bag to lug around with me, and I wasn't sure when she was supposed to show up. It made me wonder how we all survives without cell phones.

We found each other eventually and began planning our weekend roadtrip across the country. Allie's friend Grant decided to come with us, too. This is what we planned, plus a few little detours that we made over the weekend.

Click to view a larger version. I marked the major places we stopped.

Friday, June 17
On the morning of the 17th, we took a taxi to Buget rental car to pick up our transportation for the weekend. While renting a car was more expensive than taking buses would have been, it was totally worth it in the end. You can't get lost in a bus, and the more people you have pitching in for the cost, the better. We got a Hyundai Getz and named him Peanut because he was tiny and oddly peanut-colored.

Peanut and Grant at a random petrol station we drove 9 km to get to.

After attempting to make it out of Dublin for more than an hour (signage, traffic and overall driving in Dublin is NOT good), we finally were able to hit the open road. Allie had the unfortunate opportunity to drive in the city of Dublin and got really turned off by it for a while. After some cool country driving later in the trip, everyone felt comfortable behind the wheel.

We all had to have our brains on the whole time we were driving, though. Not only were we driving on the left side of the road, but the steering wheel was on the right side of the car. We had more than a few near-death experiences, but now that I am back in the States, I find myself thinking I'm on the wrong side of the road or getting really confused.

Anyway, our first stop was in Limerick. We took a pretty major highway to get here, and I was driving for most of it, so I got really used to road. We didn't stay very long in Limerick, but we got to see some of the city, have a beer and talk to some old men at a bar about the Irish government being liars. It was pretty entertaining.

Next on our list was Cork, where we had booked a hostel for the night. Cork was my favorite big city we visited. The city center is situated in between two rivers, and we got to walk around and see a lot of the culture and architecture.

Cork at sunset.

Our hostel wasn't that bad. I mean, it was a hallway that they managed to fit three bunk beds in and the water in the shower was cold, but the people there suggested a couple cool things that we wouldn't have otherwise done.

We got some fish and chips from The Fish Wife (complete with mushy peas ... ew) and called it a night after a long day of driving. It took us less than six hours to get to Cork, but it was a fun-filled day nonetheless.

Saturday, June 18
This was definitely the best day of the trip. We crammed a ton of cities and things to do into this day, and we found a lot of cool stuff. But first, we visited the English Market in the morning to have some breakfast. It was greasy and delicious.

Before leaving the Cork area, we were told we must stop at the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone. We figured since we might not be back ever, we should totally do it. So, to Blarney we went, and we weren't disappointed. The castle and the grounds were gorgeous, and there was even a poison garden.

Blarney Castle.

I kissed the Blarney Stone! We waited in a pretty long line, but it was a touristy thing we had to do.

Among the items in the Poison Garden was a sign
that said the police had confiscated the garden's marijuana.

Our next stop was Killarney National Park, but it took a while for us to get there. We got lost and ended up knocking on a random door in the country to ask for directions. The woman who answered was a little scared at first, then asked us why we didn't have SatNav. Because it's more fun!

At Killarney, we took a jaunting carriage ride to be able to see a lot in not a lot of time. Our tour guide, Parkick, and our horse, Tommy, were very accommodating.

Tommy the horse taking us on a tour of the park.

Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park, the first national park established in Ireland.

After Killarney, we made our way over to Dingle, the most anticipated spot on our trip just because it was kind of off the grid. Our drive to Dingle (which is in the Ring of Kerry, a gorgeous part of the country) was absolutely breathtaking. Thankfully, Allie drove this part because I was so distracted by the landscape. Our hostel was even more off the grid than we thought. Advertised as the "Dingle Gate" hostel, it was 12 km away from Dingle in Anascaul. But they did have their own chickens in the backyard, so that was cool. It's a good thing we had a car!

Once we got to the hostel, we were recommended a seafood place to eat in Inch -- and a one-lane country road to get there. It was amazing. The beach, the restaurant, the food, everything. I'll let the photos explain the rest.

A view of Inch Beach. It was cold, but it was one of the most beautiful beaches I had seen.

Sammy's Restaurant. It was the only thing on the beach, and it had a gorgeous view of the sunset.

My favorite.

That night, we heard some traditional Irish music at a pub in Dingle and had a good time drinking the Irish brews.

Sunday, June 19
This was also a fun day on the road. Grant agreed to drive the treacherous cliff roads of the western Irish coast, and the Cliffs of Moher were on our minds. There was a ton of stuff to see along the way, though. We took a ferry, got lost in towns such as Kilkee (the Irish don't believe in street signs, so when you drive into a town, it's hard to find your way out), and accidentally saw some beautiful views. This was our only day that wasn't overcast, too.

Peanut (bottom left) is on a ferry!

The Cliffs of Moher were definitely the highlight of the day, and we jumped a fence to see the good parts.

It was kind of the thing to do, but there were still less people on that side than the legal side.

Artsy shot with the cliffs in the background.

It was a 400-foot drop with no railings after you jumped the fence.
All the more reason to get close to the edge, right? 

That night, we stayed in Galway, which is a big city with a big university. It was drastically different than the few days before in Small Town, Ireland. I could have stayed in Small Town, Ireland, for days.

Monday, June 20
We made the generally boring trek (major highways -- no fun after the twisty roads on cliffs!) back to Dublin. I had planned on doing Dublin things on this day, but we were too tired from the night before and places closed down by 5 p.m. So, it was a relaxing last day before I went home.

Tuesday, June 21
I didn't think I was going to make it on my flight back to the states on Tuesday, but I needed to try because I had to be back at work by Thursday. However, not only did I make it on, I got business class for the 8-hour flight back to Chicago! We even got in a little early, so I could hop on an earlier connection back to Jacksonville before the storm hit. I got really lucky there.

Overall, it was an amazing whirlwind trip to the Emerald Isle. And while I didn't see any leprechauns, I had a great time with some great people. I highly suggest a roadtrip if you ever find yourself in Ireland.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Website block

I have my new computer and an external monitor for my design work, and my first task is to use these tools to redesign my website. Yeah, remember that project? I had to push that one aside after i realized I had a laptop that could no longer successfully run an Adobe program without crashing. So now the designing begins. Easy, right?

Not so much. I'm stuck. I have a great welcome page, but that's about it. I like my theme, but I have no idea how to carry it over without being boring. I'm not even sure if I'm sold on the theme. I don't want to be boring, and I don't want it to look too plain, you know? I've been trying to mock it up in Illustrator, but I am at a loss.

This is frustrating.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tools of the trade

So, Internet world, I bit the bullet. I bought a new Macbook Pro! A lot of thought and planning went into this purchase -- mainly just because big purchases freak me out. I weighed the options and features of each available mac, and I decided to go with the upgraded 13" laptop. The screen is way too small to do my designing, but I am also investing in an external monitor. I can get a 20" for about $100. The way I see it, the 13" is a great size for traveling, and when I want to do the big things, having a screen that's even bigger than my old laptop screen (15") will be a treat.

Courtesy of
I'm just happy to be able to do things on my computer and not have it crash on me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Non-design life

I've noticed that even though my blog is supposed to be following "the life of a publication designer," I very rarely actually talk about my life. You know, how Savannah is, what I do outside work and how things are in general. This post should solve all those problems for now.

I'm loving Savannah. I'm going to love it even more after I move downtown, into the heart of it all. Right now, I feel like I am living in this suburbia bubble, and I want to be more mixed in with the beauty that is the Historic District. This is more than just a desire to move, too. I am actually doing it on June 30 or the weekend before (depending on if they let me move in a bit earlier). I found out after I signed the new lease that June 30 is a Thursday. While that works out for my normal days off, it means I won't get a lot of help to move all mah stuff.

The best part about where I'm moving, though, is that I will be 1/2 block from Forsyth Park. The biggest park in the Historic District, and a very pretty place to view the sunsets, I've heard. And just in case you're a visual person, here's a little snippet of Forsyth ...

I took this photo while I was here interviewing for the Savannah job!

The house I am moving into is an old funeral home, apparently. It was built in the late 1800s, and is now partitioned into eight apartments and owned by a local realty firm. I'm kind of excited to see if it's haunted!

Personal life
While I haven't met anyone of the opposite sex worth noting, I have become pretty close friends with a girl that lives in my current apartment complex. She is kind of in the same boat as me: moved here without knowing anyone, a 20-something college grad. We live completely different lifestyles (She works days, I work nights. She's a runner and works out all the time, and I'm ... not), but it's nice to have someone to just hang out with. I would have seriously considered rooming with her, but she has a dog. Maia would not be pleased with that.

Speaking of Maia, she is doing great. I have a feeling she's not going to like this new place as much because it's a basement apartment, but she'll deal. Now she can truely be a basement cat! She gets mad at me sometimes for not paying attention to her. I think she misses having other people around to bug. She follows me everywhere when I am home. Here she is with her new favorite toy.

Man, I feel like talking about my cat is like talking about my child. She is kind of my child, though.

Work life
Stuff has definitely calmed down at work. We are all getting used to this new content management system, and we are up to as full of a staff as we're going to get (one less person than when I started, but we also have one less section to design every night). I feel like I've hit a stride, and I am really glad I decided to stick it out in Savannah for the next year or so. This is not forever, though. At least that much I know about my future. Ideally, I'd like to go into working for a magazine after this. I feel like there's more job security in magazines than newspapers, but it's still a shaky business. I knew that going into it, though.

My plans
I don't have many plans for the future right now. I am just living, working and paying off my student loans and my car (and soon, my new laptop!). I do however, have a few trips planned. I know it sounds bad that I am in the process of paying off all these things and I'm also taking trips to places, but some of them I just can't pass up! (That and I can fly for practically nothing on American Airlines ...)

This weekend, I'm flying to Kansas City to visit my best friends from college. One of them lives in KC, and the other two are driving from Columbia, Mo., to hang out for a weekend. It actually works out really well because I'll get into KC at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, be able to spend practically all day there, spend all Sunday there, then leave on Monday without using any vacation days! I'll need those for later.

Here are my college BFFs and I two summers ago during our last band camp together.
We're all so tan!

In June, I will be visiting one of my friend's who will be studying in Ireland. Yes, Ireland. I'm planning to be there for about 5 days, and I am beyond excited! I haven't been out of the country in more then 2 years, and I am getting U.S. cabin fever.

I am so thankful for my mom's job perks to let me have the chance to do all this traveling. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't be able to visit anyone, and sadness would ensue. All my friends and family are so spread out now, and having this ability is the best thing I could ask for.

I guess that's all for the non-design life post. I'll try to do more of these instead of boring y'all with what I did at work last night. Peace!

Monday, May 16, 2011

20 good design rules

In (almost) the year I have been working in Savannah, I have seen a lot of people come and go. One of the first major departures was a fellow designer, who was really great at illustration. I only worked with him for a few months, but he taught me a lot in those months. Namely not to be afraid of Illustrator.

After he left and someone else was hired in his stead, I took over his desk, and I decided to keep something he had tacked on the wall. It's a handwritten note listing "20 good design rules," and I find it inspirational. So, without further ado ...
  1. Have a concept
  2. Communicate, don't decorate
  3. Speak with one visual voice
  4. Use two typeface families -- maybe three
  5. Use the one-two punch
  6. Pick colors on purpose
  7. If you can do it with less, do it
  8. Negative space is magical -- create it, don't just fill it up
  9. Treat the type as an image
  10. Type is only type when it's friendly
  11. Be universal -- it's not about you
  12. Squish and separate -- create rhythmic contrast
  13. Concentrate areas of light and dark in separate places
  14. Be decisive -- do it on purpose
  15. Measure with your eyes
  16. Create your own images
  17. Ignore fashion
  18. Move it. Static = dull
  19. Look to history, but don't copy
  20. Symmetry is the ultimate evil
At the very end of the note, in bolder letters, he advises me to "now try and break them." So that's what I suggest to everyone out there.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You can't miss: The making of a cover

You can't miss. Remember those, avid blog readers? (Or maybe just fellow Advanced Design girls who still follow my blog) Well, I got this article from one of my former classmates, too! It is all about the making of this week's New York Times Magazine cover.

Courtesy of

I like the article for a variety of reasons.

No. 1: It's cool for people not in the business to see how the process works. We don't always just make a decision in the beginning and stick with it all the way through to the end. You can see that in the article. The look and feel of the cover drastically changed from the beginning (and probably even the beginning you couldn't see) to the end.

No. 2: I like to see all of the tools at NYT's disposal. Hiring a famed walpaper artist to do something and not using his work in the end? I wish we had those resources. With many most publications, there are only a handful of designers and what they can do is what you're going to get. Especially when you throw money into the problem.

No. 3: New York Times Magazine is one of my favorite-designed magazines ever.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Business in Savannah and 'Twitter 101'

Every week, I get the privilege of designing our weekly business publication, Business in Savannah -- or BiS for short. At first, I was not excited about this opportunity. I had spent a few months being BiS's resident copy editor, and I found the content to be dry and boring. However, it has been growing on me. It is a tall tab format and mostly made of submitted columns from local businesspeople. There's a few profiles in each 24-32 page issue, and, most importantly, a double-truck cover story that is treated like a magazine article. While some of the cover story articles are questionable (local sausage makers, anyone?), the majority are actually pretty interesting.

One of these more interesting articles was "Twitter 101." It was a two-part series explaining the ins and outs of Twitter for businessowners. I was given some screen shots of the website and the chunky story, and I am really proud of what I made.

I traced the Twitter bird and added a few of my own touches to him. I also carried him over to the cover. Can you say eye-catching?

See? I get to do all sorts of cool stuff in BiS. Here are a few of my other creations ...

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Recently, it has been hard to be positive about things going on in the workplace, but I have learned that while it might suck for a while (overworked, layoffs, etc.), having a positive outlook on things can only make it better. So, instead of whining about the bad, I am going to show you some of the good. A new project!

One of our business writers has started a new series, which I got the opportunity to bring to life. Each monthly piece will be about a different part of Savannah's real estate market. The idea is to give readers an idea of where to move, the amenities you'd get there and what's close by. It is a concept that just screamed huge infographic to me, so I got to toughen my Illustrator chops a little. We are two months into the series, so I have two clips to show you.

The first:

And the second:

The first one had a lot of things to map, so it looks a little more finished, but the second one shows just what the godley area is: suburbia. I also added a little county map to show where the area was in respect to the rest of the city.

I spent a lot of time developing the concept of a huge map and laying out all othe bits and pieces. It got rave reviews in the newsroom. So, what do you guys think?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The opportunity to do something cool

I feel like I have gotten the opportunity to do some pretty cool thigns at work recently. I know know if I was in a slump the past two months or something, but these past couple weeks have been pretty productive/creative.

On Saturday, my 1A was to include two 60+ inch stories, both with file art or art of buildings. The lead story wasn't an issue. The information (about the Savannah Harbor deepening) was the most important part. It was the "100 days" Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal story with which I got be creative. I searched AP images for the perfect photo of Deal, and I decided on a profile shot with the American flag in the foreground. Yes, it is a little cheesy, but he also had the perfect facial expression. He wasn't too happy with himself, and he looks like he's determined. That was the whole meaning behind the article, too.

I left the Deal package a bit airy, as to simplify its meaning. Looking back, I could have given the text even more space away from Deal's face, too. I really like the simplicity and elegance I achieved. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Time equals ... better pages

Tonight I got some time to actually think about a design before I slap it on the page. I'm not saying that thought doesn't go into my work, though. It's just that some days, you follow the template, and some days, you get to do a bit of designing.

We focused on the snow storm (snowpocalypse, anyone?) that has hit more than 1/3 of the US. Fortunately, it hasn't affected us here in Savannah. The was kind of the lure of the story. Were we rubbing it in the Midwest's face? Maybe. But you guys can laugh at us when a hurricane comes barreling through the Pacific and covers the city with 12 feet of water. Here's the finished product:

On a somewhat related note, I want to commend the Columbia Missourian on their continuous online coverage of the snowpocalypse. They have had photos, video, graphics and user-submitted stuff they have been posting all day long. I'm excited to see their front page tomorrow, too. (If it gets out, that is. The Tulsa World announced earlier today that they wouldn't be publishing a newspaper Wednesday for the first time in their history.)

UPDATE: Newseum actually picked up my 1A again last night! Check out their Top Ten to see the best of Feb. 2!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On the redesign

For those of you that visit my blog (instead of RSSing my stuff away), you probably noticed the recent redesign. I'm trying to revamp the look of my blog, while kind of emphasizing that it is design-oriented. I'm still working out some kinks and trying to figure out what looks best. Bear with me, as I am doing this in my spare time, which is very limited nowadays

Back in the swing of things

Here's the Quartet from Amanda's wedding.
More photos are available from my Facebook page.

Life is slowly getting back to normal. It's been knocked out of whack for a while now because of staffing, life events (see above) and the holidays. We're hiring people at work. We'd be doing it faster, but corporations move a little slower than the people working for them.

For my first real-life job, it has sure been a roller coaster. I've gone through major employment shifts and multiple hiring procedures/candidates. I've seen someone be hired and fired. I've been given a ton of responsibility, and I have seen people really come to the rescue when the copy desk was struggling. We're still not at full staff, but we're getting there. I'm learning a lot from the experience.

And in the middle of all this chaos, I still get to do some pretty cool things. I designed the front page for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, and it was the first page in a while that I was really proud of. I worked with the wire editor (who knows EVERYTHING) to come up with how we were going to piece together everything from the speech. Considering we did this all basically from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., the finished product is kind of awesome. So awesome, in fact, that Newseum actually picked it up for its "Top Ten" front pages. I took a screen shot for evidence:

Mine is the bottom left thumbnail. In retrospect, I should have taken a better screen shot.

I have the PDF of the page saved on my computer at work, so I will add it to the blog when I'm there next. Even though the theme of that day's "Top Ten" was papers that used a specific quote from the speech as a headline, I feel honored that mine was picked! That means people actually looked at it, you know?

A lot of information -- pretty easy to follow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New year, new me

Hello Internet folk! It has been a while hasn't it? Well, I have been fairly bogged down with work-related businesses. Sadly, they haven't been any cool projects or things I'd like to share here. Essentially, we've been down a designer for several months, as the person that was hired never really progressed from "beginner." Now, we're going to be down two designers for a while until we hire some new people. But this is not what I wanted to talk about.

I am leaving on a plane in about an hour to head back home to Missouri, where one of my best friends is getting married. I've been excited about this for a long time, but it never really hit me until last night how big of a step this is (if only on paper — they've practically been married for years). She's going to be a wife with a husband.

Sure, they're just titles, but I think this marriage also marks the beginning of a new chapter for a lot of the people involved. I know it means something to me. We're grown-ups now. Some of us have grown-up jobs, are in grown-up relationships and are becoming useful in the world. We aren't the rowdy high schoolers at Steak 'n' Shake at 3 in the morning or the clever college kids who throw "Prom" parties just to be able to dress up again. We are actual adults contributing to society.

What is going to be fun about this wedding is that it will be a mesh of all three beloved chapters of my, and Amanda's, lives coming together. If I'm getting nostalgic, I can't even imagine what it's got to be like for her right now. It's a good thing I am getting on a plane to see/help her with preparations right now!

It's all got me thinking though, where am I headed this year and beyond? What's in store for me in this new chapter of my life? The beauty of it all is that it's all an unknown. I like it that way.