Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some clips of late...

I've been busy, you guys. Not only have I been working 40 hours a week at the studio, but I've also picked up another 15-hour-a-week job at a coffeeshop. It's a lot of work, but I've been handling it ... for now.

Anyway, I've also been churning out some pretty decent pages. And even a baby shower invitation (which will be in another post). This first one is for the Alexandria, La., paper. The story is about how the smaller schools in Louisiana are using sports to recruit more students (athletes and non-athletes) to their schools. So I got illustrative. Do ya get it? Huh? TOOLS? SPORTS?

The Sunday Town Talk: Sept. 29, 2013

The second one was kind of a big deal in Shreveport -- another Louisiana paper the studio handles. The water supplies near the city tested positive for a deadly brain-eating amoeba. Crazy, right? People died from this a few years back. So I made another graphic illustration. It was on the Newseum's Top Ten the next day and everything.

Shreveport Times: Oct. 10, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Journalism is totally in ... or something

There are so many new television shows coming out -- and already on --  about people in journalism (The Newsroom, The Millers, The Michael J. Fox Show, etc.). I wonder if any of them will cover the real-life issues of a dwindling and condensing workspace or if journalism is just one of those unique, in-the-open fields that are easily accessible as long as we're not talking about real life. I can't really vouch for The Newsroom, as I haven't seen it. But in my short Google plot search, I didn't unearth any layoff episode arcs.

Yes, I realize layoffs can happen in any field, but this is a very apparent reality in journalism right now. Is no one in Hollywood aware that journalists are not these golden news-reporters with stable jobs and decent wages?

Yes, I also realize that these shows aren't necessarily about the characters' jobs. Example: The Michael J. Fox Show is supposed to be about how the main character gets along with life while living with Parkinson's Disease.

I am admitting that this is not a very well-researched blog post. Maybe I will have time later to actually delve into this subject and come back with something more concrete. I'm just reading Entertainment Weekly's Fall TV Preview issue, and this really bothered me.

End soapbox. For now...

Some interesting links:
List of fictional journalists
Television shows about journalism


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Who's hungry?

I'm going to try and post one thing I've designed every week. Knowing me, it will probably last 3 weeks and then disappear. But I can dream, can't I?

Anyway, the clip I'd like to share is actually from last week. It's for the Shreveport Times. The centerpiece was about how all these chain restaurants keep popping up on a certain street in Shreveport. So instead of using the building shots provided by the paper, I got a little creative. With inspiration from Google Maps and vector logo help from, I created a more striking CP.

I learned things along the way, too! Like how to create feathered perspective shadows in Illustrator. It is done by adding a fill to an object (for example, the reddish pointer has a reddish fill, and the gray shadow fill, but it's the same shape), then skewing the gray fill to create a 3D effect. Pretty cool, eh?

Shreveport Times: August 25, 2013

Too bad the obnoxious ad at the bottom of the page takes all the spotlight.... 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesdays are the best days

I love coming into work on Tuesdays. It's a weird thing. You'd think nothing was special about a Tuesday, but for me, it's when I know I get to flex my creative muscles and do cool things. Enter the Baxter Bulletin's Food & Dining section. The very-talented Linda Masters writes a local food column every week, and the also-very-talented Kevin Pieper shoots his beautiful artwork. Then I get to create beautiful things. Here are a few of my favorites.

Baxter Bulletin: August 28, 2013

Baxter Bulletin: July 17, 2013

Baxter Bulletin: May 29, 2013

Baxter Bulletin: May 22, 2013

Baxter Bulletin: May 15, 2013

Baxter Bulletin: May 1, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Strange Wedding

So sometimes life just gets so busy that you look back and realize you haven't blogged for 7 months. Sorry about that, folks. But I have a good one for you now.

Since about May, I have been working on my best friend's wedding stationery. It was my gift to her and the groom for their wedding. I also happened to be her maid of honor, and my first act with the title was to invite Sarah (the bride) to Pinterest. This was a few years ago, when you had to be invited to the sacred temple of heavily stylized artsy pins. There are pros and cons to the site, which I could go into long detail about, but for the purposes of this blog, I will just say that it served as inspiration for Sarah's wedding suite. She was able to pin flowers, dresses, jewelry and -- most importantly -- preferred design styles for her stationery. Plus, we were able to pin things to the same boards and compare and contrast different styles.

A screen grab from our stationery board. (Don't mind the typo.)

It took a while for me to get the hang of the style and tone Sarah wanted to convey. I might not have been the best designer for the job, actually, because I am used to big and bold design. She wanted a more delicate and elegant feel to her invitations. So, after months of phone calls, emails (some passive aggressive, some generally heart-felt), we came up with a suite. 

The save the date postcards were the first and hardest item, I think. Probably because we were still trying to figure out each other. What we came up with was a very unique, somewhat vintage design that got rave reviews. I wasn't married to the "Save the Date" font, especially because it didn't really return in any of the other stationery, but Sarah and her husband brought it back for things at the reception, so that made me feel a bit better. It went through many revisions, but there is so much that's unique about it. I love the aged filter I gave the photos. And my favorite part (the post card label thing on the back) was actually hand-drawn by Sarah. She fell in love with something similar and decided to replicate it. 

Strange save the dates, front and back.

The next pieces came together a little more smoothly after we could both agree on fonts. Instead of going with a pocket-fold invite or something else with a ton of pieces, Sarah decided to do an oversized postcard and a business card insert, both in a shiny lilac envelope. It made it easier that she had her guests RSVP online instead of sending in an additional postcard. I love the way these turned out. What do you think?

Strange invitation and insert, front and back.

One of my favorite designs for the suite was actually something I hadn't seen before. It might have been that I haven't been in that many wedding parties, but I digress. It was a rehearsal dinner invitation. They decided to Molly's in Soulard, a creole restaurant nearby the venue. (Which is amazing, by the way.) Sarah and Jeffrey tried it out, and they loved the string lights they had on their patio. So, with a little help from our wedding board, a design was born. If I could do it over again, I would have simplified the type choices on the back, but hindsight is always something... right?

Strange rehearsal, front and back.

The next two things were both present on the wedding day -- the programs and menus. They came together the easiest because we had a groove down by then! The menus were also kind of postcard-like, and the programs were printed on pearlescent white and cream paper. It was super classy. I'll only show the cover here. Can you spot the typo? It kind of became a running joke for a few days ...

Strange menu and program, front and back.

All in all, I'd say the fact that 1) Sarah and I are still amazing friends and 2) we came up with some things that are pretty awesome is a great accomplishment. I was so glad to be able to contribute so much to her special day. For an actual opened gift, I framed a collage with some the pieces of the suite for them to hang on their wall. Maybe I can get her to send me a photo of everything all framed and pretty!

Sarah's framed gift set

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A little help from my friends ...

One of the beautiful things about working in a design studio is the ability to share content, whether it's text, photos, ideas, etc. Today, like many other hard news days we've gone through at the studio, a big story broke about President Barack Obama's new gun plan, and we decided to share some of that content. It doesn't matter if you agree with it or not -- the gun plan is still big news. And I happened to be on the only Heartland Team paper that decided to go super big with it: The Baxter Bulletin from Mountain Home, Ark.

Jan. 17, 2013, Baxter Bulletin 1A

The gun illustration was designed by Mark Marturello, the in-house illustrator for the Des Moines Register. He created a vertical and a horizontal version for the newspapers in the studio to use as they will. I ended up extending the black box at the bottom to incorporate a local story from Baxter about local officer funding, and I stuck a bits-and-pieces glance of the bills in the blank space created by the gun. I'm sure there will be at least five papers tomorrow that look similar, but I'm still proud of what I did. And the people in Mountain Home will think it's unique to them!

I will post other versions of the graphic used on 1As after I track them down (and who designed them, of course.)