While I was in my third year in Advertising one of my classes was set aside to develop an alumni magazine. We were instructed to form into groups of five with those whom we were not good friends with but who we felt we would mesh well alongside to create the BEST magazine. If necessary we could even interview to garner a spot within a specific group.

A partially formed group approached me, as they knew I would be a strong teammate because of my knack in the Adobe Suite.

All the groups were lead by a Publisher who was the only group member allowed to directly deal with the teacher, and assigned the rest of the team tasks. Each group had two Art Directors who designed and executed the visual look for the magazine. Above the Art Directors and below the Publisher were the Coordinators and their jobs were to type up and proofread all printed material, print out all layouts for the Publisher to approve, and liaise between the Publisher and the Art Directors.

I was one of the Art Directors and was really excited about this project because magazine production and design was something I was looking forward to learning.

The front cover was mine alone to create. I had the general idea for the buildings and ink splatters for a little while and frankly was a bit trepidatious. It’s the front of the magazine, the first thing that anyone would see of this big project. No pressure.

Our theme was “ideas come from ink” and we incorporated ink splatters and grungy textures throughout the publication. I wanted the buildings to be surrounded and almost growing out the inky textures and industrial shapes.

When I showed my team what I had designed for the cover they were blown away.

Page two contains a full-page ad for the Game Development course offered at my college. The concept was old school 8 bit video games. The school’s shield logo was reinvented to represent lives earned with one shield empty, waiting to be filled after the completion of this course.

The Table of Contents is the first introduction to the internal look of the magazine. There is black text and cyan ink splatters galore. I painted the dilapidated city at the bottom using Photoshop.

The fourth page is the first instance where a drop cap was needed. I went with an outlined Art Deco style because it would give the illusion of white text to combat all the black on the page. This font also had nice clean lines that would contrast nicely against the rough look of the headline font.

The text in the side column is in white with accompanying cyan on a black background. We wanted to keep the colours minimal throughout to create a bold, strong look. This paid off because people called our magazine “The Blue Book.”

For the pullout quotes I originally wanted them to look like the labels from an embossed label maker. I decided against this as there was already quite a bit of texture elsewhere that I felt that more would be too much. Instead I went with an italic font in cyan on top of a black background, which I referred to as “darklighting.”

Page eight contains an ad at the bottom for the Advertising course. In Adobe Illustrator I vectored the entire ad, spending more time than intended on that hand and coin. I tried to make them look as realistic as possible, but hands are hard.

The tenth page is about our group and our overall experience making this publication. I especially like the photo treatment because it makes us look like the rock stars we are.

Our Time ad, aka page 11. This ad was to convince others to hire our group, which was called InSight (I designed our crosshair logo), for all their designing needs.

We were toying with the idea of safari hats and binoculars. I really wanted to do something with a magnifying glass and the other Art Director was scrolling through Google images for a reference picture when I spotted this guy and it sparked my imagination. I quickly sketched out my idea where we would all be carrying this huge hand lens with our magazine spreads behind us.

The back cover features a full-page ad for the Advertising program’s annual pub night. The theme for that year was “Tight and Bright” as an homage to 80’s fashion.

We went with CMYK colours because originally our magazine was going to feature all those colours, but feared it would be too loud. We included them on the back cover as a little inside joke between us, and because they are bright colours that work with the 80’s theme and what we learned about the printing process.

After the completion of the assignment the teacher had program alumni and students in their first or second years vote on all 12 of the completed magazines.

There were five categories that were voted on and they were: Best Cover, Best Page 2 Ad, Best Page 11 Ad, Best Page 12 Ad, and Best Overall Style.

Our teacher told use that voters really liked our designs. So much so that we won two of the five awards: Best Cover and Best Page 11 Ad.

These wins make me feel really fabulous about myself and my abilities because they were both pages that I created on my own.

When it was time for the following year’s students to tackle this project I felt elated to see most of the magazines had emulated our style. It felt like we had really done a fantastic job when we saw how much our Blue Book inspired others.