For the project these last two weeks, we were asked by LDS.org to take an article and create a three page original layout, including, a spread and cover, using InDesign. We had some specifications on what we needed to include for the article, and because a big part of design in knowing your audience, and making a draft report, I did that first. Once the message and audience were solidified, I made some sketches to get an idea of what I wanted the design to look like. Only after I did all this, I started working on my magazine spread and cover in InDesign.
This had to be the first step because it dictated who the audience was an the message I wanted to convey. After reading a few, I came across Helvécio Martins’ general conference talk from 1990, “The value of a Testimony.” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1990/10/the-value-of-a-testimony?lang=eng. To me, the message was simple but important, something that could really resonate with the youth. I narrowed down my audience to male and female LDS members, 16-20 years of age, who are still young in the gospel, and are questioning how to strengthen their testimonies. My message was to evoke energy as a way to represent the importance of having an active testimony of the gospel. With this in mind, I knew my design had to have bright that would be eye-catching and energetic, but more on that later.
THE SKETCHES AND REQUIREMENTS
With my audience and message in mind, I made 3 sketches of potential covers and spreads. I had a requirement of 3 pages, 8.375” x 10.875”, and had to include a spread. The article with 600+ words and no subheadings, as I had to add at least 3 of them to the article were they would be naturally. The layout had to have at least 2 columns, include a pull quote, two original relevant pictures, and one word wrap. Other important elements of good design I had to incorporate were consistent headings and body copy as well as contrasting typography throughout. I tried to include as many of these requirements as I could when doing my sketch. Although my design doesn’t necessarily look exactly like just one the sketches, but more of a combination, doing this really helped me think about my requirements and the type of layout that would look best.
After the sketches, I went out and took a few pictures. I thought a picture of the temple and one of someone reading the scriptures would be appropriate for this article, since both reaffirm the value of a testimony. Above are the unedited pictures.
Then I thought about what colors would not only look good together, but also would help the overall message and engage the audience. For my main title I thought a warm color would be good because warm colors help the text come forward. I chose a yellow-orange hue because of this and because we tend to think of yellow as an energetic color, inserting that energy into my design. For the subheadings and background of my cover I thought and aqua hue would be good because it’s still very bright but also conveys the calmness that the gospel brings us, but it also makes a nice contrast with the yellow-orange hue. Together, these colors are part of a secondary triad, but I chose to leave out the violet to make the design more clean and simple.
With all this in mind, the clean and simple yet energetic, design, I played around with different typography. For the body copy, I wanted to use Times New Roman in 12 pt. font (an Oldstyle font), because this is the font I typically think of the Ensign has. For the title and subheadings, I chose a sans serif font, Gill Sans MT, because it’s simple and easy to read. I used a different weight of the font for the title and subheadings as well, to create some contrast.
My draft came out like this:
Another element I wanted to add was repetition, to connect the cover and spread together, not only with the colors and typography, but also with design elements. I added yellow lines next to the title and author name, and added those line at the top of the spread and the “Continue reading on LDS.org” to bring attention to that piece of information, as well as making that bold. I also decided that my pull quote could be eye-catching if I made it “creep” into the page in the corner. All these design decisions came together for my draft.
REVISIONS AND FINAL PRODUCT
After posting my draft on Facebook to have my work critiqued, getting feedback from my teacher and friends, I changed a few elements of my design:
The feedback I received was to make the wraparound the circle as well, make the circle bigger so the text inside had a good border, make the headings closer to the corresponding paragraphs, and add contrast to the cover by making the word “testimony” bolder and adding blue to the author’s name because it got lost on the skin in the picture. I really thought this feedback was helpful and made my design easier to read, and some suggestions were things I hadn’t thought of.
I really think this project helped me understand the design process and how to work with InDesign. Although I had some problems with the program while creating it, I was able to get help or figure things out. I also realized how important the planning process was. Like in film, you don’t just go straight to shoot scenes without a plan. Your audience and message are the things you need to focus on when creating your design, as we want our product to catch the eye and be read. Keeping in mind those things when using colors, fonts, pictures, elements, will help improve design skills in the long run. Being open to criticism is important, since we may get better ideas and input from someone else. Overall, I know this design may not be perfect, but I feel more adequate with the skills i have obtained after doing this project.