Spreading It Out!

Designing a three page, original magazine layout was no easy feat for me. Between getting a handle on the design, arranging a photo shoot to match the theme and bringing it all together through drafts, critiques and lots of edits, I was more than a little stressed. My watchword for the week was: planning. As I planned the most minute details, I found that everything came together beautifully.

The Design Process

First I had to find a suitable article from lds.org or byuiscroll.org as the message of my magazine spread. This took some time. Many possible items came to my attention but I had to take article length and subject into mind.  Also, since I had to be the photographer for the piece, I had to work with a topic that I could I could feasibly translate into imagery. Once I read the chosen article, “Choices and Challenges” by Janet G. Lee, I immediately started to experience design inspiration.

(Click here for the article: Choices and Challenges)

The Design Plan

The message of my design is that of multiple pathways. The idea to be conveyed is that there is more than one road to success and not becoming stuck because of unexpected change. Further, I wished to communicate that having to seek a different path can end up in gorgeous outcomes.

Now that I had the article, I needed to concretize how to make it speak to my target audience.  I wanted to appeal to youth and young adults who are members of or strongly affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their ideals. The target age group is sixteen to early thirties, people still in the strong decision-making portion of life who are exposed to the principle of seeking revelation from God for guidance in life choices.

With that in mind I sketched out a few ideas and finally decided on one that had not initially appealed to me.

This was the only sketch I had done with the single page as the title page but in the end, it worked best to convey the overall design message.

Next I chose colors and typography. My color choices were heavily influenced by the article itself. The article speaks of a child who found herself unable to write because of the absence of her favorite pink crayon. With that in mind I chose pink and green as my color palette.

Color Palette - Complementary pink and green

Pink and Green complementary color palette

Complementary colors were the obvious choice since I wanted to highlight the possibilities of choices that are contrary to our initial desires. I also feel that this bright yet sophisticated color choice would appeal to a younger audience.

For typography I chose Lucida Calligraphy which is  a script typeface. I used it for part of my title and all my pull-out quotes. For contrast in the title and for all the body copy, I chose Candara which a sans-serif font.

Pictures Please

Up next came my very own photo shoot. The design was very simple. I needed pictures with crayons and sketches of varied colors. I also needed at least one monochromatic photo.  With my limited artistic ability, I drew the sketches I wanted and then took a series of photos. Below are the final choices.

Pink Crayon with Scribbles

Title Picture

Single Pink Crayon

End Picture

Crayons with Sketches

2nd Page Bottom Left Corner

Final Sketches with Crayons

3rd Page Top Right Corner

(All photos taken by Lacey-Ann Dennis)

Draft and Critique

With all the elements gathered, I leaped into InDesign to create my first draft which I then posted on Facebook and awaited the critique of my peers.

I was pleased with how my first attempt turned out yet it was unsurprising that it needed much improvement.

I am grateful to all those who critiqued my draft because I feel they helped me create a better design.


Danilo D’Auria advised me to put more space between my text and the title photo as well as between the byline and the text. Heather Austin suggested that I put more space around the text in my pull-out quote. Jason Egan advised me to align my triangles with the corners as well as making sure my text wrap was not too tight. He also suggested that I make my headings bolder. After making those suggested adjustments, I decided to make the color around the pull-out quote consistent. I also made the border around the pull-outs thicker and changed the border color, matching both the thickness and color with that of the insert picture borders.

In reviewing the critiques made to other designs, I noticed Alisha Oliver pointed out that Vanessa Goates’ design had too much blank space at the end of the article. That inspired me to add the crayon picture insert at the end to better balance the page.

Final Draft

After a few tweaks, managing widows here and orphans there, I arrived at my final draft.


Voila! OK, so my final draft was not magic. It was a lot of thought, planning, and effort. Following good, basic design principles helped me to conceptualize and execute a design plan that I am happy with. In addition to that, good design requires more than one set of eyes. In having others critique my work, I was able to see the design more objectively and to then notice things that hadn’t even been pointed out to me. Such is the process of good design.


Telling Typography

I’m learning that the basis of graphic design is great typography. I think that memes tell that truth with startling clarity since it is usually great typography that brings the message of the meme to life.

I found this meme on Pinterest. It is based on a quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The original meme is found at: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/67483694391007088/

Typeface 1
Typeface 1 - Script

One typeface used is a script. Easily identified because of its similarity to handwriting, this typeface introduces and creates a personal feeling for the text so represented. The script text is interspersed throughout, highlighting those elements of the meme that seem to be personal thoughts. The form of the script used also adds to its visual appeal in that it is all in lower case. The designer also chose to use color and size to contrast those elements that needed greater emphasis while still using the script type.

Typeface 2
Typeface 2 - Sans Serif

The second typeface used is a beautiful sans serif. The type is identifiable by its lack of serifs. Using all caps in this typeface creates a powerful contrast to the lowercase script, allowing the words so highlighted to grab the eye and become the focus of the meme. The sans serif typeface also gives a more serious look to the words thus highlighted in contrast to those in script, emphasizing their importance to the message being conveyed.

Typeface 3
Typeface 3 - Modern

The final typeface used is a modern type. The modern type is distinguished by the presence of serifs on the text that has a vertical stress. This third typeface is used for a single phrase in the meme. The typeface provides a contrast for this phrase against all other text in the meme. The modern type gives a heavier and more imposing feel than the script or even the sans serif typefaces. This allows the phrase “Thanking God” to stand out and become the central message of the meme. It is also kept in all capital letters which adds to the impact of the phrase.


This meme make strong use of color, form, and structure to create contrast and visual appeal. The use of different typefaces (again in differing colors and forms) contributes to the message being presented and grabs the interest of the viewer. The typefaces used also help in presenting the message in a clear way, giving emphasis where needed and creating the right supporting background where emphasis is not required.

Intentional Design!

The idea behind any advertisement is selling something. If you are going to sell, the first requirement is to catch the eye of a buyer. This post analyses just how design principles make that happen.

McDonalds Ad for free wi-fi

This McDonald’s advertisement created by DDB Worldwide Communications group is a wonderful example of great design. The ad itself calls on very well known symbols, the wifi symbol and the McDonalds golden arches. The design is eyecatching yet simple, clean and memorable.



The most obvious use of contrast in this ad is contrast in color. The color of the fries against the red back drop as well as the color of the lettering against the same backdrop.
There is also contrast in size of the wi-fi symbol with the logo and text. This is ad simply about the WiFi, nothing else. The contrast in size makes that very clear.


Repetition is evident in the use of color. The color of the fries reflected in the golden arches. The color is again repeated in the text “love” which gives it particular emphasis and calls to mind the McDonald’s catchphrase, “I’m lovin’ it”. The use of fries to make up the WiFi symbol is a genius use of repetition since it ties the idea of WiFi to McDonald’s in a unique way.


The alignment used in this print ad is mostly centered. The fries are obviously centered in the page but the golden arches with text beneath is also centered. This gives the overall design a cohesive feel.


This ad has very limited text. The visuals are the main attraction. The golden arches and the text beneath, are in close proximity to each other, establishing a definite relationship between the two. However the separation of them from the fries makes the statement of the advertisement loud and clear. The focus is the WiFi symbol, that is where the eye is drawn. When the eye then moves to the written text, it is able to quickly take in that information and the eye is immediately drawn again to the WiFi fries symbol.


The color pallet for the ad also happens to be McDonald’s signature color pallet, red and gold. The bold use of red is very eye-catching. A clever use of the natural color of french fries to provide the contrasting color of gold.


Overall this is an eye-catching, well designed advertisement. It’s simplicity makes it memorable and is enhanced by proper use design principles and color.

Captive Photography

Photography is fascinating! Everyone knows when a photograph captivates them. It is not usually that simple a matter to pin-point what makes it great. This blog is devoted to figuring out just what makes a picture stand out.

Leading Lines

This picture is found in the public domain and can be located at:

This breathtaking view of a group of trees uses leading lines to draw the eyes to the sky above the tree line. Although the trees take up the bulk of the space of the photograph, the true subject becomes the sky above as the eyes are drawn along the trunks of the trees up towards the clouds.
The photo also manages to capture depth as the ever-thinning trunks of the tree affords a contrast between the foreground and the gradually distant tops of the trees.

This photograph has several leading lines pointing to and drawing the eye toward the scenery beyond the brick window. Everything around it becomes something of a frame and the eye is repeatedly directed to the focus of the photo.

Depth of Field

This photograph was taken by Katinka Zuchowicz of White River in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It can be found at the following link:


The photograph is of a river in the midst of a community. It is an attempt to capture the many layers of a simple community.
There are many layers to this picture. In the foreground is the beautiful and stark branches of a tree in the river. Immediately behind it in the middle ground is a boat which can be seen in through the branches of the tree. The boat is also seen to be smaller than the looming tree branches. Still behind the boat in the background is what appears to be a shack of some sort. Above all this activity is the bridge with a passing vehicle. Even with all these different elements, the branches in the tranquil river in the foreground captures the attention and maintains the tranquil nature of the scene.

This image of a lizard in the sun shows the depth of the pile of wood the lizard is perched on through the overlapping pieces of wood. The depth is created through the overlap.

Rule of Thirds


This image is of a New York City officer on duty in the midst of a protest. The officer at the focus of the picture is perfectly positioned along the line of the left third of the picture. By thus aligning her so strongly, there is no disputing that she is the focus of the scene.
It also illustrates depth of field by focusing on the officer. In the background, there is the distorted image of other officers corralling protesters but by focusing on the officer there is provided an image of strength and power.

The photo of the man in blue brings him into strong focus by positioning him along the right vertical line of thirds. Even his arm is right along the horizontal third line and thus allows him to be the dominant element in the picture.


Photography is fascinating! There are so many other elements in each picture that could be analysed with regards to the impact that they give to the photograph. The skilled photographer is aware of all these composition elements. More than anything else, the skilled photographer has an eye for what works!

Moving Typography Analyzed

I’ve chosen for my reverse engineer typography assignment a meme from the Mormon Channel.

It is the clever use of typography that causes the message of the meme to jump off the page at you.
The original design can be found at:
It is based on a quotation from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I chose this design because the typography immediately grabs the eye and is a wonderful study in contrast of text, color, form, and structure.


Draw-Over of Design Image

The first typeface used is sans serif. It is easily identified by the absence of serifs and the absence of thick/thin transitions.
The second typeface is a script, easily identified by the similarity to handwritten cursive.
Script is a typeface that contrasts with almost all other typefaces. The curves and fanciful nature of the script contrasts well with the narrow Roman structure of the sans serif.
The contrast between the two typefaces is further highlighted by the changes made to the letters “L” and “R” to have a script-like effect.

As I have already indicated, I think the text is the crux of this design. The statement being made gives emphasis to the two elements that require movement. Those are highlighted by use of the bold red which immediately brings focus. The use of the script typeface ties the ideas of moving the world and moving self together. This is further emphasized by bringing elements of the script into the words that the statement alludes to having movement (repetition).
In all it is a really clever design that makes heavy use of contrast in typography.

13A Final Portfolio


Creating a slide show of all the projects I have slaved over this past semester has been a bitter-sweet experience. As I went over the projects, I realized how much I have learned and that I even enjoyed much of the learning process.
The message of this portfolio is really a showcasing of the skills and talents I have acquired in Visual Communication. My audience is potential employers or anyone that would would need to become familiar with my abilities.
Coming up with the basic slide design was just a matter of deciding on a color scheme and a layout. I designed the introductory and closing slides, then matched the showcasing slides to them.
Almost every project required extensive tweaking. For my Benefit Flier project, I created more contrast for some of the text boxes. For the Slide Design project I spent my efforts on reworking the coloring and text of the slides used. Most of my time and effort went to the Photography Study project where I reworked my grid and color scheme. For the Web Design and Social Media Projects my efforts were expended in completing those projects as they had not been completed previously. In total, I spent between four to six hours making changes and updates to the varied projects before adding them to my slide show.

I posted my portfolio to the class Facebook Page for critique.
Shelley Tiffany comments were:“Your spacing is not consistent on slide #4. The lower left laps over the top left image, but it’s the only one. Consider changing the spacing around the images.” In response to her critique I adjusted the image layout on slide #4.
Cheryl Meinen reminded me to include all eight projects in my portfolio. The draft she critiqued had only five. I added the remaining three.
Addyson Hujtyn said: “The only thing is that on your first page the line seems to cut the slide in half. I don’t know if there’s a way to use it differently, since it is incorporated in all of the slides.” I decided to keep the line she spoke of because I thought it worked to keep the whole project cohesive.

12B Magazine Spread Project

The magazine spread project is to write and design a two-page magazine spread for the Ensign or New Era (magazines of the LDS Church). I chose to write for the Ensign and decided to write of an experience I had that taught me about how the Lord answers our prayers and guides our lives through His omniscience. My audience is youth and young adults who are entering the major decision-making portion of their lives.

Once the story was written, I made a couple of sketches that I felt best complemented the message that I was trying to convey. I then selected pictures that suited the layout of my favorite sketch and then I made a frame map that would prepare me to create the magazine spread in InDesign.

7A Sketch layout

Woman in prayer


Once the wire-frame was done, I was able to create my magazine spread!

Critique Report
I received critiques from my instructor Kristen Larson as well as from several of my classmates, Nancy Wells, Lisa Hauck Wilkinson, Steph Dee, and Jessica Noelle Brewer. Sister Larson advised me to drop my drop shadow and to watch for hyphens, widows and orphans. Both she and Nancy Wells suggested that I make sure my images were not touching the text and that I add a byline. Lisa Hauck Wilkinson advised that I move the center picture to prevent it being chopped off. Jessica Noelle Brewer advised that I fix my margins between columns so that they were at least an inch in the center. I changed the drop shadow to an innershadow because I thought the text still needed some enhancement. I added the byline and reworked the layout to adjust the margins and the appearance of widows and orphans. I did not move the picture because I liked it best in that position.

This was the final result!

Color Scheme
Split Complementatry (Teal, Red, Orange)

Title: Lucida Handwriting/Script
Title: Arial/Sans Serif
Body: Times New Roman/Oldstyle

Praying woman



Magazine Spread Draft Critique

My magazine spread design began with my sketches and shape map. I chose my favorite sketch which was also the favourite of one of my critiquers and made the shape map from it with very little deviation.

This is what it looks like thus far!:



7A Sketch layout



Font/Category: Arial

Image Sources:
Praying woman



10 Movie Poster – EMERGENCE


This assignment was to introduce myself to new coworkers by creating a movie poster starring me. The idea was to have me emerging from water by blending two photos in photoshop. The basic colour scheme was monochromatic. The idea of emergence was to play on the fact that I am always trying to “find” ne aspects of myself. The idea is that it will take a while to know me.

I had two critiques from Dee Wightman and Shelley Tiffany. Both reminded me of the need to include the movie details. Shelley suggested that I change the font color of some of my text. I took all their advice and ended up at the Fedex office three times befoe I had a satisfactory poster.

Fonts – SF Movie Font Regular

The image of the Rio Grande was taken by me and my brother-in-law took the image of me.

7A Magazine Spread Content

The magazine spread project is to write and design a two-page magazine spread for the Ensign or New Era (magazines of the LDS Church). I chose to write for the Ensign and decided to write of an experience I had that taught me about how the Lord answers our prayers and guides our lives through His omniscience.

Story: Lost Then Found

It was in Mandeville, Jamaica, almost sixty miles of winding, climbing difficult road from home for our annual Church Educational System in-service island wide training.  Split in different workshops, someone had left the door to my training room open and I could hear the whispers as searchers passed up and down the halls. “Have you seen Sandra’s keys?”  “Where did she last have them?” “Could they be locked in the car?”

Two thoughts, distinct and deliberate, came into my mind.  You need to pray to find her keys.  You need to pray in a private place. Since I was in the middle of delivering a presentation I put the thought to the back of my mind and continued with the business of the day.  An hour passed, maybe even two.  We broke for lunch and by this time the queries were louder and I could see that Sandra was becoming visibly upset. Gone was her usual poise and grace.  Even her wardrobe seemed to be suffering from the frenzy of the day.  Her heels were gone and she padded about bare-footed, looking here and there. I attempted to talk to her about the lost keys.  I even tried to suggest praying but she gazed past me, questioning everyone that went by to know if they had seen the elusive keys.  I doubt she heard, much less heeded my advice.  Again the impression: you need to pray to find her keys.  You need to pray in a private place.

So I focused my efforts on finding a place to pray.  The Mandeville meetinghouse was a perfect replica of my home branch.  I felt comfortable peering into different classrooms, trying to find a private room.  It seemed everywhere I thought of was occupied or unavailable somehow.  Still, the feeling of urgency weighed heavily on my mind and heart.  I needed to find somewhere that would afford privacy.  I didn’t understand why I had to pray or why I could not simply mentally make a request of the Lord.  Every time I attempted to do that my thoughts would flee and the words would not come. Finally, I retreated to a place that I often resort to for solitude, the restroom.  I was glad to find it empty and I walked to the final stall, entered and closed the door.  I felt I needed to kneel and proceeded to do so.  Before my knees hit the ground, my mind went back to a matching place.

Perhaps a year or two before in my home branch, my keys were missing.  It was a Saturday with few people about.  We had been cleaning and now, weary and late for my next appointment I needed my keys.  I recalled cleaning the bathroom and so I retreated there, searching and hoping that I would find them.  They were nowhere in sight.  Distressed, I went to that identical last stall.  I closed the cubicle door, collapsed to my knees, and entreated the Lord to show me my keys.  I was desperate.  Into my mind came a picture of me entering the stall earlier and having nowhere to place my keys putting them on top of the stall partition.  There they were!

And so, at this later date, before the words had even come, I knew the location of the lost keys and needed only to whisper thanks before jumping up to retrieve Sandra’s lost keys.

Of all the people in that chapel that day I was the one the Lord spoke to because I had the memory that could solve the mystery.  Being God, He knows things like this. He is able to maneuver people and places and times and things to perfectly orchestrate the sorting out of our needs and the answering of our prayers. I needed to remember this later as I prayed and hunted for a job that would suit my talents and my needs. It was important that I realize then that God knew my talents and skills and would know where best they would fit and be beneficial to my employer.  I needed to know this when I grew frustrated in seeking an eternal companion.  I needed to trust that God was already aware of the person that would best complete me in the eternities and could and would get us together eventually.  I needed to trust in this through many and varied circumstances where the answers seemed long in coming. I needed to learn that revelation comes to each of us as our omniscient Father chooses to share it. He uses people and places and things that have been prepared in ways far beyond our capacity to comprehend. Because He is God, He can do that.



7A Sketch layout



Woman in prayer Restroom Keys

Image Sources: