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.


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