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.