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RESPONSE placement #2: completing issue two, volume one

Updated: Feb 8, 2019

The last time I spoke about this, myself and the design team were gearing up to complete the whole of issue two: volume one within the space of a week or so. The proof reading process did take a little longer than expected, meaning we received the final articles a little late, but we still managed to complete the volume on time - and I think it turned out well, too! In this post, I'll explain some of our design choices and show you some of my favourite spreads (created by myself or other design team members).


I'll start with the cover and contents page designs, as these are what the reader will notice when they first pick up our publication. The cover illustration was from the wonderful Danni Thompson (Instagram: @dannithompson9), featuring Maya Angelou - we felt that she represents the spirit and the voice of our issue due to her important work in activism and how she spoke about important subjects such as racism and sexism. We also asked Danni if she could somehow incorporate the colours of the main themes in our issue: Gender as orange, Race as blue and Community as pink, in order to make the communication of the whole publication as clear as possible and to link with the identity and style of the interior that was developed by our design team. Danni chose to do this through coloured smoke, which I feel works really well as it links to one of the main pieces representing the Still I Rise exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary. The title of our publication, This is our RESPONSE, is also a focal point of the cover as we wanted to emphasise that the publication is ours and is in response to the contemporary. We overlapped the illustration and the title in order to create a sense of interaction between the elements, rather than them being completely separate, which reflects the feel of overlapping and interaction between some of the articles in the publication. Danni worked with the other members of the illustration team to develop a pattern made up of collaged photography of the contemporary - this works well as it links our publication back to the contemporary and demonstrates how in touch our publication is with the gallery and their work.

The contents page continues the theme of representing all of our themes at once through our colour and font choices. We incorporated the natural squiggle forms here to reflect the style of the article pages, but used a similar amount in each theme's colour so that the contents page wouldn't feel disjointed or feel like part of a section; instead, our visual communication (hopefully) suggests that the contents are a standalone spread. We also tried to emphasise this by using black for the titles (so as to avoid representing any of the specific themes) but using the theme colours for the section titles in the contents, to introduce the visual language that each section is represented by a different colour palette. Next, I'd like to show some of my favourite spreads from the section that I was responsible for, which was Gender. This was the largest section in the publication and had the most illustration / photography, so the team thought it would be best for me to handle this with me being the only Graphic Design student in the team.

I really love how these spreads turned out simply because of the photography that I was given to work with. I decided to use a horizontal title rather than the vertical titles used on our test spreads in order to create more focus on the photography; I wanted to ensure that there was a clear hierarchy, and that the photograph would catch the attention of a reader, enticing them to read the article attached to it. I feel that the black and white photography works really well as it contrasts the bright orange of the title page while fitting with the black text on the white page; it makes the whole publication much more cohesive as the colour schemes are never broken with photography made up of different colours. I also really like how the pull quote I chose summarises the article and the theme of the workshop it is written about. I definitely feel that these spreads are some of the most captivating and visually stimulating due to Maia's (Instagram: @maiabaker) style of photography - I especially love how the full bleed page of photography looks as it really stands out from some of the other pages. Next are two other spreads from the Gender section: the first being a poem that begins the section and the other being an article on the Reclaim the Night march which recently took place in Nottingham.

I particularly love the first layout as I feel that the layout of the typography works really well due to the format of the text being a poem - I decided to increase the leading to give each line of the poem space to stand out, while also breaking the two column layout used on most of the other pages to prevent lines of the poem from being split up. I also feel that Danni's illustration complements the poem well and the placement of the illustration really worked out too, particularly where the poem talks about being a woman and the spot illustration of a woman fit in right next to it. The interaction between the text and illustration works well too, particularly in the title, as the bird illustration points towards the poem while representing a physical method of 'rising' as the poem's title mentions. The second spread above was also one of my favourites due to the implementation of photography - I think if there was something we could change about the publication it would be to incorporate more photography to really catch the reader's attention and show the actual events the writers are talking about. Although this spread is rather text heavy, I felt that the pull quote I picked out works well in giving the skim reader an idea as to the purpose of the march, hopefully making them interested enough to read more about it.

These next two spreads (above) were a collaboration between myself and Hannah - we decided that a slightly different approach would be beneficial in order to differentiate the first Reclaim the Night article from the second one, as one focusses on the printing workshop at the contemporary while the other focusses on the actual march. Hence, we used a different layout, with a central column rather than a two column grid, and a variation on the coloured backgrounds and colours of the text. The author of the article, Ashley, requested that we had a page focussing on the chant that was commonly used at the march: "Whatever I wear, wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no!" to really represent the themes and feelings of the attendees of the march. We decided to do this using a similar treatment to the front cover title, creating shadows below the text in a pseudo 3D fashion. I feel that the outcome is really effective and eye-catching due to the contrast of the type and the coloured background. I actually really like how the second spread of the article turned out too though; I felt it would be a great opportunity for another full bleed page of photography, so I laid out the photographs to try and reflect the atmosphere of the march and the people involved, while also choosing the wide angled shot to show the scope of it. Next are a couple of spreads from the Race section:

The River Race spread (above) was my design, and similarly to the poem for Gender, this was a poem to begin the Race section. I wanted to incorporate the illustration from Dora (Instagram: @theodoraprassa_textiledesigner) in a way that was playful but also integrated with the text to avoid a disjointed feel. I particularly really like how the illustration of hands sits inside the counter of the C in Race. I really love the colour scheme for the Race section the most, I think (although this may be because I spent a lot of time on the Gender pages and so felt a little bored by their colours by the end!).  Regardless, I love this spread a lot; Taylor's poem is amazing, so I hope I did it justice with this spread. The second spread above was Harry's (Instagram: @harryfreestoneart) design, featuring some of the photography mentioned in an article about the First Waves exhibition at the Contemporary, with the same squiggles throughout to maintain consistency in the publication. I really like the playfulness of Harry's pages as they have a very creative and free feel to them- this is something I think I could build on, as some of my spreads feel a little stiff because of the grid and margins I was using.

I'm really proud of what we have produced so far- now it's time to meet the new Design team, as I decided to continue my work with the placement and the Contemporary,  and produce the next volume of RESPONSE.

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