Jessica Decker – Designer

Jessica Decker is a graphic designer from Detroit, Michigan. A lot of her work deals with editorial pieces although she has some really interesting cross stitching work on giant posters. Loving the way typography is treated throughout all of her work. It all has a very elegant, intentional feel about it. Especially loving all of the experimental work with typography.

This “studies in white” was actually the piece that initially drew me to Jessica’s work. I love typography that is hand-done using materials you wouldn’t necessarily think of. This is a gorgeous example of it! Itching to try out some experimental typography of my own.


Definitely check out the rest of her work here.

Positive Negative Magazine

Yesterday was the official “launch party” of the Positive Negative magazine that we’ve been working on for so long.

To say it took a little more time and effort than a regular class would be an understatement. This class was awesome because everyone was really invested in it. Normally people come into class, work on their own projects, critique semi half-heartedly and then leave. This class from day one was a group effort.

We elected a “staff team” early on with Art Directors, Copy Editors, Photo Editors, Design Directors & more. Including the iPad team which I worked on! This meant that in addition to the articles that we were writing and designing for the class, the staff was responsible for the printed magazine (cover, table of contents design, folio, all of the copy editing and the list goes on…). The class also raised funds for the magazine through Kickstarter, in addition to funds from RIT’s president & different departments.

I loved seeing how everyone really backed each other up & gave honest critique and advice. We started a Facebook page early on and everyone was able to put up images of their work and get critique almost instantly from somewhere. This meant that we weren’t just showing up to class with something new to show but the whole process along the way was able to receive help & advice. I definitely think it helped the pieces overall because people were able to jump in with new ideas right away rather than waiting for the next class which meant the growth from beginning to end was greater.

The iPad team was a new edition to the magazine. This Positive Negative magazine has been done by editorial design classes for the past 4 years (this is the 5th edition). Each is different in it’s own way. Everything recently has moved into a digital space and so we thought it was only fitting that the magazine transition as well. It was definitely a trial run and a huge learning experience. At the beginning of the quarter we really had no idea what direction we were going to take.

The idea of a magazine on an iPad is still relatively new and therefore there is no set software or set of instructions that anyone can go off of. We ultimately decided to build it like a website that was responsive using HTML/CSS and Javascript which allowed us to use coding languages we were already familiar with (hooray for  huge time savers). Since we were diving into the unknown it was nice to at least understand the language we were coding in and not have to learn that on top of figuring out interactivity. In choosing this route we did give up the ability to use xcode or put it on the app store (something that would be nice for the future). Of course, that would be the ideal situation but seeing as we had no idea what we were doing 10 weeks ago and none of us had an experience with iPad magazines, I’d say it was pretty successful.

If you go to you’ll be able to see the 12 articles that we’ve put on the iPad version of the magazine. Please keep in mind that we’re still working on some minor thing for it so if there is a bug, chances are we already know about it! We’re also working on getting some behind the scenes footage up on it so that will be available in the next week or so – will post again when that’s working.

Ketchup Typography (continued)

Worked more on our spread for Editorial today  – so much better than my [first attempt]. Definitely had a fun time trying to think out of the box for the headline text. Since our spread is about McDonald’s chicken nuggets, it lent itself perfectly to writing in ketchup! Straight up ketchup from a bottle, however, is a wee bit liquid-y and not conducive to writing at all. Cornstarch swirled in (mixed using your finger in the school bathrooms – while hoping no one walks in) works wonderfully!

Pretty happy with how the text turned out. I ended up piping it through an icing bag from back when I took cake decorating classes. The second image is my test run – hence the large mess!

Stay tuned early next week for the final editorial spread!


Ketchup Fridays

For Editorial Design, we’ve been working with photographers all quarter to produce 2 to 4 page spreads on topics of our choice. They will ultimately be going into a magazine that is all student produced called Positive Negative. It’s definitely an enjoyable class – I’m liking how it’s going outside of the traditional “professor lectures, students listen” mold that a lot of classes fall into. We’re learning a lot by simply experimenting on our own.

For each article we come up with a topic or two to propose, write a 500 or 1000 word article on it, get them read over by the writing center at RIT (the only part of the process I dislike), and then come up with a photoshoot. The first project took place in about 2 weeks while the second had almost 4 (we had to do a 4 page spread though) and this last one is due is slightly over a week. Yikes!

Things get somewhat hectic at times especially if you struggle to come up with a topic or the photographs aren’t coming out just right.

photo by Joe Philipson

On top of working on the articles, there is also a subsection of students on the magazine staff team that are all working to produce the magazine. Everything from the typeface used throughout, the cover, the folio and photo editing is all taken care of by the staff. Definitely a huge amount of work going into it but it’s awesome to see how much people really commit to something when it’s fun!

For this next article my partner & I are going to be working on a spread about how disgusting chicken nuggets are (okay, more like how ridiculous the number of ingredients in them is). Should be a fun spread to work on – it’s due in a little over a week so we’re kind of jumping right in. I experimented with some ketchup typography last night, didn’t turn out quite like I wanted but a good first run.

Will update with the final image later!

Here is a video from our Kickstarter page that explains more about the project:

Luke Shuman Design – Interactive vs Print

I ran into Luke Shuman’s design work a while back while looking at the SPD Editorial competition (seen in the 4th image below). Totally impressed by all of his work – editorial, infographics and iPad layouts. A lot of the work shown on his website is for Wired or other big name magazines. Loving the interactivity of the magazine spread above.

iPad design is still up and coming. It’s able to be used by a wide majority of people, yet it’s still so new that not everyone seems to know what to do with it. There are a few options when it comes to designing something that’s interactive: traditional HTML/CSS website viewed on a tablet, Quark Express & the new Apple Textbooks (have yet to explore that one). In my editorial class this quarter there are 4 of us exploring all of these different options and actually turning our print magazine into an interactive one (hopefully!). [More on that soon.]

I’m really excited to see where iPad (and other tablets) design goes in the coming years. There are a lot of interesting interactive magazines out there already – my favorite is Wired. It’s really interesting to see how you take a traditional spread & turn it into something that people can interact with and actually experience.

There is, of course, still beauty in traditional print though. Love the bright colors and ways that he simplifies the graphic to really what the essence is. Infographics might be the “cliche” thing right now but there is something to say about the really well done ones – for a visual person such as myself, I’d much rather see information drawn out in a clear way.

Source: Luke Shuman Design 

Positive & Negative

For Editorial Design I’m working with a photographer to complete a spread for the magazine we’re working on. The theme and title of the magazine is Positive/Negative. After much deliberation we decided on doing the positives of smoking. I know, right? There are actually a shockingly large number of positives that come from smoking (not to downplay all of the negatives) but it’s turned out to be interesting.

It’s definitely a challenge to get behind a topic I’m not particularly passionate about. If anything it would be far easier to portray smoking in a negative light. I’m taking it as a design challenge because, after all, in any job you’re required to get 100% behind what you’re working on.

Yesterday we worked on photographing some things to be included in the spread. I think what made it difficult was going into the shoot and not knowing quite what was going to happen/what we needed. Definitely takes a bit longer that way but I think we got to a good point yesterday. I had fun playing around and creating type out of the materials we were using. Now my job is to take these images & display them in a comprehensive spread.

All of the photographs are by Joe Philipson.