serviam magazine

layout page 4
I am really excited about one project that is making its way to the Ursuline Academy community now — the Serviam Magazine. Another makeover was called for, and my focus was to create a clean design which continued make use of color but did not hamper the readability of the magazine. (Pictured at right, page 4)

When creating a design, it’s important to create a good structure with repetitive elements. I chose a 3 column setup and used rounded green (PMS 625) boxes which bled off the bottom of the page on the left hand pages and off the top of the page on the right hand pages. Lowercase headers were used to introduce new sections; on left hand pages the headers were set above the rounded
page 20
box and on the right hand pages were set over the box. The headers were generally set in an opaque tint of the main color.

Inconsistency creates chaos, but too much consistency creates boredom. At some point you have to break the mold a bit — or altogether — so I chose my change-ups carefully. For example, on page 20 (pictured at right), the color scheme became a gold box with some purple text, fitting for a page on spirituality, but in keeping with the basic formula. When reviewing my photographs ( for shots of spirituality, Patrice Howard ’04, UA’s Director of Communications, decided to write an article on Liturgical Dance, an aspect of spirituality that had not been strongly featured before.

page 21
For page 21(pictured at right), we chose to highlight UA’s drama club using Dan Busler’s excellent photography ( Dan takes amazing performance shots and he gladly supplied us with photos he took at two UA plays. I chose a simple red curtain for the background from, made the box on the right a transparent black, and used yellow text which brightened the page and also complemented the yellow tones in some of Dan’s photographs.

On pages 15, 18, and 22, I dramatically altered the formula or dispensed with it altogether. On page 15, using a backdrop of the famous UA rhododendrons, I created a straight-forward collage of photos shot by Patrice (who took the Serviam cover shot) and myself. After discussing the layout a few times,we went with a full color back and simple white frames around the pictures. Other info on the page echoes elements found throughout the magazine.

Page 18 retains some of the elements from other pages, the round photo bleeding off to the left, the intro header, a pull quote, but we added a light yellow back and brought in a touch of other colors in the header and subhead. In addition to those brick and blue colors just looking right, they are also similar to the colors of the Haitian flag, apropos for an article on service in Haiti.

Patrice wanted a travel picture collage for the trip to Washington D.C., and the focus was on fun. I dispensed with the standard layout altogether. There were so many cool photos, shot by Patrice, from which to choose. I settled on six and set them in frames to give them a Polaroid feel. Handwritten text beneath the photos, a bit of a sassy attitude, a touch of stars on the background photo, and stripes for the main text completed the look. The page was built in Photoshop and imported into the layout program.

Pages 15, 18, and 22 are pictured below.

page 15
page 18
page 22

The Serviam Magazine is 28 pages, and it includes an extra 12 page Strategic Plan with its own cover shot. The cover shot is one of my best and a personal favorite. (Pictured at right.)

While it looked great in its original state, it did require a little alteration to suit the requirements for the cover. More on that “magic” another time. For the strategic plan, we wanted to use a layout to differentiate it from the magazine, but the colors and design elements utilized in the plan “recall” those elements found in the magazine, which results in a more smooth, less jarring, transition.




The truth is rarely pure and never simple. - Oscar Wilde

Annual Report FrontAnnual Report back
I recently wrapped up an Annual Report for Ursuline. I had the chance to create a look with puzzle pieces, something I’ve always wanted to do. I used puzzle shapes in Photoshop CS4 (customizing them to suit each picture) and Puzzle Pro by AV Brothers to make the theme a fun reality. (front and back covers shown here).

Photoshop comes equipped with plenty of shapes and there are a few puzzle shapes included. First, I processed and formatted each photograph in Photoshop, leaving enough room around the subject to accommodate puzzle tabs and indents. Next, I selected the shape I thought would best fit the photo. That created a shape mask layer above the photo layer. I moved the photo layer up above the shape layer, changed the setting from normal to overlay, and voila, the picture appears in the shape. I customized shapes as necessary — rotating, scaling, or using the pen tool to add and delete anchor points and the selection tool to pull the indents and tabs where I wanted them. I also used the pen tool to create side and corner pieces for variety. Clipping paths were created and adjusted. A copy of the layered psd file was saved as an eps, ready to import.

I used Puzzle Pro to "cut" other photos and collages to create the look of several pieces fitted together. The cover was a collage created with Photoshop then processed with the Puzzle Pro filter and saved as a layered psd file so that I could pull the pieces apart. It was necessary to adjust the tabs and indents so that faces were not cut in half and to introduce more variety in the "cut" of each piece. I ended up importing those in separate files, then scrambled them across the page. The back cover is a reduced collage / puzzle intact, with a few "contact" pieces along the side.

I added similar bevels and depth to all the puzzle pieces within Photoshop and the Puzzle Pro filter, and added a drop shadow once they were imported into Quark to make them pop a bit on the page. I would now recommend adding a drop shadow in Photoshop for a smoother, worry free workflow.
Two page spread

Almost every page spread features a one column back photo (two page spread, right) - ice for the hockey player, grass for the field hockey player, pool water for the swimmer, a cello for the musician, etc... Any subhead on the left page picks up the color of the backing photo on the right side. Rules were in a gold tone, listings were set four-column on the left and two-column on the right page.

newsletter redesign

2 page spread
Over the spring, I redesigned Ursuline Academy’s newsletter. One of the biggest changes was to go from a black and PMS interior to full color. The final piece is five color: CMYK plus PMS 625 (green).

With the introduction of color, it’s tempting to focus on the use of color versus the overall impact of the layout. I decided to “let the pictures do the talking” by allowing them to be the most vibrant color source on the page.

I did introduce different pastels, a light blue for the swim article (on the 11 x 17 interior spread shown above), a hint of “brick”, a pale yellow, a little pink and lilac, for some background graphics and article boxes. But, for the most part I left article boxes in a shade of green (the school color) and used the PMS for article headers and for the silhouettes (the theme was “the faces of Ursuline”).

Some common elements throughout the newsletter were: the subject headers at the top with a dotted line and their circle photo counterparts, the silhouettes with facts about the school and the students, green circles with page numbers, green article headers and black subheads, a green frame and shadow around the photos — which pulled them off the page, and several photos of faces around which text was wrapped, like the one in the lower right corner of the sample above. Most of the text in the newsletter appears in black on a white background to enhance readability.

Once a consistent layout was designed, the pattern was occasionally broken to avoid monotony, deal with the requirements of the stories or photos, and to keep each spread fresh.