Layout Design – Recap 2019
Following my previous post, Logo & Branding Design Recap of 2019, here is a post dedicated to some of the layout projects of the past year.
Late 2018 and into 2019 I had a chance to work on some of my largest layout based projects yet, which I am so very proud of; the UNA program guide full re-design, as well as designing the first-ever print issue of The Narwhal Magazine and lastly, a 90+ page workbook for a new client (sneak peeks below!). Some of my favourite projects are usually also the most challenging ones, whether it's a complicated concept to tackle, there are budget or format restrictions, we are limited in terms of printing options, the design always feels ten times more rewarding after a healthy dose of problem-solving.
Although a lot of designers probably think annual reports are super boring, they are actually one of my favourite types of projects to work on. I've had the chance to design a total of five this year, both for previous and new clients.
Next up I would really love to work with someone looking to publish a book. I've already dipped my toes into this field, designing a zine for a photographer, as well as a book for a comic artist, but I would really love to work on an actual book, that features not just imagery, but also a healthy amount of copy throughout.
But in the meantime, here is a small collection of some of the projects I got to work on this past year.
University Neighbourhoods Association
Working with UNA, the University Neighbourhoods Association at UBC for over a year now has been so great. Although I've worked on a variety of assets with them, the biggest project has been working closely with their team to tackle the re-design of their main project, their seasonal program guides for the community centres.
UNA produces three themed guides every year, Winter, Spring/Summer and Fall. Our first goal was to come up with visuals for the years theme, something that felt local and seasonal. Overall we really wanted to upgrade the design of the programs, making them more sophisticated, while still speaking to a varied audience of children, and more importantly, their parents who would be purchasing the programs, as well as seniors. We decided to go with an abstract theme using colours to reflect the seasons. Once the visuals were sorted; Vancouver's blue mountain range for winter, colourful abstract flower field for Spring/Summer, and fall coloured overlapping panels for the changing leaves, we proceeded to create the artwork by physically overlapping textured paper and scanning it. This made the covers stand out and gave them a very textural feel. I've since already designed the three themed programs for this upcoming year as well, but you'll have to wait a little longer to see those!
Next up was re-designing the whole inside of the program guide, which featured a lot of information and didn't have a clear hierarchy. We met in-person a number of times so I could get very familiar with all the content, understand it's purpose and priority and then start re-organizing it, creating a new legible type hierarchy and start colour coding and labelling information in a way that makes things obvious and easy for the readers. I also completely re-designed the grid and layout structure of the guide, aiming to fit as much content as before on every page, but in a much more efficient manner, by making more use of white space and allowing the content to breathe. The guide is laid out across a multi-column grid throughout that is extremely flexible and allows for plenty of room to play. Graphic elements, pull quotes and photography help break the grid, giving the program guide an almost editorial feel.
To see more of this project pop over to my portoflio here.
I love that I have an on-going relationship with UNA now and am looking forward to sharing more of the work we've completed together.
Peter Wall Insitute for Advanced Studies
Earlier in the year I had a chance to work with UBC's Peter Wall Insititute for Advanced studies. The Peter Wall Institute draws together scholars from UBC and around the world to engage in deep and unconstrained research into some of the most profound questions and challenges facing humanity. The Institute seeks to encourage highly innovative, creative and unexpected scholarship through wide-ranging explorations between disciplines. We worked together on designing their previous years' annual report, taking a less corporate, more fun approach, making use of the brand colours, patterns and shapes throughout.
Since this project has wrapped, we've already started working on the next annual report, which is much more extensive in size, triple the length of the previous one, taking a slightly more scholar design approach. It's really fun when clients are open to trying out new and different design aesthetics for projects, while still staying true to the core brand.
The Mindful Wardrobe Project Workbook
The Mindful Wardrobe Project, I don't even know where to start with this one. Over the past year I've been working with Meg on-goingly, primarily re-branding her previous business and creating all the visual assets and branding materials for her new venture The Mindful Wardrobe Project Workbook, an online and in-person workshop. The workbook is so valuable, 90+ pages full of really great information, plus accompanied by videos, worksheets and more assets. I'm really excited to share more about this project but will wait until I get it up on my portfolio, hopefully sometime this spring.
This was another very special project for me. I got to collaborate with past client and friend Jackie Dives. Jackie is a photographer and recently went through some major life changes and loss and after which she decided to take a cycling trip through South Korea. I helped her put together a little book featuring Jackie's words and photos of what she captured along the way, as well as what it felt like to go through this journey. The book feels relatable and emotional, beautiful and oddly comforting. The initial print run was of 50 copies which sold out within a few short weeks, currently entering its second print run. Jackie's work is so special and vulnerable and I very much look forward to working with her again. If you don't already follow her on Instagram do so now! If you'd like a copy of the book for yourself reach out to Jackie directly before this second run sells out too.
Forum for Women Entrepreneurs: FWE
Another great local charity reached out to me this past fall to work on their annual report, the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. The FWE energizes, educates, mentors and connects women entrepreneurs to be wildly successful, promoting strengthened economies and thriving communities. They support 650 women entrepreneurs annually and have a radical plan for growth over the next five years to increase this number to 5,000. I highly encourage you to check out their events and workshops.
Gestalt Therapy Portugal
After designing some branding and printed materials for my mom's new venture last year, this year I helped her put together a Squarespace website. We kept the overall design simple and minimal, with large type and a clear hierarchy. Working in Portugal, within a German community and also fluently speaking English she really wanted the information across the site to be as tri-lingual as possible. We compromised to leave out the German for the time being, focusing on Portuguese and English content only. Have a look here!
I've done some pretty great design projects for some really awesome clients over the years, but The Narwhal takes the prize! Beyond being a dream project, designing a magazine, it's also doing work for some really awesome people doing very important and good work.
The Narwhal is a team of investigative journalists, who dive deep to tell stories about Canada’s natural environment you can’t find anywhere else, telling the stories Canada’s big news outlets miss and hustle to help their readers make sense of complex, sometimes downright messy issues.
Shortly before their one year anniversary as an online publication, The Narwhal reached out to me to design a printed magazine, showing off some of the best articles from the past year. The magazine already had some great branding and a strong visual website and type hierarchy, from which I had a chance to draw a lot of inspiration for the printed issue.
Please pop over to my portoflio and view the full project here and also check out The Narwhal online and consider supporting them.
I'm very excited to say that issue two is literally being proofed right now and going off to print later this week.
It seems that my designing roughly one website per year is still going strong! I wouldn't mind if this number went up either, hint, hint. I won't share too much about this project since the site hasn't officially launched yet, but I can say that I had the chance to work with my good friend and past client/collaborator Gabriel Cabrera on this new venture, designing his branding and website. Stay tuned for details on this one!
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank
Yet another annual report I got to design this year (I told you there was a lot of them!) was for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The biggest challenge of this project was making all the content work! The client had a lot of content which we were trying to fit across a 20-page report. Upon much trimming and breaking down complex information into more visual assets, we ended up with a really great annual report.
2019 was another busy year, working on-goingly with Alexa Mazzarello. Beyond a brand audit and minor brand refresh, we also worked together on two different promo's, a lookbook for one of her recent collaborative shoots, as well as various postcard designs accompanying another, summer-inspired, promo (shown above).
I know I'm a broken record but working with a photographer is always such a treat. It's not all smooth sailing, as a lot of creatives, me included, have set visions on how we want to see our work come to life, but together, we manage to bring ideas together and create a visual feast.
Photographers, please e-mail me, I want to work with YOU!
Do the thing, by Geoff Coates
Another project which hasn't quite launched yet (shhhhh secret sneak peek!!), is a book for Geoff Coates! Geoff is an art director in the Vancouver videogame industry and also a cartoonist! His name miiiight sound familiar if you are local, as he's recently joined Vancouver Is Awesome as an editorial cartoonist, illustrating the daily joys and pain points of Vancouverites. I'd tell you more about his book, but you're just going to have to wait until it launches. In the meantime, go follow Geoff on instagram!
I've already alluded to all the amazing work I've done with Meg from Sew Liberated over the past year, but this little packaging piece deserved its own little highlight. I love working on packaging projects, but it's something I rarely get to design these days. Packaging projects are costly, not just from a printing perspective, but also from a design perspective as there is so much trial and error and testing and proofing to make sure everything comes together just right. I'm always up for the challenge though and would love to work on more packaging!!
That sums up some of my top design projects for 2019! It's only January and I'm already in the process of wrapping up a handful of more awesome projects and have some more availability in my schedule for Spring. Get in touch, I would love to hear from you!