Pandemic in Pictures
I put this design and layout together to replace what would have been our most exciting sports spread of the year when I was still working as our sports section editor during my junior year. I was initially disappointed with the loss of a sports season to cover due to the pandemic, but when I drove through the once-bustling streets and stores of the Berwyn area, I couldn’t help but take out my camera and start documenting what I saw. I wanted to utilize the space on the page to visually convey the effect of the pandemic on our community. This spread went on to place third nationally for full-page photo layout at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Awards for 2020.
These are layouts created for my high school's student-run newspaper, The Spoke. Click on each image to see the full issue.
violence strikes the capitol
This was a story that kept developing even after we sent it to our printer for final proof. While the original story was focused around student opinions of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots and the political turmoil that had swept the nation afterward, as the angle continued to change and one of our staff reporters was able to send us photos that he took in D.C., I was left with two hours to organize the text on the page, lay out the photo spread to give our staff reporter’s strong imagery the attention it deserved, and tie together the elements on the page with a cohesive design.
This was a piece that received an honorable mention when I created it for the Spring 2021 JEA National Student Media Contests. I used the school colors I was provided to bring together the columns and images on the page while maintaining a dominant image. Finally, I designed a nameplate that was meant to serve as a play on the publication’s name, “The Olympia Outlook.”
As Kobe Bryant had been an athletic icon who played some of his first games against Conestoga athletes in our own small gym, it was important to us to honor his legacy following his sudden and tragic passing. With a little investigation, we were able to interview people who knew him and had seen him play his earliest games as a high school athlete. Using his team’s colors, we designed a ¾-page spread. Our biggest challenge was finding a way to integrate the somewhat-jarring purple and gold into our otherwise maroon-and-gray color scheme. We ended up introducing yellow and cream midtones into the background of the graphic. I then created a photo illustration, which we used to draw focus to the spread. In order to integrate highlights from his career without taking the focus off the story and illustration, we layered several boxes and design elements to add a degree of separation between the components on the page while still maintaining a cohesive aesthetic through the piece.
The senior matriculation map is a decade-old tradition at Conestoga that each set of Editors-in-Chief takes on as one of their first assignments. The biggest challenge we encounter each year is getting and compiling responses from the senior class. This proved to be even more difficult when we were unable to speak to seniors in person and urge them to fill out our survey in a timely fashion. We adapted to our virtual environment and used our social media platform to share the survey as effectively as possible, extending deadlines for responses to allow for pushed-back college commitment deadlines as a result of the pandemic. For this reason, my Co-Editor-in-Chief and I had 10 days to put together and design the map rather than the usual 3 weeks. Then, after losing access to our school server, which housed all our design templates from the last decade, we designed the Class of 2020’s senior matriculation map from scratch, using a light color scheme to block out the important elements on the page, including the boxes on the bottom as well as the map of America. We used a heavier font to separate school names from student names and added pins for a visual representation of students’ destinations across the country as a finishing touch.
During my first issue as sports section editor, I was faced with the challenge of finding a creative way to cover the seven new coaches that our school had hired for the academic year. This was the first issue in which we implemented our new graphic design spread requirement for the sports section. Using the gray and maroon color scheme, we redesigned our highlight reel to better match the spread to the headers we used for the two traditionally-placed stories on the page. Next, we designed the crew coaches’ spread, carrying the gray and maroon color scheme through the second half of the page while introducing the blue midtone to match the water-themed sport. We chose to separate the crew team’s spread since they recently brought on an entirely new staff.
Turkeys and Treasures
One of my goals as sports section editor was to breathe some life back into what, at times, came off as repetitive sports reporting. For this reason, I started the new practice of putting a half-page graphic design spread in the sports section every issue—a place where design often goes overlooked. This was one of our earliest graphic design spreads, which ran a week before Thanksgiving and combined feature-style writing with a simple design concept that asked athletes to share their best memories (“treasures”) and worst memories (“turkeys”) from their sports experiences. Using Adobe Illustrator, we designed the visual representations of the turkeys and treasures and placed the athletes’ headshots in a grid form to avoid vertically stacking the text, making the spread easier to read.