Project Description

The theme for this issue was “International Education”.  Most of the editorial within this issue focuses on the impact that UCalgary alumni, faculty and students are making around the world. I developed the cover concept and design.

In order to make this cover happen, I explored many solutions before our client decided on “Alumni flag pins around the real world”. My initial steps involved exploration of how maps and flags could be shown to imply a “global presence” within a single image. Through this exploration, I decided that a standard printed flat map was “too limited and simple”. So I determined that a physical world/globe would work better, but with so many alumni around the world, I wanted to avoid overcrowding or obscuring the earth’s surface. I worked to strike a balanced ratio of “flags-to-earth”, confident in the fact that the symbology of spreading flags across the continents would communicate this message clearly.

Lacking the budget to commission custom satellite photography, I researched and sourced a flat map image of the earth and combined this with sub-ocean imagery and global cloud patterns. Then I warped the final image for optimal cover positioning (focused on the Americas) and applied extensive image manipulation to enhance the focus, thus making the earth appear more like a “highly-detailed model”. This granted me the leeway to play with scale of the pin flags, so that the overall final effect is a playful and engaging image worthy of further exploration .

For the flag pins, I purchased a box of flag pins on Amazon. Then I took over 250 photos of these pins stuck onto a piece of foamcore, shot from various angles and heights, and pshop-merged with the final base earth and clouds image. For added authenticity, I searched our Alumni database and chose individuals to be our “flag-bearers for the pins on the cover.

The main title (Making or Mark) was chosen to support the “flag placement” without being too literal.

Here’s a brief BTS pdf of how I put it all together.

I also designed all three of the inside main features. Each design concept was developed and executed in consultation with the magazine editor. All-in-all, this 56-page piece is great to hold and flip through.

For the online version, I was paired up with a talented web developer (Nicola is awesome!), and we whipped this website together in less than 3 weeks (sitemap, content map and page builds). Design-wise, I have to say that I found that we were a bit constrained by the corporate/institutional parameters set out for all UC websites. No point getting into the background except to sat that we were tasked with porting the magazine website back from WordPress over to Drupal 8, which is the official UCalgary website platform. As a result, I have begun to improve my Drupal skills. IMO, the Drupal CMS platform that the UC webdev has implemented still has a long way to go before I would consider it to be a proper and comprehensive design solution for online communication. But I must work within their constraints… so there you go… just making lemonade…

Read the online version →