Monthly Archives: August 2012

Link Love: 8.30.12

link love

link love


8 by Leonardo Sonnoli. Reminds me of my 5!


• From 1899 through 1910, French artists were asked to illustrate what they thought France would look like in the year 2000. The results were pretty entertaining.

• Want to learn some CSS in a fun, accessible way? Pugly Pixel is offering an online workshop!

• If you’re interested in making a creative pitch to a company, here’s some great advice about how to make it happen.

• The 10 commandments of successful client-creative relationships.

• Leo Babauta on how to remove the clutter and get a badass lifestyle.

• Are we all bragging too much? “Clearly, the Internet has given us a global audience for our bombast, and social media sites encourage it. We’re all expected to be perfect all the time. The result is more people carefully stage-managing their online image.”

• Get some colorblocking action going on in your home!

• Calgel manicures seem to be the hot new thing when it comes to getting your nails done — Anna of D16 gave them a solid review.

• After 25 years, Microsoft has a new logo.

• Jessica Hische and her husband-to-be were interviewed over on The Great Discontent here and here.

• How to organize your stuff without spending any money!

The Making of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine: Tips & Insights

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

A mock-up of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

Today I have some tips and tricks to share that I gathered while designing my biggest personal job to date, Rock n Roll Bride Magazine. These are meant to give you some insight into managing a project of this scale and will hopefully make things easier for you both from a design and management standpoint.


Tips & Insights

• Get your print specs as early on in the process as possible. Nobody wants to go through and reformat 80+ pages at the end of a project! Since Kat is located in the U.K., her magazine was set up with a different standard of sizing — I knew this from the beginning and was able to build her magazine on the proper template from day one.

Draw a rough outline before diving into the design process. I knew that Kat’s magazine would be a maximum of 80 pages and feature 4 core sections plus a handful of additional supporting pages. I also knew that featured weddings would take up the largest chunk of pages. I sat down with a pen and paper and quickly sketched out the page counts so I had some guidelines.

For example: 2 lifestyle articles x 5 pages each = 10. 5 featured weddings x 6 pages each = 30. 2 D.I.Y. features x 5 pages each = 10. 1 fashion spread x 8 pages = 8. Misc. layouts + last minute additions = 22 pages (this has some wiggle room in case an article stretches on a bit).

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

• If you get stuck on page layouts, step away from the computer. Sketch out some thumbnails to get your creative juices flowing. One of my all-time favorite design book authors, Jan V. White has a few titles that can help you quickly visualize fresh layouts. I love his books because most were written before design became computer-based and the solutions are solid. The two titles I reach for most often are the Graphic Idea Notebook and Designing for Magazines.

• Use a few basic grids throughout your publication for consistency. InDesign makes this super easy. Simply go to Layout > Margins and Columns > Columns and set the number of columns needed. Then adjust the gutter so that your content has some breathing room.

• Stick with black and white printing for your first proof. Not only is it about 1/10th the cost of color but it will allow you to focus more closely on the strength of your layouts and the overall legibility of your type before tackling the images.

• Always mock up your design before sending it to the printer! Once issue 2 was finalized, I did one final print, trimmed all the pages and then affixed them with double-stick tape (see above). I wanted to make sure that when I flipped through it, the magazine as a whole had a solid flow.

Things look WAY different printed versus on your computer screen. The scale of type and the brightness of images may be way off from what you think. Even if you’re completely confident in your layout, print it! Then, print it again. And again!

• Keep your content organized in a way that makes sense to you. Since Kat’s magazine had four distinct categories that the content was divided into (Lifestyle, Fashion, D.I.Y. and Weddings), I used these as my main content folders so I could drill down and find images and text quickly. We kept a text document of copy for each segment nestled in there along with the photos – breaking the magazine content into those four sections made the project feel a lot less overwhelming. We focused on filling these areas out first and then I went back to the supporting pages at the end and filled in the blanks.

• Save the front and back cover design for last. Chances are, your imagery will change as you move along and it’s hard to know what the headlines will be until you’re getting close to wrapping up the project. Think of this final design challenge as a way to wrap up your masterpiece and give it a face and a name!

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

• Always save your proofs. I hold onto mine in my flat files. You can learn a lot from looking back at your process.

• Set up some basic layouts you can reuse. InDesign master pages allow you to apply the same templates again and again. Consistency in a print publication is a good thing — developing a consistent rhythm with formatting will help establish a visual style throughout.

• Let your content breathe! I remember the first time I did an editorial layout in college — we were all new to InDesign and a lot of us felt the need to jam as much content onto each page as possible. But think instead of each page as a piece of art. Allow images on certain ones to take the stage — maybe all that’s needed is a big, beautiful quote. Others may tell the heart of the story. Let the copy rule on those. Overall, let either the copy or image take the lead because that lack of balance is what creates visual interest. If both of these elements are too equal on a page, it loses impact.

• Do your research. Buy a few magazines from the genre you’re designing for. I knew very little about the wedding industry as a whole so I bought a few Martha Stewart Weddings magazines, flipped through a few more wedding titles and researched what worked. I knew that I wanted to have a fashion and lifestyle angle in the mix so I defaulted to my no-fail favorites for inspiration: W, Interview and O Magazine. The big time publishers have the big design budgets and know what’s up when it comes to great page layouts. Observe the best and pay close attention to what makes their layouts stand out.

• Commitment-phobic? Print on demand first. If you’re wanting to give your layouts a spin and see how they look in a magazine format before taking the plunge, order a single issue through MagCloud first. See your work on perfect-bound glossy pages before committing to a full run!

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

• Finally, practice makes perfect. The first time you tackle any big design project, it feels overwhelming (at least to me). But just like anything, the more times you do it, the more it becomes second nature. Five years ago, this project would have given me a panic attack. Now I say, bring it on!


If you have any questions about the specifics of my process, let me know in the comments!

The Typofiles #115: Rika Magazine

Typofiles Rika Magazine

I am new to Rika Magazine and just had to share — based out of the Netherlands, this bi-annual magazine is a visual masterpiece. The combination of super sleek, edgy fonts paired with bright splashes of watercolors and handwriting lend a perfect balance of beauty and grit.

Typofiles Rika Magazine

Rika Magazine is the editorial masterpiece of Ulrika Lundgren, founder of the fashion label Rika, and Jacob Wildschiødtz, design director of LOVE magazine. About the magazine, they claim that “Rika looks at women as muses, creators, fighters and lovers in the fields. Each issue picks a theme, which is freely reinterpreted by an array of established and up-and-coming contributors.” Some of those contributors have included Helena Christiansen, Anton Corbijn, Yoko Ono and Milla Jovovich. No big deal!

Typofiles Rika Magazine

Rika Magazine is more than just another fashion magazine — it’s like that perfect combination of the girl you meet who’s not only gorgeous but also whip-smart. Lundgren and Wildschiødtzit assert that “a magazine should be a meeting point for a creative community, and a source of inspiration to each and everyone’s daily life.” And Rika does just that. If you’re on the hunt for your own copy, I found mine at Barnes and Noble.

You can view all of The Typofiles right here.

A Peek Inside Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 02

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Have you seen issue two of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine? With hundreds of issues sold over the last few weeks, there’s quite a few floating around out in the real world now! This project was by far the biggest I’ve taken on to date — I’ve worked in teams before on print projects that were larger than this but those teams included art directors and production people. This time, the project from cover to cover was all me. And it’s no easy task putting together an 80 page magazine. I have major respect for people specializing in editorial design!

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

My dream was always to work at a big fashion magazine in New York. When I took the marketing and then design path, working at ad agencies seemed like the perfect way to combine my skill set but I still love editorial design. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work on look books and lifestyle-themed catalogs but never a straight-up glossy magazine. As Kat and I pushed her new branding further along, she, along with her husband Gareth had the idea to produce a brochure showcasing her blog to hand out at a wedding convention last year. We’d already done her media kit but she wanted people to be able to experience samples of her blog content in print. A 14 page brochure quickly morphed into a 40 page magazine because I saw a huge potential for her to take this a step further.

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

To our surprise, that 40 page first edition of her ‘magazine’ sold out almost immediately. The only logical conclusion was to do a second issue! I’d based that original 40 page issue off her media kit to keep the brand recognition high but it wasn’t in line with the standards of the magazines I admired. I wanted this ‘collector’s issue’ to be less of a memento and more of a legit glossy. To step it up for Issue 02, we redesigned the entire magazine, beefed up the content in every section, added a table of contents, letter from the editor and a contributors page.

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

My favorite addition though is the last spread (see below). I like magazines that end on a high note or teach me a lesson — I wanted this issue to wrap in a heartfelt, positive way and my solution was to encourage Kat to write a thank you letter of sorts which I formed into a heart-shaped text box. And boy, did she deliver! This is a speech fit for the Academy Awards! I thought about the story we were telling the whole way through — you’ll notice that the Editor’s Letter at the beginning features a big ol’ dose of attitude with a serious snarl! And the issue ends with Kat walking off, quietly, down a winding road (which cut through the ghost town we visited back in February).

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not well-versed when it comes to weddings. Kat is the queen of alternative weddings so as you can imagine, I had some serious catching up to do! I bought piles of Martha Stewart Weddings, cross-pollinated that with inspiration from W for some high-fashion flare and attempted to add in a dash of the pitch-perfect design sense that exists in O Magazine.

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

My goal through the process was to keep the layouts crisp and uncluttered (wedding magazines use a LOT of white space) but still have those moments of rock and roll flare Kat is known for (if you’ve met her, which I had the pleasure of doing in Vegas, she’s got a larger than life personality!)

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

What I love about Kat’s magazine is that it’s a wedding AND lifestyle magazine. Instead of JUST featuring weddings, she’s also included a fashion shoot, a great business article and a handful of really cool D.I.Y. projects. And, the paper. After proofing this issue a crazy amount of times, I handed it off to Kat & Gareth who took it upon themselves to find the best paper stock they could — I can vouch that it’s heavier weight than a good chunk of the glossies you see on the newsstand. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek inside the magazine. I have a lot more to share — tune in next week for a look inside the process I went through for tackling such a huge project. And, if you like what you see, there’s another 50+ pages of content not shown! Get a copy of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine right here!

The Week In Pictures: 8.24.12

week in pictures

week in pictures

Joey cleaned our room and reorganized my nightstand. Nice!

This week felt like two weeks crammed into one because I had the pleasure of visiting my mom, crossed the border on a whim for a rock concert, launched a business with two friends and ended up in the best parking lot party I’ve ever been to. Whew!

week in pictures

Things started out innocently enough while my brother and I were out at breakfast with my mom on Sunday. As we were finishing up, he was like, “Mötley Crüe and KISS are playing tonight in Washington. Wanna go?” That’s one invite I sure wasn’t going to turn down! We didn’t have tickets so we just showed up. Perfect timing: right as we entered, they were playing Shout At The Devil. Watching Tommy Lee play his drums upside down on a rollercoaster track was pretty awesome as well.

week in pictures

During the break between KISS taking the stage (hey, they need time to touch up their face paint and set up the motherlode of all pyrotechnics!) we ran into these dudes by the concession stands. Of course, the real KISS is orchestrated down to every last detail and never disappoint. Gotta admire them for still zipping into the spandex and moon boots all these decades later!

week in pictures

I’ve never been that keen on Coach but that is all starting to change. Their campaigns lately have been killer — loving this type. I found it in the 900+ page behemoth that is the September issue of Vogue. Carrying that issue around yesterday was a serious workout!

week in pictures

Over at The Blogcademy, we can’t thank you enough for the enthusiasm and warm welcome we’ve received. I woke up waaaay early Monday for the launch after being out past my bedtime the night before (hey, I was at Mötley Crüe and KISS! Important stuff!) and was feeling incredibly nervous — I was ready to take the step, push myself outside of my comfort zone and do something completely new. With butterflies in my stomach, I put up the announcement on my blog. By the end of that first day, half the spots were already sold out. Doing a workshop on this level has been a dream of mine for the last five years and I broke a serious sweat getting the branding and site design completed in time. Definitely worth every ounce of energy.

week in pictures

When I recently received a party invite from my friends at Mutt, I laughed. After all, it listed booze, bull riding and swimming as featured activities. Booze? Sure. But I thought the rest was just a joke. Until I pulled up last night. Sure enough, a huge pool had been set up in the parking lot, along with a mechanical bull, which was spinning around at a dizzying pace. With food carts, a live band and old friends thrown into the mix, it was the best party in a parking lot I’ve ever been to!

week in pictures

Hanging out with my brother over the weekend, right as we were plotting our rock show getaway. He’s much more spontaneous than I am and I love that. When we were growing up, we were always best pals. Then, we both became designers. And now, along with Joey & Rocky, we share a house together. I’m big on family and it’s great to still have that bond as adults.

Thanks for reading! Any fun plans you’re looking forward to this weekend?

Link Love: 8.23.12

link love

link love


Christy Turlington by Regan Cameron.


• Back to the so-called busy trap: Is busyness actually bad for business?

• Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, even for those of us who do it on a regular basis! I love Scott Stratten’s tips for becoming a presentation sensation.

• Over at The Blogcademy, we’ve been blown away by your response. Half the spots sold out in the first day alone. Thank you, thank you!

• What internet habits say about your mental health.

• I love Jasmine Star’s The Audacity of Dreaming: “But then I’m reminded that talent is nothing without ambition…and the smallest bit of talent can be carried on the wings of sheer desire and hard work.”

Site Inspire is full of some of the best web design inspiration around. Now I need a few free hours to dig through it all! (via Breanna Rose)

• Gala addresses not being perfect which I feel is so important in this day and age where we’re being constantly sold an ideal. For me personally, a lot of self-acceptance has come with age. When I turned 30, I felt a lot more comfortable in my own skin with the overall feeling of, “This is who I am and I’m not going to change.”

• If you’re new to blogging, here’s how to add clickable images to your sidebar.

• These paint chip table runners are calling my name.

• Ready to get inspired? Check out Seth Godin’s interview over at The Great Discontent. “I’m thrilled that the universe lined up to let someone as easily distracted and ADD as me figure out a way to earn a fine living making a ruckus and helping people get to where they want to go.”

• StartUP is a showcase of creative directors who ditched their ad agency jobs to become entrepreneurs. Here, they share their inspiring stories of taking the leap.

The Blogcademy is Stamp Crazy!

The Blogcademy Rubber Stamps

Over at the Blogcademy, I’ve been working on getting the rest of our branded collateral together. Pulling directly from our Identity Guide, I took some of our favorite elements and had them made into rubber stamps.

As I mentioned earlier in the year, I am a HUGE fan of rubber stamps because they’re an extremely affordable way to add that extra special touch to all your business basics like envelopes, on the outside of packages, on letters, on the backside of postcards and more.

The Blogcademy Rubber Stamps

As I work through the rest of our business collateral, I’ll be sharing more sneak peeks in the hopes of giving you some fun, accessible branding ideas of your own. And in case you’re wondering, I order all my stamps through Simon’s Stamps. Speedy service, great rates and old school wooden handles make them the best around, hands down.