The Article

Publication Design:
Exploration in concept, type as image, and type + image

Publication / Editorial design is a fascinating field that combines our abilities for creative typography, smart layouts, and clever compositions. All around the world, people wake up early and stay up late creating compositions that millions get a hold of in the form of newspapers, magazines, books, ebooks, and iPad magazines. The amount of content included in the publication of things like books and magazines demand strict guidelines and rules for the use of typography and layout within the volumes and periodicals produced. The success of these publications depends on clear communication and consistent storytelling, both of which demand rigorous applications of grid layouts and the establishment of visual hierarchies to keep readers entertained while they consume the content.

The principles about what makes a good layout or series of spreads are the same design principles when you design a brand story, website, motion/animation, etc. Publication today is not restricted to print. To practice these principles, we will be using print as the medium.

This project has several goals: mastering InDesign, understanding and constructing a leading grid, a clear hierarchy, terminology, typographic rules, typographic details, and of course, a dynamic composition.

You will be designing a multi-spread print version of an online article on the New York Times website. You must choose a FEATURE article from the NYT Magazine section.
The article must have at least 1,000 words, at at least 6 - 8 images. Pick wisely.

Are you interested in the topic, or did you find the article interesting?

Did it make you think?

Are there any images or links that you could add to the article?

Using a leading grid, you will be designing a multi-spread article of your choosing. Typographic grids control the visual organization of the page space by supplying a particular kind of structure developed for the typographic organization. This structure consists of margins, alleys, grid fields, and intersection points. Grids allow the designer to codify groups of typographic information. The codification process allows the viewer to proceed through a complex page environment, tracking information seamlessly and linearly. A good grid forces order onto the layout and act as an orienting device, enabling the reader to know where to look for information and its relative importance. Just as importantly, the grid works on an aesthetic level. The readers might not consciously be aware of it, but subliminally they pick up on the fact that everything is well-ordered and in its place. Something seems slightly amiss if a picture juts fractionally into the column next to it. Still, if the lines of text align neatly across the columns on a page, some fundamental and reassuring logic seems to be at work.

Your design should be typographically beautiful and simple without being simplistic, have a clear hierarchy, and attention to detail. It needs to be interesting, inviting, and dynamic. Only the finest typography will be accepted. We will cover typographic standards in class lectures and readings that need to be practiced: column width, text size, word spacing, and hyphenation...

You will be designing 4 spreads total the opening spread and the 3 following spreads. If your article is over 1,000 words, you will not have to use all the text. Don’t jam the pages.

All the text DOES not all need to be used; the article would just go on as you are not designing it all. The article you choose has to be over 1000 words. (No, you can't use an article with less words, so make sure your article has at least 1,000.)

Also, make sure your article has at least 6 images. If it has less, find another article.

You need images.

Elements/Standards/Rules you will need to address
  • develop a tool kit
  • leading grid: margins, alleys. modules
  • hierarchy, contrast, composition,
  • type size, type color, line length (column width), leading
  • parts of a magazine: headlines, subheads, call outs, page numbers, running heads
  • paragraph breaks, justification, letter and word spacing, hyphenation, widows, orphans
  • dashes, quote marks and apostrophes
  • vertical and horizontal pull (clotheslines, flow line, hang-line)


  • Size
    • PAGE = 9 wide by 13.5 tall
    • SPREAD = 18 inches wide x 13.5 inches tall (pages, make spreads)

  • Color Black + 3 colors, tints OK

  • Fonts One sans serif and one serif family can be used

  • Images use 6–8 images (from the article or find new — credit images)
    • 1–3 per spread

  • Callouts/Quotes incorporate  2–3 callouts/quotes
    • in total not per spread

  • Typographic Rules You may use rules, bars, and color fields, but avoid using them as decor

  • Grid 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 columns. You decide what works for you but no less than 6.

  • Baseline/Leading Grid The 4pt leading grid. We will build in class using the body text’s leading as a measure.

Final Deliverables

  1. The physical final printed article (printed and bound at Jayhawk Ink)
  2. Compressed Zip File (Compress all digital elements below and make it a zip file for submission below)
  3. Process book as a pdf: must be organized and complete, labels, notes, all your homework, and final
  4. Include Behance post link in PDF. Keep it simple
  5. Packaged InDesign file (packaged folder should have fonts, images, InDesign file and pdf) For grading, including spreads with grids, paragraph, and character styles 

The Campaign

Kinetic Systems:
Conferences are an excellent opportunity for people to learn, collaborate and engage
Every great conference needs a theme. What’s the unifying message that your speakers will deliver, and what’s the key takeaway for conference attendees? The best themes are catchy, relatable, and trigger an emotional response. You want the conference to inspire and stimulate conversation. Your theme has to enable that.

For instance, “Stronger as a team” is probably a better theme than “Achieving improved efficiencies through increased cross-functional collaboration.” The theme is more than just a rallying cry for all participants; it will also guide your branding and promotion, from designing a logo to coming up with social media hashtags, promotion material, brochures, websites, app screens, and speaker bumpers...

You will be responsible for designing an entire kinetic system for a conference. You may choose (1) of the (3) conference themes to gather information from and move forward with:

  • Ted Talks
  • Olympics
  • Brand New Design Conference
Learning Objectives
  • understand the anatomy of letterforms
  • understand the history of typography
  • understand type classifications
  • explore the expressive potential of typography
  • solve communication problems within given parameters
  • methodically document relevant design inspiration and process
  • present and assess work in a visually and verbally articulate manner
  • professionally document outcomes

Explore Design Principles
  • Tension: how the page is used, how the edges are used, activate the page
  • Grouping: how things are grouped together, use triangulation as a guide.
  • Alignments: vertical, horizontal (type must stay horizontal)
  • Coding: type that is the same size and style will be read together
More Deliverables
Pick Two from below (pick (2) from the list)
(2) pieces of swag (be thoughtful -- what makes sense for your conference-goers?

  • Billboard Horizontal or Bus Graphic (horizontal)
  • The FB campaign(s) should relate to your Instagram campaign. Use all four sizes in a campaign.
  • Web Banner Ads of at least (3) different sizes (sizes)
  • Conference brochure (print)
  • Stage/Wall/Room graphics/Zoom backgrounds
  • Set of 6+ icons (directional signage, info, sign-in, speaker type...)
  • Poster (front and back)
  • App screens (what would the app do for the conference goers?)
  • City Banners
  • Badges/Name tags (3 different ones)
  • Tote bag (mocked up) (1-color)
All of you will be doing different things. It will be your responsibility to stay on track.

If you want to make something else, make it.

Final Print for Crit (42 x 60 inch)
After completing the items below, prepare your work for crit by mocking your deliverables on the template shared in class. Print this item using the large format printer and hang it before the start of class. We will not critique the work if the item is not hung on the wall before class.

We are looking for craft, consistency, and attention to detail.