Magazine Spread Draft

I had the opportunity to learn about making a spread. I really enjoyed learning how to use Adobe InDesign. I am really happy with how my draft turned out. I wonder what changes I will need to make for the final product. All pictures are my own, as well as the front cover illustration.

The original article can be found here.

My draft will be here.


Photography Reverse Engineer

Key Techniques for Taking Great Pictures

Taking a good picture can be very daunting. We know that it takes great skill and years of practice to create professional grade photos. However, these three tips can help anyone at any skill level greatly improve their photography with any device.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a tool widely used in the art community. In photography it means that the whole composition of your picture lines up with a nine square grid. Professional photographers may be able to use their judgment, but those of us who only know how to point and click need some sort of guide. It’s a good thing that most camera capable devices come with a setting that allows a nine square grid to pop on the screen.
In this photo of the New York skyline, taken by Anthony Nicholas, the rule of thirds is applied in a couple of ways. I have the nine square grid outlined in red. The first example is the position of the tallest building. As a focal point in the piece, it is lined up with the right grid-line. Second, the colors of the sunset and water reflection break up the photo into thirds. The cool blue sky I have highlighted in purple, the brightness of the sun peeking behind the buildings and reflecting in the water highlighted in yellow, and finally the darkness of the water in brown.

Here is my attempt at using the rule of thirds with my digital camera. I have the flower centered in two thirds of the picture and the center of the flower lined up with the left grid-line.


Leading Lines

Leading lines are used to draw your eyes across the photo. In a way it creates movement as well as highlight the subject or focal point. In this photo of the Scripps Pier by John H. Moore, He uses the alignment of the dock, ocean, and support beams to guide your eyes to the center. Here we see the subject, which is the setting sun perfectly aligned with the opening at the end. Each of the leading lines I highlighted in red with the subject circled in green.

My attempt at using the natural lines of this flower to guide the eye to its unique stamen. I have also applied the rule of thirds in positioning the flower.

Depth of Field

The point of photography is to capture experiences and places. How do we properly illustrate a 3D world in a 2D photo? Depth of Field is used to bring dimension to a flat picture. The background, middle ground, and foreground of the composition need to be clearly displayed. Usually, any one of the three will be in focus while the other two are blurred. Daniela Bowker uses the focusing tool of her camera to show the length of the rail of a railroad. While this is a simple photo, you can clearly see the small details of the railroad without losing sight of its depth. In this case, the subject is in the middleground, which I have labeled and highlighted in yellow.

Here is my attempt at using depth of field in a macro shot. I have the flowers focused in the foreground labeled and highlighted in blue.

So Easy, A Cell Phone Can Do It

All of my personal attempts were using a regular seven year old digital camera. Nothing fancy at all. Each of these professional tips can be applied to any device. Cell phones these days are so much better than my camera. They are more than capable of helping you achieve professional looking photos. I challenge you to go out and try each of these basic techniques yourself.

Typography Reverse Engineer

I found this gorgeous image  on an online travel resource site called Adventure In You.  Ana Faustino, wrote an article with a list of quotes that are meant to inspire adventure in the hearts of her readers. While there were many great quotes, this one was my absolute favorite. I found the whole design to be very appealing in the simplicity of the quote and in the contrast of the fonts used. Here I will break down the typography and explain its importance in design.


Contrasting Fontstyporeveng3.jpg

There are two distinct fonts being used in this graphic.  The contrast between the two is what brings the eye through the quote and clearly displays the emphasis on the most important word in the text. “Alive” is the word set apart from the rest in a beautiful script, compared to everything else being in a grungy serif. A simple typeface is best used in the bulk of a text. Only use a decorative and contrasting font to highlight key words.

Slab Seriftyporeveng1.jpg

The bulk of the quote it in a serif typeface, meaning it has little decorative feet projecting from each letter. As a slab, it has little to no thick/thin transitions in the stroke of the letter. This particular font is reminiscent of an old typewriter’s print. It plays into the roughness of the outdoors with its rugged look.



I love how the word ‘Alive’ is highlighted by a script typeface. It really emphasizes the beauty of the freedom that outdoor activities provide. Exactly what that word implies on its own. Scripts are meant to appear handwritten and in this case with ink. This contrasts with the stamped style of the first typeface. The thick/thin transition in the strokes of each letter as well as the connecting strokes provides the look of a steady flow of ink but also the natural state of free-handed styling.

Beautiful, Short, and Sweet

The style of this graphic is perfect for the message being sent. The meaning is displayed in more than just the words. A good design also conveys meaning with typography. Much like the brush strokes of a painting. The rugged nature of the outdoors and the freedom of adventure is clearly demonstrated in each typeface. Combined with the woodsy background and the quote itself, the image makes for a very convincing ad for outdoorsmanship.  Overall, it’s the simplicity of the piece that has inspired me to take a step outside. A short quote and only two contrasting fonts can be all that’s needed for a good typographic design.