Humbling project

Covers and other special projects, Design

Veterans CoverFor three years now, I have helped put together The Hays Daily News’ Veterans Day tribute. I’ve gotten to know many of the faces that appear there — more than 400 of them. Some I know in real life, albeit an older version.

Most are from WWII, but there are some from just about every era, including WWI and those currently serving. We’ve even had one or two from the Civil War before.

Some of the photos are faded, fuzzy or well-worn, creases showing they’ve been carried in wallets for years. Others are new, sharp and clear. In some of the youthful faces you see eagerness. Some are battle-weary. Others appear uncertain. A few show a spirit of fun — hats a rakish (or maybe tipsy-on-leave) angle. Some make you laugh, some make you cry.

But there is something you can see in the eyes of all — pride in serving their country.

It’s very humbling to do this project. Every year, veterans or their family members bring in photos for us to scan so they can be included (It’s kind of heartbreaking when they have missed deadline and we can’t include them. But we do save them for the next year.) Some ask how much it costs to have their picture in the section, and are surprised when we tell them nothing (thanks to sponsors). They bring in photos of their brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers and daughters to be included too. Some have stories they share with us.

You can tell for some — especially for those who are now old men — it’s hard for them to come here and ask to be included. They don’t necessarily want to be recognized for what they felt was just doing their duty to their country.

But they are glad someone does. You can see it in their eyes.

Work interrupted

Covers and other special projects, Design, Ideas

I started on this project a long time ago, but just haven’t had time to finish it. We produced a publication for the Docking Institute of Public Affairs last fall on the results of their annual Kansas Speaks survey.

Kansas Speaks 2013 4

Sample page of the document

They prepared the text and the graphs. We designed the cover and did the pagination. But we also ended up doing a lot of tweaking on their charts and graphs. They created them in Excel. All the charts and graphs had to be converted to CMYK — easy enough to do in Illustrator. But we also had to make them more readable, which involved changing fonts and then also going back and putting white squares behind a lot of the numbers on the charts to make them more visible. It was easy enough, but kind of tedious, and we were doing it on a very tight deadline and with our usual amount of work. I’m pretty happy with what my co-worker and I were able to do.

But after it was all said and done, I got to wondering what we could have done if  we’d had more time and if we had been able to collaborate with the clients on creating the graphics.

This is what I came up with:


This was after about two weeks of working on it on my downtime, using the data they originally sent us. We’ve gotten much busier since then, so it’s unfinished. I hope to add more to it at some point to at least use as an example of what we are capable of doing.

I used their data from Excel to create the graphs in Illustrator, then enhanced them with some 3D effects or artwork. There are some bar graphs I’d somehow like to incorporate into the yellow brick road.

The charts they provided were fine for helping to show the results of their survey, but something like this is more likely to catch the reader’s eye and could also be prepared for sharing through social media.

And yes, I went there. I used a Wizard of Oz theme. I’m FROM Kansas, so I’m allowed. =)

Lincoln poster

Covers and other special projects, Design

This was a project for our local library, which was hosting a traveling exhibit on Abraham Lincoln. My advertising manager and I met with the director of the Kansas Room, who was overseeing the exhibit’s promotion. She told us what she wanted, and what the poster had to have on it. When I presented her with a draft of this, she said it was exactly what she had envisioned. We had a handful of revisions, but this is pretty close to my initial design. I decided to give it a Civil-War era look, and found some fonts similar to what were used at the time.

Lincoln poster

11×17″ poster designed for Hays Public Library exhibit “Lincoln, The Constitution & The Civil War.”