Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Art and Design | Book and Paper | Graphic Design | Industrial and Product Design | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media
I was art director for the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 issues of What the Health magazine, a student-run publication on campus at Syracuse University. To put together the issues I oversaw an entire design department consisting of photographers and graphic artists. Photography assignments often came in late leaving little time for design work, and I did not feel satisfied with the ultimate layout design of the magazine. For my capstone project I took on the challenge creating a final book combining the strongest pieces from both original issues in a redesigned layout. I wanted to overcome the inconsistency that plagued the original issues and look into what it elements come together to create the most aesthetically pleasing designs.
My designs quickly became more sophisticated throughout the process of designing by trial and error, and I researched the philosophy of aesthetics. One major issue was that I had not included a master grid to best align objects, and the result was a sloppy arrangement of columns and images. There was a gross lack of uniformity when it came to extra design elements that did not occur in more than one place in the issue. Additionally, the colors I used in different articles weren’t reminiscent of an overall theme. My ultimate goal was to achieve readability while overcoming the limitations my organizational mind placed on my creativity, or my ability to solve these problems. It was a process that involved taking a lot of breaks and looking for inspiration from other design work.
I wanted to create a simplistic design. I learned how white space is not an enemy to design and preserving it can help to achieve simplicity. Negative space serves to give the positive elements (photographs and content) a meaning in space. I learned that the context in which I was working made the process either successful or unsuccessful. The previous designs were completed in a very limited time frame in order to meet deadlines. During the redesign I had an adequate scope of time to work with so many pages. This taught me a valuable lesson that creativity is a process. Taking breaks from the work serve to refresh my mind, and with frequent breaks the better the chances that I achieved a state of flow the next time I sat down to work. In this state, the best work is accomplished as the work absorbs all of the artist’s attention.
I worked with a variety of equipment during this process and I was involved with every aspect of each photoshoot to produce studio photography for the issue. The biggest challenge here was working with the lighting equipment. I worked with the Adobe Creative Suite to edit images in Photoshop, and used InDesign to adjust the layout of the issue.
In conclusion, this project involved setting my own goals and vision for an extensive project in order to create a work that communicates effectively due to a cohesive and readable design.
Glaser, Sarah, "What the Health Magazine Redesign" (2011). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 225.
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