When I first open any newspaper, magazine or other publication, I flip quickly from the front cover to the back, taking in the overall feel of the publication and the message it conveys visually. At its core, that is what design should do, show the reader what to expect before they dive into even the first story.

In ninth grade, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t think I would even have to design anything. But as my time on staff has progressed, designing has become my favorite stage of every cycle, my opportunity to break the mold of our “typical” feel in order to find intriguing, attention-grabbing designs that still fit with the theme of our newspaper or magazine. When I was sports editor, ESPN was my first stop for inspiration, supplemented by Pinterest and a few other platforms that showed some of the best design in the world, now available with just a few taps on a mouse. This year, it’s a little bit of everything.

Here’s a look at my design work from the past four years.


Page One Design

In order to design this cover, we ran through seven or eight different designs before settling on this one, where the heavy full-page photo coupled with the reverse copy headline provides a striking image for the story to follow inside, in this case on sexual assault.

When creating this visual for the cover of the issue in which we discussed a former faculty member who had been accused of sexual assault at a previous job, I used this photo, which hinted at the anonymity and the gravity of the topic at hand and added words I found would be a key part of the story, creating a compelling dominant visual for the first page of the paper.

Utilizing a layout different from any other we had used over the course of the year, I hoped to draw attention to the subhead, which provided not only our explanation for the story, but also a background upon which certain premises in the story were based. Finally, we used a compelling quote from one of our sources as the main headline.

Making use of a striking visual inspired by Barack Obama’s famous “Hope” campaign poster, we aimed to grab the reader’s eye immediately, leading them toward the extremely visual secondary story on the right edge of the page.

In January, our school opened a new, world-class science facility. For our December paper, we hoped to help introduce our community to the newest addition to campus. Setting the background with the text seen above, we made the dominant visual of this cover the facade of the new building, which we would come to know as the next chapter of St. Mark’s.

In this addendum to the December paper, we looked solely at the new Winn Science Center. For this front page, we juxtaposed the new building in daylight with the cover of The ReMarker, which featured the domed facade at night.

 

With numerous elements to incorporate on the cover and not wanting to fall into the trap of using the typical pill bottle used on stories covering medication, we designed this cover in a different way than any others from the year, utilizing multiple elements of design to craft an eye-catching page one that focuses on its centerpiece: the pills.

 

Tabloid Design — Interior Pages

For this centerspread about St. Mark’s alumni who have pursued careers in entrepreneurship, I hoped to anchor the page using the dominant photo at the top. But at the same time, I hoped the bright, vertical infographic would help guide readers across the page, moving from our traditional story on the left half of the page to the alternative copy portion of the package on the right.

In order to help guide the reader through the four distinct pieces of our story, I separated them using a label head and stylized pull quote preceding each section. And to anchor the spread, I used two silhouettes — a girl and a boy — meant to represent the presentation of the two different sides of the Kavanaugh controversy, quotes regarding which can be found between the figures.

Limited to one page for our cover jump on stimulant use among students, we used multiple compact, yet information-filled infographics to design a page that centered the story around the important statistics we hoped to convey to each reader to turned to page five.

Making use of a white rail and striking drop cap to kick off the story, I attempt to lead the writer’s eye from the dominant visual immediately over to the opening of the story.

Again in this design, I endeavored to create a more vertical approach to the design, utilizing it to juxtapose two very different, equally dominant visuals, which in turn brings the reader’s eye to every part of the page, even as he or she moves down the story.

Making use of the dominant visual and a large infographic package, crucial to understanding key points in the story, I created a more vertical layout with this page than with most in order to escape from some of the overly horizontal design that can become boring and repetitive if used too often in the paper

Through the use of a vibrant photograph and a bold headline package, I provide the base for this “light” alternative copy story on sports nutrition.

With the backpage of the newspaper, I’m allowed a bit more design freedom. In this case, I work to let the active visuals tell the story alongside quotes from each of the subjects explaining everything the pictures are unable to tell the reader.

For this package, I used an alternative copy format to present four coaches’ favorite athletic memories from the school. Though this design was the first I ever did for The ReMarker, I utilized archive photos and a format in which I created vertical modules from each interview to create a reader friendly design.

With this alternative copy story, I used a box to make the airy story format pared with cut-out visual more reader friendly.

In this page, I worked to make the centerpiece the key statistics for each of the building, taking what would be the readers’ key takeaways and surrounding them with the text. In addition, I crafted a visual from a photo I took with one from school archives in a way I thought fit the package best.

Hoping to tell the story of a whole family who had given so much to the school, I set the body copy in by a column to make the opening, which is also set in larger text, jump out when the reader turns to this page.

Though the design theme for the year largely revolved around squares and rectangles, as can be seen in the infographic in the bottom right and in The ReMarker logo on the “Feast on This” page to the right, the circular headshot, which pervades the white rail on the exterior of the paper provides an entry point to the design for the viewer as they turn to page 26.

Though I rarely use cut-out photos for a main dominant visual, I felt it was a fitting centerpiece to this personality profile on an exchange student who had joined the varsity soccer team.


Tabloid Design continued: Making Changes

During my year as sports editor, we continually looked for a more reader- and newspaper-friendly way to package, the “Wrap-Ups” page, which provides an update on the success and progress of every varsity sport currently in season. Below on the left is the old version, and on the right is the new version. Below both images is a comprehensive explanation of the changes I made.

New Updates.png

After talking to dozens of readers about our older design, I was able to glean two key takeaways from the response. The first was that they loved the large photos (when they were interesting), but the second was that the page was very hard to follow, which can be seen in the way in which the text and photos are arranged on the left.

So in the next issue, I created the page on the right. Each sports gets its own column and small photo, allowing the reader an easier experience when it comes to digesting the information. At the top of the page, I added one dominant photo, but any particularly striking action shots can be added to other pages as “wild art,” a stand-alone graphic with its own caption. Also on the right, I was able to save space, enabling me to add in more information on the previous season’s results without compromising the current season’s updates.


Other Design

I designed this spread for a story I wrote on the protest that had captivated the NFL’s national audience, spurred by Colin Kaepernick. By allowing the drop cap to interact with the facing page's striking image, I used a black-and-white contrast while still maintaining unity between the pages.

A closer look at an infographic seen above. It took hours of interviews just to add this information to the page, where the mix of circles with bold numbers and quote marks throughout provide a focal point for the page.

A special infographic I designed over the summer. “In the spotlight” features a particular athlete who has excelled during his season, but it had never been particularly visually interesting. So I worked to change that, drawing on an ESPN-inspired design to create a flexible infographic to be used in the sports section the following year.

In this single-page magazine design, I divided the two perspectives in such a way that would allow the reader to transition between the two seamlessly while still understanding the difference between them.

This is a page of many of the sample infographics we created during our summer redesign of the newspaper. Utilizing our new fonts and design elements, I helped to craft infographics, pull quotes, quick read formats and other small, but necessary pieces of our design this year. These were then turned into Indesign Libraries, so every designer has access to these crucial design tools when they begin working on a page.

For this page, I utilized a spot color rectangle to contain the content while drawing attention to the two images by breaking both the line of the box and by crossing the gutter. Despite having large amounts of text, I broke the story up with headers, pull quotes and the images to make the package reader-friendly.


A New Philosphy: ENDZONE Sports Magazine

Last year, one senior had the idea to create an entirely new publication for the sports junkie in our community. So we started from scratch, hoping to create a concept the community would latch onto. At the end of the year, the first Endzone Sports Magazine was released. It quickly became one of the most read publications in the history of The ReMarker, as our community — as centered around sports as a typical Texas high school — flocked to our new, entirely sports-centered magazine.

Scroll through the gallery below to see the magazine in its entirety.