By coincidence as much as anything, I’ve had a history of really interesting clients, and 2013 has dawned with a couple that are no exception.
First, for several months I’ve been helping the Chicago Sun-Times create a new business magazine (details and prototype images to come later). This paper has seen its share of change and drama in recent years â€“ well, heck, forever, really â€“ so it’s great to see them expanding and trying new ventures to generate excitement for readers and advertisers. (Former students, clients and other friends may recall that years ago, I was hired by the Sun-Times to direct a big redesign, most of which never quite saw the light of day, though the wealth of prototyping that did take place inspired some later iterations of the paper’s design.)
Another new project rethinks business news of a different sort: I’m back in the world of niche/magazine publishing, helping the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago revamp Capital Ideas, its quarterly magazine of faculty research, theory and analysis. In some ways it’s turning out to be one for the record books: In just three weeks (over the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, no less!) we explored a variety of new design directions including head styles and logos, and created a complete mockup edition, with all-new and realistic text and images. The new baby goes off for printing this week, after which we’ll review and tweak, and work on templates, style sheets and Design Style Guide in prep for a June relaunch.
Normally in the prototyping and even press test phases, a certain amount of realistic use of text and photos is desirable, but the small details, including most of the body text, are left to the imagination â€“ it’s more general “look and feel” that you go for early on. Not in this case. I found myself back in headline writing and copy editing mode, assisting the staff in creating as complete an experience as possible. Fun to work again with such an attention to detail in these early stages â€“ the last time I can remember going to these lengths, this early on, was working as part of the team that developed the Personal Journal section at The Wall Street Journal. Every story in every mocked-up page was written, edited and illustrated from scratch â€“ nothing repurposed from old editions (since there were none). Not a luxury many can afford these days.
Here’s to these, and other, interesting and innovative projects to debut in 2013!