New Series: How'd They Do That? #1

New Series: How'd They Do That? #1 Now that our SPD-U Spotlight judges are looking through all your awesome work from the past year, let's bide our time till the winners are selected and announced by looking at some awesome work from some of our pros...

Today we introduce a new series on the blog called "How'd They Do That?". The idea is to give you some behind-the-scenes insight into how all those amazing magazine pages come to life. "Did they draw that themselves or hire an illustrator?" "Was that part of the actual photo shoot or retouched later?" "What's that font?" "How'd they come up with that idea?" Those are the questions we're looking to answer. If you see something cool out there in magazine-world, send us a note about it to SPDStudentOutreach@gmail.com and we'll try to dig into it and get you the scoop on how they made it happen.

To get us started, art directors Nancy Campbell and Trevett McCandliss share with us the process behind one of their recent fashion stories for 9Threads ...

  • To start the process, our photographer Jamie Isaia created a mood board: "My creative process for shoots always begins with an overall theme. Usually it starts with the theme of the fashion within the story or with a character."
    To start the process, our photographer Jamie Isaia created a mood board: "My creative process for shoots always begins with an overall theme. Usually it starts with the theme of the fashion within the story or with a character."
  • Jamie continues: "After the theme has been decided, I start doing image research to create mood boards like this that help determine the look and feel of the story overall. I scour books and the internet to source imagery to help illustrate the ideas I need to convey to my team."
    Jamie continues: "After the theme has been decided, I start doing image research to create mood boards like this that help determine the look and feel of the story overall. I scour books and the internet to source imagery to help illustrate the ideas I need to convey to my team."
  • Another mood board from Jamie: "Based off this inspiration, the set design, props, hair and makeup are all determined. I usually do a shot-list the day before the shoot of how I roughly want the story to play out. It makes things so much easier when on-set to have a specific plan to refer back to after every shot."
    Another mood board from Jamie: "Based off this inspiration, the set design, props, hair and makeup are all determined. I usually do a shot-list the day before the shoot of how I roughly want the story to play out. It makes things so much easier when on-set to have a specific plan to refer back to after every shot."
  • Here are some sketches that Jamie did when we were talking about how the shots would work together in the layout. She/we are thinking about content, flow and scale here. "I like shoot days to be easy and fun for everyone and have found that the day flows effortlessly if you do substantial planning ahead of time."
    Here are some sketches that Jamie did when we were talking about how the shots would work together in the layout. She/we are thinking about content, flow and scale here. "I like shoot days to be easy and fun for everyone and have found that the day flows effortlessly if you do substantial planning ahead of time."
  • Here are some props that Jamie brought to the shoot. We only ended up using some flowers (not pictured). But it is always better to have extra stuff and not use it, rather than need stuff and not have it.
    Here are some props that Jamie brought to the shoot. We only ended up using some flowers (not pictured). But it is always better to have extra stuff and not use it, rather than need stuff and not have it.
  • Here is our set. It is a very simple piece of black fabric and a simple stool.
    Here is our set. It is a very simple piece of black fabric and a simple stool.
  • Here is Jamie’s gear. She has some extra memory cards next to a Fuji X Pro 1 that she occasionally uses. The bag at the top is for her Canon 24-105 zoom lens. The camera that she shoots most with is a Canon 5D. Between the lens bag and the Canon are extra batteries for the 5D. (continued on next slide…)
    Here is Jamie’s gear. She has some extra memory cards next to a Fuji X Pro 1 that she occasionally uses. The bag at the top is for her Canon 24-105 zoom lens. The camera that she shoots most with is a Canon 5D. Between the lens bag and the Canon are extra batteries for the 5D. (continued on next slide…)
  • The thing with the red nozzle between the two cameras is used to blow dust off lenses or out of camera bodies as necessary. Below the Canon is an iPad and iPhone.
    The thing with the red nozzle between the two cameras is used to blow dust off lenses or out of camera bodies as necessary. Below the Canon is an iPad and iPhone.
  • Here is the wardrobe that our stylist Kim Johnson pulled together. It is all menswear-inspired womens’ clothing, as per our theme.
    Here is the wardrobe that our stylist Kim Johnson pulled together. It is all menswear-inspired womens’ clothing, as per our theme.
  • This is makeup artist Kristin Hilton applying makeup to model Monica Valtin.
    This is makeup artist Kristin Hilton applying makeup to model Monica Valtin.
  • For the design, we start with the typography. We have a pretty good collection of rubber stamp type that are well-drawn. When scanned and blown up, they have a beautiful grainy quality to match the grainy quality from the photos from the shoot. (continued on next slide…)
    For the design, we start with the typography. We have a pretty good collection of rubber stamp type that are well-drawn. When scanned and blown up, they have a beautiful grainy quality to match the grainy quality from the photos from the shoot. (continued on next slide…)
  • We had played with some set-type ideas, but the solutions did not have the roughness and physicality that we needed.
    We had played with some set-type ideas, but the solutions did not have the roughness and physicality that we needed.
  • The opening spread. For this design, we focused on the most important word: “boys.” The design is helped a lot because all of the letters in the word are visually interesting. The trick is to find glyphs for each letter that are exciting and attractive forms that work together. (continued on next slide…)
    The opening spread. For this design, we focused on the most important word: “boys.” The design is helped a lot because all of the letters in the word are visually interesting. The trick is to find glyphs for each letter that are exciting and attractive forms that work together. (continued on next slide…)
  • Since the emphasis is on the word “boys”, all of the other words in the headline and dek are comparatively quiet and plain. If everything shouts, nothing gets heard.
    Since the emphasis is on the word “boys”, all of the other words in the headline and dek are comparatively quiet and plain. If everything shouts, nothing gets heard.
  • The 2nd spread of the story featuring Jamie's photos.
    The 2nd spread of the story featuring Jamie's photos.
  • On our third spread, we added a pull quote. We made two important words in the quote ornate and kept the rest of the quote simple. This design was made using a mixture of rubber stamps and typewriter type.
    On our third spread, we added a pull quote. We made two important words in the quote ornate and kept the rest of the quote simple. This design was made using a mixture of rubber stamps and typewriter type.
  • Here are two photos of the stamped pieces of paper we used to scan our letters into the computer with. After scanning the letters, they have to be retouched, recombined and re-kerned. The thing about stamps is that you want the imprint to be dense enough to read, but broken up enough to look a bit rough.
    Here are two photos of the stamped pieces of paper we used to scan our letters into the computer with. After scanning the letters, they have to be retouched, recombined and re-kerned. The thing about stamps is that you want the imprint to be dense enough to
read, but broken up enough to look a bit rough.
  • This is the vintage typewriter that we use for all of our typewriter type. If you use a digitized typewriter font, all of the glyphs look exactly the same. With a real typewriter, you get lots of subtle variations in each letter and they look authentic.
    This is the vintage typewriter that we use for all of our typewriter type. If you use a digitized typewriter font, all of the glyphs look exactly the same. With a real typewriter, you get lots of subtle variations in each letter and they look authentic.
  • The next spread in the story.
    The next spread in the story.
  • The last spread also has a nice quote. Good pull quotes weave the design theme through the story while adding visual and editorial interest to the entire piece.
    The last spread also has a nice quote. Good pull quotes weave the design theme through the story while adding visual and editorial interest to the entire piece.


Nancy and Trevett further commented:

In editorial design, the typographic solution always has to complement the photography. We start with the headline. The words flow from the concept of the shoot and the feeling of the photography. In this case, we were doing a story featuring man-tailored women's shoes. The title has to have the right feel for the story. You can't do a good type solution with a bad title.

You also can't do a great story without a great team. Theirs included:
  
Art Directors/Designers: Nancy Campbell and Trevett McCandliss
Photographer: Jamie Isaia
Stylist: Kim Johnson
Makeup Artist: Kristin Hilton
Model: Monica Valtin/APM Model Management

A huge thanks to Nancy and Trevett and their team for sharing their process. Have a design or magazine story/page you want to know more about? Email it to us and we'll try to find out!
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