Moose tickets

A friend asked me to design some tickets for a set of concerts this winter. It was a fundraiser for a school called M.O.O.S.E., so naturally, we needed a large ungulate in the center! (M.O.O.S.E. stands for Magic of Oral and Signing Education. [I was being overly literal.]) Thankfully, my husband is a great photographer and had taken a series of moose photos the last time we visited Yellowstone, so I could comb through his files to choose just the right one.

Since there was going to be more than one concert, the design needed to be consistent—thus the change in color. Why the unnatural colors? To be fun, because concerts are fun. As was putting together a project like this! (Note that I blurred out the address, as it was at my friend’s house.) The fundraiser was a huge success, and the concerts sold out very quickly. Hooray!

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More from the new Overland Journal

In the last post, I talked about the cover image and how I’d initially planned to wrap it around to the back cover. One of the aspects of the new design is putting more emphasis on the great images that we run. The reading list for the upcoming conference is a good example of that. Rather than just set a plain list, I put the full, glorious cover image across the two pages, then converted it to grayscale and screened it back so the text was still legible. It’s a fairly subtle effect, but it creates a sense of continuity with the cover and also means that readers do end up seeing the full image.

This list of suggested reading uses the full image that we cropped on the cover.

One thing that we are continuing from the previous design is the mailing wrap, with a quote from one of the articles. The one for this issue could not have been more perfect, as all of the articles are on the area around Fort Hall, which is on the Snake River.

The mailing wrap is still the grayscale version of the cover, with a pithy quote from the text.

The feedback from the new look has been very positive, including this note from the editor:

The issue is grand!

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Sneak peek

Overland Journal is getting a whole new look! Check out the new cover. The issue is devoted to Fort Hall, in southeast Idaho, where the conference is being held in August. The cover image is a portion of Great Falls of Snake River, Idaho Territory, 1876, a chomolithograph by Thomas Moran. I chose it because of the bright, dramatic colors—the contrast in the river gives it so much motion—and grainy texture. The design of the cover now has a wide white border around the image, giving it the feel of holding a snapshot (how old fashioned!) in your hand. I wanted the striking images that we are so lucky to run to seem framed—they are artwork, after all.

I had originally planned to wrap this around the front and back cover, but we ended up with an ad there. So I’ll use the full image (in black and white) elsewhere in the issue; I share a shot of it in a later post (once it gets approved by the editor). As always, the Library of Congress is a great resource.

The new cover of Overland Journal

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Motoring along

While rearranging the wall of books in my living room a few weeks ago, I remembered a project that I mentioned here but never revisited—Motoring West, volume 1, by Peter Blodgett (Arthur H. Clark Company, 2015). It is a compilation of accounts of the very first car trips west of the Mississippi. I was overjoyed to be the editor on this project—it was hilarious, and that is something that I rarely get to say, given my usual niche. A pure joy to work on!

I was particularly proud of this book’s design, which plays up the pithy humor in this book by using short quotes as chapter openers. For the overall look, I had classic Arthur H. Clark style in mind: big, airy Caslon type, whose simple elegance lets the words shine. (The little rule underneath is a wink and a nod to the bumpy paths that the first motorists had to endure.) I’m so glad this book is just the first in a series, because it means working with Peter Blodgett—and this design—again!

Page from Motoring West

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Happy feedback on a cover

Winter 2015 Overland Journal cover

From the editor of Overland Journal, on the winter 2015 issue:

The cover is totally stunning!

Here’s the caption on the image: Star Peak, at 9,863 feet, is the highest peak in the Humboldt Range in Pershing County, north-central Nevada. This view looks south toward the peak from the junction of the Applegate Trail and the Humboldt River Route. The water in the photo is Rye Patch Reservoir, fed by the Humboldt. The Applegate Trail goes through the northern part of the reservoir, constructed in the 1930s, where the trail separates from the Humboldt route. Photograph by Herman Zittel.

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Serra book in top 25 academic books for 2015

Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary (in the series Before Gold: California Under Spain and Mexico) has been selected in Choice Reviews Online Top 25 Academic Books of 2015! The book has gotten a lot of press this year, as it played a pivotal role in the canonization of Serra by Pope Francis last year. In fact, the authors, Rose Marie Beebe and Robert Senkewicz (two frequent collaborators), were flown to the Vatican and the book was added to the archives there!

I am the designer on this series and this volume is a beauty: 7×10 with lots of color images.

Here are some pages from a book in the same series, Californio Portraits: Baja California’s Vanishing Culture, by Harry W. Crosby. The photos in this book were taken in the late 1960s, and we decided to encourage that feel by leaving the images without a keyline and with the curved corners and rough film edges.

At the Western History Association conference in Portland in October, I met up with Rose Marie and Bob and learned about their upcoming volume on Vallejo. It will be  a very special addition to the series—not surprising given the ambitious authors, who are driven to do the very best!

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The end of another year

The lovely quote for this year’s Christmas card, like last year’s, came from a current project (having copyedited it over the summer and being partway through the design process): The Greatest Show in the Arctic: The American Exploration of Franz Josef Land, 1898–1905, by P. J. Capelotti. The vivid description—a good reminder of the beauty of winter—came from an explorer who was endeavoring to be the first to reach the North Pole, an icy wonderland if there ever was one.

from James DeBruler [?], “Reference Notes,” 9 September 1901,in Anonymous, “Biographical Sketches of the Members and Crew of the Baldwin-Ziegler Polar Expedition. S.S. America,” [1901], E. B. Baldwin Papers, Folder “Biographies—Baldwin-Ziegler Expedition,” Box 8, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., in P. J. Capelotti, The Greatest Show in the Arctic: The American Exploration of Franz Josef Land, 1898–1905 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016), 143.

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More nice notes

Following up my last post is another collaboration with Robert Senkewicz and Rose Marie Beebe, a very short book for the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library. We’ve done a few of these booklets, all 7×10 and in full, glorious color.

A nice note came from the head of the SBMAL, too!

I saw Rose Marie and Bob at the Western History Association conference in Portland last month. They were being celebrated by the University of Oklahoma Press for their tremendous work on Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary (Before Gold: California Under Spain and Mexico), which played a role in the recent canonization of Serra by Pope Francis. The book is selling really well (of course, it’s got color illustrations—these two love color in their books) and was added to the archives at the Vatican, a first for me! (I was the designer for the book. I’ll do a post of the whole Before Gold series that the Serra book is in later this year.) I also met in person for the first time Peter Blodgett, whose Motoring West inspired last year’s Christmas card! (Looks like I need to write about this series too–the design is awesome.) My workload has been very full this year, and I’ve got a growing list of projects that I’m looking forward to displaying here. Maybe in December, when (if?) things slow down!

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More Spanish magazines

This spring, I worked on some online magazines for my frequent collaborator Rose Marie Beebe at Santa Clara University. (See here for a previous iteration of this project.) Her Advanced Spanish Writing Workshop does a wide range of articles (on travel, food, interviews, book and movie reviews, and editorials, plus advertisements and crossword puzzles) over the course of the semester, and then I get the fun job of making it all into three 70-page magazines! It is such a joy to work in bold, vivid color, and since it’s all onscreen, resolution and length–always a concern with print design–is not an issue.

I had a terrible time editing all of my favorite pages down to a handful, so instead, here’s a big gallery. The students did a great job choosing the most striking images, so the advertisements especially came with a lot of inspiration.

I heard from many of the students. Here’s one of the messages:

Dear Ms. Smith,

Hello, I am one of the students from Santa Clara University that had the opportunity to work with Professor Beebe to write content for the Spanish magazines. I just wanted to say that the graphic design for the magazines are phenomenal; I very much love the fonts, style, placement of the pictures, colors, and just about everything that went into them. Thank you very much for your hard work in designing them. I’m sure you had as great of a time creating them as we did while writing the articles.

Have a great day!

Thank you,

Also, from Dr. Beebe:

I wish that I had taken a photo of them as they saw the pages of the magazines appear on the screen in class. They were stunned, to say the least!

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A new summer issue

The summer issue of Overland Journal is at press. Here is a little sample of the pages:

First is the table of contents for the issue–I realized that I’ve never shown what page 1 looks like! It’s a great way to show readers a peek at what is inside.

And this is Looking West, the column that closes most issues. The author always comes up with neat images that are easy to beautifully showcase. (I’ve also shown samples of Looking West here.)

And finally, we got so many wonderful compliments on the spring issue! Here’s one from longtime OCTA member Ray Schoch that made me especially proud:

This might have been the best issue of OJ ever. The lengthy piece on training and use of oxen is the first comprehensive treatment I’ve seen – which probably means I’ve not read nearly as widely in the trail field as some of the more dedicated trail scholars would like me to. Loved that cover photo. If Dixon Ford had been in period costume, I might have had to frame this cover and put it alongside that 2007 issue that featured my own photo of Mitchell Pass through Scott’s Bluff.

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