Role: Layout and hand lettering
Art direction & photo styling for Gift Guide photoshoot.
For the Gift Guide, I got to work with the wonderful Joel Benjamin and editor Anne Nelson art directing and styling all the great products Rachel and Marni (reporters) brought in. We chose to do a variety of stand-up/lay down shots, and really focus on the colors of each group to tie them together.
Joel's photos are magnificent, so in the layouts, I worked to stay out of their way, choosing to block together the product information and use small numerical indicators instead of cluttering up the images with type.
The Cooking for Crowds story came to me with Kristin Teig's beautiful photos setting the stage. Again, the photography is doing the work here, so my goal was to use the type to elegantly compliment it, not compete for attention. The original recipe files were corrupt, so I stayed late one night and hand-built each of these tables. Oy vey, but I think it was worth it.
For both layouts, I hand-lettered the headlines to brighten up the holiday spirit.
Role: Art direction, layout
When Allie Shah heard about a local gym teaching a "How to Run" class, she (and many other folks) laughed at the absurdity and thought it should definitely be a story. As a runner myself, I was all about the idea and encouraged all the non-runners involved that this is actually a really important concept for people who are trying to run efficiently.
I joined up with Allie really early on in this, requesting that the story hold to the cover and be sectioned into pieces we could illustrate. I wanted to not just point to elements on a central runner image, but actually show in detail what the right and wrong way to do things looked like with detail photos. Allie and I sectioned out together how each tip should be approached and sketched this layout before she wrote the story so it would come together easily.
At the last minute, our source (the running teacher) dropped out for the photo shoot, so I used a coworker runner as my model (but was faced with the challenge of making her unrecognizable) and teamed up with photographer Brian Peterson in studio to art direct the main and detail photos.
The end result is utilitarian and informative, and I'm proud that we potentially helped readers actually improve, rather than generalizing tips and pointing them to a class they likely wouldn't attend.
When the art is absolutely beautiful, you just have to stay out of its way. I let the headline and furniture text sink into the photos' subdued backgrounds. The beautiful clothes are the whole story! I wanted to be a little playful and content-aware on the inside, by placing the headline on the edge of the photo.
Role: layout, co-art direction with Caroline Royce of Vita.mn
Photography by Carlos Gonzalez
Styling by Jahna Peloquin
Vita.mn, the Star Tribune's alt-weekly entertainment tab, does a winter fashion shoot every year. We on the Star Tribune side decided to run some of their looks in the regular daily paper, and one special separate look all of our own. I joined the vita.mn team for the morning at Theodore Wirth golf course to help get this shot, taken by the unbelievable Carlos Gonzalez. In the layout, I wanted to get the hell out of the way of the beautiful photo, so I did every kind of grouping and quieting I could with the elements, leaving a prettier and chillier page.
Role: writing and design
I pitched and co-reported this flow chart with reporter Allie Shah after we wondered in a meeting how we could help readers find effective and personalized fitness options (a personal interest of mine). I sketched out an initial flow and we worked together to refine it, then split the writing 50/50. I got the go-ahead from our editors to take the whole cover (which is rare), so we packed the page full of information. I also worked closely with digital editor Jaime Hutt to make sure the quiz was interactive online -- I didn't want to put so much effort and research into print only to have it fall flat as a static image on the web. And, of course, the color palette was inspired by 80's aerobics outfits.
Role: art direction, layout
As winter approached (boo!) I hired Christoph Hitz for an illustration that made "Winterizing tips" a little more fun. He knocked it out of the park with the chilly home character on the cover, and we worked together to represent each tip with a little callout circle on the inside.
Role: Layout, infographic design
Allie Shah's piece on three tree scientists at the U focused mostly on the scientists themselves, so the original art pitch was for a nice portrait. But what makes those guys so fascinating is what they do, not what they look like, so I asked her and fantastic photographer Glen Stubbe to get us a slice of a tree that we could investigate for readers as the lead art. Allie went back to the scientists with a photo proof and did an amazing job compiling with interesting details for this stump's history, and I pieced together an infographic of sorts to give readers an insider look. Bonus: how great is that headline? (thanks to editor Tom Horgen on that one).
When trying different images for the cover of this not-so-visual construction story, I loved the curve of this one little plant. So I cropped it tightly and used its shape to give the cover some dimension and a bit of a storybook feel with the headline's play on "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
Role: A1 centerpiece and three-day doubletruck design (initial style co-developed with designer Jane Martin), contribution to digital design (photo/quote pacing) and reporting with writer Jenna Russell for big red numbers on day 2.
As soon as I saw this photo by the talented Zach Wittman, I knew it was the cover for this story about the last private club caddy camp in the country. We typically leave a white rail for three large tezes, but I cut one, simplified them, and made the photo full bleed. Instead of filling up the sky with type (tempting! there's so much negative space!) I chose to leave it quiet and elegant with a little bit of a curve.
Role: illustration, layout
This travel cover, pitched originally for a secondary story, was one of my favorites yet at the Star Tribune, and I cheerleaded this story to a lead position because I thought a bracket illustration could be really fun. It's nice change of pace and combination of topics, as college basketball reporter and foodie Amelia Rayno ranked the Big 10 not by basketball prowess, but by each city's culinary chops. DC comes out on top in our make-believe foodie bracket, and Amelia has great suggestions for bites in each city on the inside. Editor Kerri Westenberg was a big help in shepherding this story and its execution to something that we were all really excited about.
A challenge we often face in the travel section is using writers as photographers because of slim resources. Sometimes we get lucky, but often we go to the wires, travel sites, and stock websites to chase down something better. I loved the combination of orange tones in these LA Times photos we found, so I played on the color relationship and a simple, clean layout to try to elevate our Durango story to snow-capped heights. (too much? okay, too much.)
Role: art direction, photo editing, layout
When lifestyle editor Tom Horgen pitched this chefs-with-tattoos story, I immediately knew what I wanted the art to look like: High contrast four-color black and white portraits with stark light casting off their badass ink. Photographer David Joles brought my vision to life with our amazing chefs as we spent a few hours in studio getting the mood just right (and having two lights blow out in the process -- by the end we were working with barely anything). It was one of my favorite days as an art director; I LOVED these portraits so much and wanted their drama to really carry the pages.
In the cover layout, I used a little blue ink blob to add a splash of color and play on the headline.
Role: illustration/hand lettering, layout
I don't watch Parks and Rec, but it is based in my glorious home state of Indiana, so I wanted to do it justice in Neal Justin's farewell piece. I found handout portraits on the network website, and used our iconic quote headline to create something splashy and celebratory to commemorate the end of such a beloved show. And I couldn't help but have Nick Offerman's blue eyes peering through the blue O -- his "look" is so iconic and I found it all very amusing. Fun page.
Role: layout, infographic design
Cover design with Greg Klee (art director)
This story brought together six folks to comment on the new movie, The Hundred Foot Journey, which looks at the convergence of two cultures through the lens of food. For art, all I had was a bank of film screenshots that couldn't be blown up past 4x6. It's always a challenge to take small, hand-out PR art and turn it into something visually dynamic. I worked with fantastic editor Sheryl Julian to come up with a texture and color palette that showed this cultural separation without relying on handout art, and carried it through to the inside.
The challenges of awards nights are many, but probably the biggest is taking a features staff used to working 2-4 days ahead and producing something spectacular in just a few hours. Working closely with my pal and fashion writer extraordinary Aimee Blanchette as she made her selections, I silhouetted 9 dresses and on a simple, elegant grid before the state edition (9:00 p.m. color deadline) to put together an open and clean overview of Oscars night looks.
role: layout, art direction (with Nicole O'Toole)
I love working with photographer Joel Benjamin (he also did the photos for my Holiday Gift Guide pages), and I knew Nicole O'Toole is always swamped art directing and producing the magazine's fall and spring style issues, so I volunteered to jump in and design the shorter accessories spread and a couple front-of-books so she could focus on the larger features.
We all worked together to select backgrounds and create some beautiful photos that are tied together in tone but fit the shoe groupings pulled by the fabulous Rachel Raczka.
In the layouts, I noticed that each of the headlines had some sort of directional language, so I used a dotted rule throughout to play on the imagery of a dance step diagram.
With a whole lot of handout art, I puzzle-pieced these book covers together for a story about how the same visual tactics (back, head cutt off) etc are used to illustrate/hide women's faces on book covers. I love the way the headline plays with the whole package; it totally seals the deal.
Role: layout, image sourcing
For this excerpt from Bobby Orr's new book, I chose to play on a nostalgic black-and white mood with some stark yellow blocks of color (my favorite!). It's a memoir, not a big loud sports story, so I tried to echo that with the selection and pacing of archival photos and the strong magaziney type. The first half of our excerpt focused on this famous photo from the 1970 Stanley Cup, so that was the obvious choice for the lead photo.
role: art direction, photo styling, layout
photos by Brian Peterson
This was a fun little shoot (my first at the Star Tribune) about what to wear to different types of holiday parties. Since I had limited page space, I focused on simple symmetry in the laydown shots, open white backgrounds, and cute little festive illustrations.
This page presented a unique challenge: the Babes were getting together in LA for a rehearsal for the first time in almost two decades, but we wouldn't have the story or photos until the morning (8am) and we shipped the section (at noon). I had handout art, but the editors really wanted us to use live rehearsal photos since we had exclusive access with a freelance photographer. I was wary, though, because show photos can be so hit-or-miss, and I didn't want to just cross my fingers and hope for one that would be worthy of lead art, or design 10 different versions and just figure it out in a short morning before we shipped. So I built a crazy punk-inspired page with wild lines and colors around promotional art and left holes for the live photos, counting on making them black and white.
And... I was so glad I did! The live photos came in mediocre at best and washed in a weird green light. I quickly edited them, plugged them into the layout, waited for the copy to go through the desk, and shipped the page with little stress.
Role: infographic reporting and design
As a part of the immersive learning project BSU at the Games, I collaborated with a small team of graphics reporters and Alex Bordens, graphics producer from the Chicago Tribune, to cover the London 2012 Olympics.
This graphic, my biggest project, focused on the Twitter algorithm that controlled the nightly light show at the London Eye. Days of personal interviews, research, and edits went into formatting a data-rich feature story into this piece.