We’ve all seen yearbooks before. We kinda know what to expect, right? I had just done the 1984 book and won a Best of Category award from the Printing Industries of America, and yet subscriptions were decreasing on a yearly basis and students felt disconnected from their book.
Myself and my staff decided to change the game…entirely. My concept was to make a dictionary instead. We enlisted every organization on campus, creative writing classes and our own staff to come up with appropriate words and definitions, thereby engaging the student body. Add to that a bit of never before seen promotion for the book and both sales and positive response soared, many saying that they had never seen “anything like it.”
Several themes were employed for this 430 page volume. Firstly we played off the double “Y” of the name with multiple uses and variations of inverted triangles. We committed to being better photo editors as well, reducing the number of images in preference to better pictures used bigger. The final touch, which was tough to convince our publisher to go along with, was to die cut the letter “tabs” on the side of the book. This was unheard of, a bit expensive, and had to be shopped out to another publisher, but we fought hard for it, as we were convinced that it was needed to drive home the theme.
The full digital version of this book is now viewable online through the UNC library digital archives.
Many years ago, I was brought in to be creative director for a start up magazine. When I was enlisted, the magazine was to be called “City Buzz“, which I was not to keen on, nor did I like its Logo. We published a small sample issue to encourage investors and advertisers. The original cover is below. As we were nearing completion of our premier issue, our publisher finally was convinced and decided to change the name at the 11th hour to Tribe Magazine. It wasn’t my choice, but I liked it better than City Buzz. The only problem was that we had finished most of the design and had created a cover illustration designed to grab attention (Hard not to notice a sexy 100 ft tall woman striding through downtown New Orleans). We were going to create posters to plaster all over town, but the underlying theme of her costume reflected a bee theme (City Buzz… get it?) and it was too late to redo all that.
The last minute change proved to not be a hinderance at all and excitement mounted. In our early days we were named of the “Top Five new magazines of the Year” by Samir Huzney’s Consumer Magazine Report in the same class with JFK, Jrs George Magazine and we went on to worldwide distribution and won bucketloads of other awards.
One of my favorite examples of editorial design. This special Jazzfest issue of Tribe Magazine featured excerpts from the autobiography of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. I was also the photographer for this story. The logo treatment for Tribe changed with each issue and this one won the Art Director and Design Association award that year for best Magazine Cover.
I got to work with the fabulously talented photographer Shannon Brinkman on her seven year photo project on Preservation Hall. Her photographs of this legendary jazz club in New Orleans were so fresh and full of energy and included a large number of unique images shot in a diamond oriented format. Our job was to edit the work and design a dummy version of her dream book to pitch to publishers. One aspect that seemed logical to explore was using this diamond shape and the jazzy theme in the design. I am happy to say that the book was eventually published by LSU Press, although they did abandon most of my type treatments.
The New Orleans Photo Alliance needed a branded website to connect with its membership, make announcements, promote events and accept submissions for competitions. I worked with as project manager with graphic designer Tom Varisco on the Alliance logo and web designer Denny Juge on the site build.