Designing the 2016 Zora Publication

When the organization that handles the Zora Neale Hurston Festival contacted me, I must admit, I was scared. The project was for an 80 page magazine (10 pages of already designed ads, whew!), their current designer had dropped out with two weeks until the print deadline, and the work fell over the holidays. They wanted a complete template redesign for this issue because it was a special edition with a pull out cover. Knowing the impossibilities and stresses of this project, I knew I should decline, but the opportunity to do something like this was just too much to pass up. I said yes.

The next two weeks were full of junk food, Christmas left overs, long nights and early mornings. In retrospect I am very happy to have been a part of this magazine but like all challenging projects, it wasn't without its toll or without piling on an extra ten pounds from all of the pizza and apple pie.

Home Away...

Being around youth is everything you would expect it to be. It's rewarding, it's intense, and many times it leaves me wondering what I was doing at their age. Well, certainly not what this group of international students were doing. The word amazing to describe the nature of these individuals is such a gross understatement. They are setting out to accomplish what many people in a life time combined never dream of accomplishing. The coolest part about this project was getting to visit their dorms and seeing how their different cultures influence the way they live, but also discovering how some problems are the same for students universally, no matter where they come from. On top of handling the art direction for this project, I was able to art direct and style the rooms and belongings we were showcasing in the spread. The hardest part of any great project is what doesn't make the cut. It's an easy process when you have content you don't love, but when you have so many great angles to pull from, you have to make tough choices. 

The premise of this project was to have a discussion with each international student, about their lives before traveling to America, and about the items they brought and/or had accumulated in the States that had significant meaning to them. 

Some of the cool things we found in the dorms of students from Greece, India, Morocco, and Africa.

Some of the cool things we found in the dorms of students from Greece, India, Morocco, and Africa.

We had two other incredible students that we met with and photographed, that due to limited space in the magazine, we had to feature them online. They represent Spain and Jamaica.

To read about these students and their significant items click here.

Swansong

This was my (big) final project before leaving Rollins for sunny California. The story is about a Rollins alum who was a scientist that worked on Little Boy, the  U-235 bomb. This was a labor of love between the photographer and myself. The people featured in the profiles are often some of the most interesting and incredible people. Because the subject is on the controversial side, we wanted to be respectful of the subject matter, but also do something really cool with it. 

 

Inspiration & research

Inspiration & research

We (the photographer Scott Cook) knew we wanted to do something with chalk. I read every article I could get my hands on and binge watched every episode of Manhattan for inspiration. The photographer took my ideas and had the college physicist cross examine the formulas, and re-write many of them. As much as I love science and math, it's not my profession–so a lot of work was put into getting them right.

Not to mention...

There isn't that much information out there about these bombs. 

Sometimes we do really cool things at work! 💡#graphic #design #creative #nuclear #physics #swansong #orlando #chalk #art

A video posted by Candice Sarah Stevens (@candice.sarah) on

Initial chalk drawing 

Initial chalk drawing 

Final image for magazine

Final image for magazine

All and all I am pretty happy with how the project turned out and I am super grateful to have worked with such an incredible team. The photographer is so talented and creative and I had a wonderful creative director, who trusted me enough to take something from start to finish and really see this project through.

Infographic X Radio

It was really fun getting to work on this cool little piece highlighting the history of WPRK. Growing up in central Florida, WPRK is the best radio station. Funny thing is, I never realized it was a Rollins College radio station so it was really awesome to help the station with their events and branding on occasion at work. 

This specific piece was created for the magazine and then later adapted for the website which you can view here.

Web version of infographic

Web version of infographic

Anatomy of the Cap & Gown

Who knew there was so much history and meaning behind the cap and gown? 

Well I assumed, but never really noticed how different the gowns were in design. I was pretty excited to get this assignment because it's easy to get stuck in layout mode, so when I get a chance to draw or illustrate a piece it really makes my job easy to love no matter how challenging or quick the turn-around time. I had about a day to draw these out by hand, scan, and then edit in illustrator. It took about two days for us to get all of the information together and organized thanks to our incredible editorial team. 

You can view this article online here.

Clippings & Roots

To date, this has been one of the most rewarding projects to work on for me. Like many projects, this was on a very tight deadline, and I had all of these ideas, yet with such a narrow window, I simply had no time to test. To hell with it, onward! Luckily, despite my neck going out from hours of woodburning in the same crippling position, it all came together, and with little time to spare. This project began with the hardware store and sketch pencils. The next step was scouring the Rollins College campus for all sorts of fun flora,  bringing them back to arrange on a scaled piece of wood, and figuring out what would actually work. It's always fun to take your work outside of the computer and bring it back old-school. My route was risky but for this particular project it really made all of the difference. My favorite experience was definitely building out the cover. Building the "R" out of dirt, collected mosses, and sprouts was so much fun. Happily, it turned out rich, and lively.

This was one of the very first test photos taken in the beginning stages. 

This was one of the very first test photos taken in the beginning stages. 

I had about two weeks total from beginning to end taking over this feature. 

I had a mix of mosses that I collected from around the campus, my house, and purchased from a local neighborhood nursery.  To keep it fresh, I designed it late the night before the photoshoot in my house,  sent sample photos to the creative director, then the morning of, scoured for newly sprouted ferns and mushrooms to finish the assembly minutes before the shoot. It had to be done quickly because within hours the collected plants and moss would start looking pretty sad.

Re-Processing

The best and worst part of a designer's job is how quickly, down to the wire, a feature or direction can change. The reason why I say best and worst, or you might say fortunate and unfortunate, is that when so much labor and love is poured into something, it can hurt when it gets scrapped. The very cool thing that can happen though, is most of the time something even cooler comes out of that pressure of being against the wall and trying to make everyone's ideas come to life. Not all work is lost either, for whatever reasons due to direction, it's put aside for a later date. 

In this case, our cover issue was about Rwanda, which featured some incredible photography by Scott Cook. About two weeks into our deadline some hard decisions were made, and the cover story was changed to a story about flora (the "Rooted" issue featured above). 

While the cover concepts had to be tabled, I still got to hand letter the feature.

The History of Sailor Tattoos

What is cooler than getting to collaborate with a tattoo artist who specializes in old school tattoos? The history of sailor tattoos is absolutely fascinating and learning all of the meanings behind each one was so much fun for our team. For this feature, I collaborated with a tattoo artist, Ryan Went, to provide original variations of the tattoos that we were featuring. From those line drawings, I painted each with gouache and water color pencils, and then went over with ink and nupastels. From there I scanned each tattoo into illustrator and edited and refined for the editorial piece.