The more we choose to interact with others in our communities, the more we can learn and better each other. OPT. Magazine was first brought about in light of this same hope. Places and people have their own problems, but I believe there cannot be any room for those problems to change if we cannot look at them with eyes of hope.
I already had some magazines that I either bought or was gifted as my main source of visual inspiration. I really enjoyed the tangible weightier feel of their pages, as well as their heavy use of photography throughout their content. While my focus was on students and other young people, I also had to keep in mind that older individuals might be reading my magazine. Because of this, I picked fonts that would be easy to read. For my headlines, I went with a sans serif font named Rift-Medium, while I had a more playful serif font, Ernestine Pro-Italic, for the pulled quotes or callouts. I chose to go with a more simpler look, Mr. Eaves XL Mod OT Book, for the body text.
I first focused on getting all my interviews and pictures taken. At the beginning of the year, I met up with a local artist who connected me to other artists in the area. There were so many people, so it was hard to decide who to interview, but ultimately I wanted to hear from those who were actively working on building a community in the city of Anderson. I asked questions like: What do you hope to see in your community? What needs do you see in this city?
I met some of the interviewees in their studios, sometimes in their kitchens, other times at their workplaces. I think this part of the process made me more passionate about the project because with each person I interviewed, I was getting to know more people in the city of Anderson. Hearing their perspectives and experiences helped me understand the narrative of Anderson and ultimately better informed my design.
Next, I worked on writing out the interviews, editing my photos, and sketching out my magazine spread layout designs. This process took the longest by far. While I interviewed individuals, I wrote down notes and recorded our conversation on my iPhone. It helped to do both of these things, but it was still hard to remember what was said when. I realized I had to transcribe the interviews I recorded in order to not miss any important insight from the interviewee.
Lastly, I put everything together. Coming up with creative magazine layouts was challenging, but extremely fun. I learned a lot from experimentation and from having column rulers as a guide. I had to go back countless times throughout the magazine, because whenever I thought one spread of my magazine was completed, I noticed something else that needed to be fixed. Making character and paragraph styles really helped me in this process, teaching me how to be quick and efficient with my type. I also learned more about master pages, and was able to use that for my benefit.
This project exhibits a clear progression of my growth as a designer and a photographer during my college career. However, this growth is not solely confined to academics. I have learned that being relational with others, rather than following my own personal agenda, is at times the most important decision I could make. I have learned that when I see problems arise in my community, design can be used to address them and create a conversation that leads to change. And most of all, I have realized that the strongest gift I possess is not found in my ability to design or take a picture, but in my ability to listen. I can only hope future artists and designers will kindle this gift and ignite their fires for good.