Designing a magazine each month is tough work. When I started at About, I sometimes felt lost when trying to think of design concepts. With time, it’s become much easier to get from the thought process to the final product.
I used to jump right into designing without a plan. That was my first mistake. Good design takes prep work and a plan. Would you build a piece of furniture without a plan or instructions? I didn’t think so! So why was I going about my designs without a plan? Who knows? Once I realized a plan was crucial, my designs became easier to tackle.
Now I approach each design in a similar way. I start with a drawing of the pages I’ll be using. I write down the story/stories that will appear on those pages. I then draw out what I want the pages to look like. I add in any design elements such as photos and lines or geometric shapes. This helps me decide how much space I have.
By the time I start designing, I already have the concept in mind. This makes for a much smoother process than just tackling the project haphazardly.
A certain project comes to mind in which my planning really paid off. In the February 2015 issue, I knew I wanted to do a very geometric design for the Date Night feature. I mapped out the design before I had the photos or story. Sometimes mapping out the design before having the photos or story actually can help the process, in this case it did. Since I had everything planned in advance, it was easy to just plug the story and photos in. This made for little tweaking at the end.
The key to having a plan in mind is to make sure that your designs vary from month to month.