Montani Semper Liberi
Our home is West Virginia, a collection of beautiful landscapes, breathtaking wildlife, and hardworking people. Little known fact: West Virginia became a state of its own, independent of Virginia, on June 20, 1863.
We were beside ourselves when we found out that the Department of Arts, Culture, and History chose our bid for their 2019-2020 calendar. The next big shock came less than a year later when we were contracted to manage the design and formatting of the agency’s biannual magazine, Details. To do what we do for our home state is pretty stellar.
Details Magazine: Historic Preservation in the Mountain State
The Department of Arts, Culture, and History once had a periodic publication dubbed Details. This magazine served as a platform to announce projects, accomplishments, and other vital information. Unfortunately, years had passed without a new edition until WVDAH decided to release a request for proposal (RFP) in hopes of contracting an agency to handle the design and formatting of Details for the length of one-year (two editions).
Step 1: Building An Organizational System
WVDAH already had a number of articles and photography. The first thing we did was develop a shared spreadsheet that outlined each article and its accompanying info, such as word count and authors. While most articles were around 600 words, there were two larger articles weighing in at 1200+ words. Sorting this data first allowed us to hone in on which articles would be featured, including which article would get the prestigious placement on the main spread.
WVDAH knew beforehand that they wanted Volume 19, Issue 1 to have twenty pages. With this constraint in mind, it was crucial that we organize all of the data as we had.
For consistency, we also began constructing a branding guide to outline formatting rules for hyphenation, indention, drop caps, and other related topics.
A Calendar Highlighting WV Literature
The goal of the calendar was to highlight the work of West Virginian authors, while also showcasing the beauty of various historical places within the state. The WV Department of Arts, History, and Culture paired chosen excerpts with images and provided us with the files. We used the images as featured photos for each month and overlayed the excerpts in corners of the images that didn’t skew their compositions.
The Fun Part (No Really)
A study into calendars, including previous editions contracted by the WVDAH, gave us some insight into how to best execute the technical layout of the months, days, dates, and past/next months on each page. From a blank file, we constructed a painstakingly precise layout for each month. Our goal (as it always is) was to have consistency across the project. From the alignment of the technical elements to the font typefaces and point sizes, each month matched.