DIGITAL PUBLICATION

DIGITAL PUBLICATION

Last year, I co-created a digital publication called BREAKGROUND. The ambitious project was developed in-house at a software company with a very lean team. The goal was to create a brand of content that could appeal to a core customer base as well as a general audience. This is a brief look at the development process of the magazine.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The art director and I must have thought of a hundred names, 90 of which were terrible, ranging from the mundane to the whimsical. We presented a handful of what we believed to be the strongest options. The CEO ultimately selected BREAKGROUND, which was sensible and carried a nice double meaning as both noun and verb.

MARK MY WORDMARKS

The art director did the heavy lifting in the design of the wordmark, creating unique typographical treatments for each option, as well as mocking up faux cover layouts. I mostly offered over-the-shoulder input that was occasionally warranted. My greater contribution may have been the ideology copy that helped in the development of each concept and provided context for the CEO.

BREAKGROUND-a
BREAKGROUND-b
BREAKGROUND-c

SUM OF THE PARTS

After the name and wordmark were decided, we started to conceive of the various sections and columns. We knew better than to “reinvent wheels” like feature articles. But we were also compelled to infuse some novel ideas into the familiar, such as gadget reviews within a three-act narrative, helpful tips in the form of a comic strip, and imagining the evolution of a technology from the perspective of the innovator.

APPTECH

We felt that enmeshing gadget reviews into a simple three-act fictional story could add context, energy, and a little humor to otherwise inert objects.

The selected items would guide the story, which then directed the photoshoots. Spreadsheets turned out to be an efficient way of delivering all of the information and copy for final review and implementation.

Additionally, while it wasn’t always necessary, a rough mock up with all of the copy on the page provided initial guidance for the layout.

Final Designs
(iPhone version)

iPhone-apptech-cover
iPhone-apptech-1
iPhone-apptech-2
iPhone-apptech-3
iPhone-apptech-item

WHERE THE HAMMER MEETS THE NAIL

We found that guidelines and instructions could be a deep reserve for mining comic strip content, providing value to the reader in the form of lighthearted entertainment. After devising the plot, I would script the dialogue and occasionally storyboard the panels. Since copy placement is key, I would also layout the script using the final art.

Final Designs (iPad version)

THEN | NOW | SOON

We were intrigued by innovations that thrived through the test of time and adapted to the changing world, such as traffic signals and hard hats. But instead of just listing out a history, we also suggested a likely future iteration based on current research and development.

Then we literally added another layer by inserting napkin sketches and handwritten notations to sort of “impersonate” the inventor.

Final Designs
(iPhone version)

iPhone-TNS-cover
iPhone-TNS-1
iPhone-TNS-2
iPhone-TNS-3
iPhone-TNS-note

PERSONALITY
IS EVERYTHING

Branding elements, such as the letter from the publisher, legend, and a sign off from the staff were designed to appear in every edition relatively unchanged with a strong personality to establish and reinforce a clear and consistent identity.

DearReader

THE PAYOFF

The entire gestation period lasted about six months. We submitted a prototype that garnered funding and a business plan, and then launched BREAKGROUND in the Spring of 2016 as a quarterly publication.

Cover-1
Issue-1
Cover-2
Issue-2
Cover-3
Issue-3
Cover-4
Issue-4

Last year, I co-created a digital publication called BREAKGROUND. The ambitious project was developed in-house at a software company with a very lean team. The goal was to create a brand of content that could appeal to a core customer base as well as a general audience. This is a brief look at the development process of the magazine.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The art director and I must have thought of a hundred names, 90 of which were terrible, ranging from the mundane to the whimsical. We presented a handful of what we believed to be the strongest options. The CEO ultimately selected BREAKGROUND, which was sensible and carried a nice double meaning as both noun and verb.

MARK MY WORDMARKS

The art director did the heavy lifting in the design of the wordmark, creating unique typographical treatments for each option, as well as mocking up faux cover layouts. I mostly offered over-the-shoulder input that was occasionally warranted. My greater contribution may have been the ideology copy that helped in the development of each concept and provided context for the CEO.

BREAKGROUND-a
BREAKGROUND-b
BREAKGROUND-c

SUM OF THE PARTS

After the name and wordmark were decided, we started to conceive of the various sections and columns. We knew better than to “reinvent wheels” like feature articles. But we were also compelled to infuse some novel ideas into the familiar, such as gadget reviews within a three-act narrative, helpful tips in the form of a comic strip, and imagining the evolution of a technology from the perspective of the innovator.

APPTECH

We felt that enmeshing gadget reviews into a simple three-act fictional story could add context, energy, and a little humor to otherwise inert objects.

The selected items would guide the story, which then directed the photoshoots. Spreadsheets turned out to be an efficient way of delivering all of the information and copy for final review and implementation.

Additionally, while it wasn’t always necessary, a rough mock up with all of the copy on the page sometimes initial guidance for the layout.

Final Designs (iPhone version)

iPhone-apptech-cover
iPhone-apptech-1
iPhone-apptech-2
iPhone-apptech-3
iPhone-apptech-item

WHERE THE HAMMER MEETS THE NAIL

We found that guidelines and instructions could be a deep reserve for mining comic strip content, providing value to the reader in the form of lighthearted entertainment. After devising the plot, I would script the dialogue and occasionally storyboard the panels. Since copy placement is key, I would also layout the script using the final art.

Final Designs (iPad version)

WTHMTN-COVER
WTHMTN-PG1
WTHMTN-PG2
WTHMTN-PG3
WTHMTN-PG4
WTHMTN-PG5

THEN | NOW | SOON

We were intrigued by innovations that thrived through the test of time and adapted to the changing world, such as traffic signals and hard hats. But instead of just listing out a history, we also suggested a likely future iteration based on current research and development.

Then we literally added another layer by inserting napkin sketches and handwritten notations to sort of “impersonate” the inventor.

Final Designs (iPhone version)

iPhone-TNS-cover
iPhone-TNS-1
iPhone-TNS-2
iPhone-TNS-3
iPhone-TNS-note

PERSONALITY IS EVERYTHING

Branding elements, such as the letter from the publisher, legend, and a sign off from the staff were designed to appear in every edition relatively unchanged with a strong personality to establish and reinforce a clear and consistent identity.

DearReader

THE PAYOFF

The entire gestation period lasted about six months. We submitted a prototype that garnered funding and a business plan, and then launched BREAKGROUND in the Spring of 2016 as a quarterly publication.

Cover-1
Issue-1
Cover-2
Issue-2
Cover-3
Issue-3
Cover-4
Issue-4