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VC Family Album pages

VC Family Album pages

VC Family Album pages

If I was starting teaching now and I knew what I know about this assignment, I would make every student in every class do 3 - 5 of these projects every semester. Document field trips, speakers, assignments, best solutions, semester portfolios. And I would put them in an album. Then I would give the gazillion pages to some outstanding Special Collections focused on education. Princeton would be a good one because John Nash taught there and the photo at the top is from the results of this assignment done by Ari Garber (VC'05).

  • every assignment, focusing on 3 to 7 of the top solutions
  • every student would do a page for a final portfolio showing all of their final work for every assignment
  • every field trip (maybe 3 students would each do one so we could get different points of view) and I would find excuses to take field trips
  • every speaker and I would find excuses to get speakers in front of my students
  • every film viewed in class, and I would show documentaries, feature films, and shorts
  • an explanation of every textbook and maybe every reading
  • every weird class and I would find excuses to make them happen

In the end, it would be the best and most thorough journal about teaching that ever existed. Starting day number  1 and going through day number ?

 The journal itself, closed—a kind of heavy metal design journal.

The journal itself, closed—a kind of heavy metal design journal.

 the journal pages revealed

the journal pages revealed

If I looked back on my entire teaching career and could go back and do one assignment better, it would be the Visual Communications Family Album pages.

The idea for the project came from Rose DiSanto (VC'83) who was teaching a course for us, replacing another faculty member on sabbatical. It was a project set up with a heap of rules.

  • 11" x 17"
  • A rule ran horizontally right through the middle of the page
  • main typefaces were Didot and Avenir
  • seek inventive design while working in an unforgiving format under a lot of restrictive rules

VC family album

Individual pages may have specific guidelines or needs. For instance a page about a writing class might need more words, but a page about a photographer might need more images.

Click here for an index of some examples (appears to the right) of pages designed by Ray Nichols to see some design issues he thought were important for those events.

It is important to remember that pages can be used in three ways.

  • As pages in the mother VC family album where it will be one of probably 200 pages per book and then multiple books that will develop over upcoming years.
  • A page for an event can be used as a thank you. The pages are 17" x 11" but are printed on 19" x 13" sheets. This provides some blank area around the image so that participants in the event can sign the page. The page will then be given to people to be thanked. Hopefully, they will keep it around and be reminded of their interaction with us.
  • A set of pages can be gathered and used as a mini-book with a particular focus. This can also be given as a thank you. A good example is the VC / London trip. We will do individual pages for all of our visits (which will be given to them) along with a set of all of the pages to the Center for International Studies as a document recording the trip. We might also keep a separate book in VC for students to look at without having to deal with the mother-of-all-journals version.

One additional point worth making is the importance for subjects for such pages so that we will have an excuse to design them. It is the design experience we are looking for. The rest of it is just helpful to do.

You'll need 3 stuffed files (InDesign template and the two dominant typefaces Didot and Avenir) to produce pages using these rules and guidelines.

ALL pages in the book MUST:

  • be created in InDesign from templates provided (page size 17" x 11" horizontal only) and used provided stylesheets whenever logical and possible
  • be designed with a safe area (within where text falls) which falls on a 12p margin from left side trim and 3p margin from top, bottom and right side trim
  • text must incorporate any details which are necessary to placing the page content into the correct context as part of the VC history story (date, their participants / titles, VC participants, place, etc.
  • include a .2 pt horizontal rule always centered (33p below top trim) across the page ( the rule is locked into template). There are instances when you might rather have the rule pass behind an image.
  • have one headline set in Didot Roman (see image below), 48 point, 100% black and positioned vertically as dictated by the supplied master page using the appropriately supplied stylesheet. The bottom serifs of the type align tangentially with the .2 rule with the typography in front. The headline may be positioned anywhere along the line. 
  • incorporate 1 – 3 characters (no more or less) in any font other than Didot Roman in any form. It is important to choose a font that contributes to the design of the page. Additional care should also be taken with sizing and kerning the type.
  • incorporate a single line of explanatory type in Avenir Black, 12 pt, any color, which must sit just under (the .2 rule must align with the x-height of the text as dictated by the supplied master page) the horizontal rule using the appropriately supplied stylesheet. The text may fall anywhere along that line

This is what the type looks like together. The Didot sits exactly on the rule and the Avenir Black explanatory line is in front.

  • set all main body text in Avenir Book (click here to see Avenir Book) 8.5 / 12, 70% black, with an extra 3 points between paragraphs using the appropriately supplied stylesheet
  • As a general rule columns of text should align vertically and horizontally (there are instances when you might want to break this rule, but without such an intent this rule should apply)
  • print on the front of super A3 size Epson Premium Luster Photo Paper (19" x 13") and trim to 17" x 11"
  • must show a credit line which begins with "Page design:" and ends with " / DEsigners." There are spaces on both sides of the "/". Following the colon, specific tasks performed by others is to be listed (i.e., Page design: Raymond Nichols; retouching: Hendrik-Jan Francke; copy: Robyn Phillips; photography: Bill Deering."

All pages in the book CAN:

  • care must be taken to use understandably named files and supporting images
  • files should be well-organized in appropriate folders
  • the designer of any page must supply a folder containing all images (typically, at least 300 dpi at the size used) and any typefaces used beyond Avenir and Didot to the caretaker of the VC family album master copy pages (typically in the form of a CD with all of the appropriate files)
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The Lead Graffiti logo

Our first letterpress piece

Our first letterpress piece