The NURJ is an annual student-produced journal that showcases outstanding research done by Northwestern undergraduates from across all academic fields. For two years, I was responsible for leading the art direction and print design of the 120 page issue. For my second year, I wanted to invest more in details that would elevate the quality, look and feel of the publication.
A big challenge this time around was the cover — it took many weeks of simmering until an idea came to mind. Since the Journal features a range of thesis topics, we usually have few figures to select from. I was captured by the Charging Bull sculpture in the Art History thesis “Creative Practice and Financial Crises in Contemporary America: Charging Bull and Occupy Wall Street”. Reminded of the posters that are involved in protests such as Occupy Wall Street, I decided to render the bull in a black and white duotone effect. By cropping the figure on the bottom, I found that the bull’s horns looked quite sinister, and revealed just enough information for the viewer to understand what the image is. The bright red cover came from bull fights and the feeling of panic and alarm in the heat of crisis. On the final printed cover, the bull is also embossed and slightly raised for dimension.
Next, I decided to commission portrait illustrations of our authors. In previous years, author information was either not included or simply a Q&A in text. While we initially asked our contributors to send photo headshots of themselves to use, they were pretty inconsistent in terms of the resolution, tone, pose, etc. I commissioned my very talented friend and colleague, Leslie Zhang, to illustrate their portraits instead. The “About the Contributors” section truly feels like it has its own place in the Journal, not an afterthought.
The publication of the Journal is always celebrated with a launch party. Here are a few promotional graphics I made, featuring James Edmondson’s Future Fonts typeface, Eckmannpsych.
→ See the 2016-17 issue of the Journal.