Last week I finished up my first big project for the Star-Advertiser. It was a tough one, not only because of the topic but because I was taking a leap back into creating graphics. Not just 1 or 2 graphics. Try 12. And they were the main visuals on 4 days worth of inside spreads.
It was a series on Child Protective Services in Hawaii and I was put in charge of the layout and visuals. I really wanted to do this series justice. The reporter did a wonderful job. That also means he was extremely thorough. I had more data than I was sure what to do with. Luckily, he organized it by day and I really didn't have to hunt for a thing.
We have an incredibly talented graphics staff, but I really wasn't even sure what to ask of them. The pages I was designing had a jump, a sidebar, timeline, other pull outs and graphics. I was overwhelmed. Rather than ask them to change the size (more times than is acceptable) and to make them visual (in a way I wasn't even sure of yet), I gave it a go. It was part of my major in college after all.
After I built them (I stopped keeping track of hours on this), I worked with a few coworkers to polish them up. This all helped me gain some confidence back that I didn't realize a big move could pull out of me.
Back in my comfort zone, I'm really happy with the way the main image turned out for each day. Day four, "Adoption," is my favorite. The overall concept was that children are delicate (especially in the cases referenced - they died and/or are missing), and paper dolls are delicate. The stories in this project were more than heartbreaking. They made me angry that people were able to be be so cruel and evil. And made my heart go out to those who tried to make these cases have a better outcome. I made one doll smaller than two others to represent the family unit. I wrinkled the small one a more than the others to represent the abuse and I carried the wrinkled paper theme through the pages. It took three photo shoots, countless paper dolls, a patient photographer and helpful creative minds. We finally nailed it.
I'm still tired a week later, but the time spent on the project was well worth it. And there are warm beaches everywhere I turn to recuperate. So that helps :)