Making Interface

This is Part I. Part II coming soon.

In case you missed it, I made a thing. It’s called Interface.

It’s a co-creation with my good friend, writer Cecilia Johnson. Cecilia is a staff writer for 89.3 The Current’s blog, Local Current. We’ve worked on a lot of assignments and shared a lot of experiences together. Interface is a kind of culmination of a year of growing, listening, and wondering together.

We devoted our first issue to introducing ourselves, what we’re thinking about. We focused on two features: a roundtable to discuss sexism in music, and an article about the erasure of teen girls from music media.

Interface, at least for me, is a form of wish fulfillment. My favorite editorial photography is the kind that appears in my favorite magazine, WIRED. Partly because that publication is so superbly designed, but also because they’re focus is both singular and broad. It’s a magazine that can span content from Spielberg puff pieces photographed by Platon to dissections of the Flint water crisis photographed by Dan Winters. Goes to say, WIRED has great taste. Creative taste. They understand that an article communicated as much with design as it can with words.

I took that inspiration in stride when I was contemplating how to design and photograph Interface.

For our roundtable, entitled “Thai Food,” it was a multi-pronged approach. Because the photographs would be accompanying a transcript, I thought it would be awesome to incorporate words into the photos. I started with buying a pack of Impossible Project film for Polaroid 600-type. I initially thought it would be cool to have the artists, Kerry, Tony, and Ness, sing their names on the bottom of the exposure. Admittedly, I forgot to have them sign, so I fixed it in post. Mistake – especially because I used their handwriting for the whiteboard photos.

I riffed on the idea of a photographic pull-quote, a staple of print that can be a bit of a crutch. I took notes during the discussion, listening for phrases that would make good graphics or good buzz. Each artist and I would pick three, I had them write it on the whiteboard, and then create a triptych in post.

A rough approximation of what I originally envisioned. Color wasn’t nearly graphic enough. Monochrome was also essential to the final product for a different, unexpected reason.

While goofing around with layout in Photoshop, I was playing with different layer blending modes just to see what would happen. That’s when this happened.

It worked for me. It was also in keeping with the pop-focused-aesthetic I was cultivating. I thought the screen-printed t-shirt idea for the photos would complement the pop-art-style dots I had used for the logo. Connections.

You can see the entire piece here, as well as the unedited transcript with the photos appearing in monochrome here.


Using Format