By: Isabel Vazquez
Hello and welcome to the first installment of our blog series, The Making of the Digital Literature Review. The Digital Literature Review is created though the hard work and contributions of all of its individual undergraduate members. These members are divided into three teams (Design, Editorial, and Publicity) at the start of each year, and they collectively work throughout the semester in order to edit, produce, and publish the Digital Literature Review. The start of school year begins with all the students studying a particular theme designated for that year, under the guidance of a professor. The next semester involves receiving submissions for the journal and readying them for publication.
In this post, we will cover the duties and responsibilities of the members of the design team, as well as have the team members share their personal thoughts and experiences about the immersive class. They will cover the challenges they’ve had to endure as well as their triumphs throughout the semester as they collectively worked to improve the image and design of Ball State’s Digital Literature Review.
The responsibilities of the Design team:
- Create flyers and handouts for the DLR and Gala event
- Create flyers for recruiting new members every school year
- Format the compiled journal for publication
- Work with InDesign, Photoshop, and other Adobe Creative Suite applications
- Choose, take, and edit photos for purposes within the journal
- Create an image design for the cover of the journal
Responsibilities and course work as a student in this immersive learning class:
- Study the material of the designated theme for the year
- Write for the DLR blog and possibly for the English Department blog
- Create a capstone project
Our Design Team members:
Daniel Brount, Team Leader, Junior
Isaha Cook, Senior
Alex Selvey, Senior
What made you decide to be part of the Design team? What parts of it sounded appealing?
Daniel: I really enjoy design, especially as far as trying to find the proper visual representations for things. It’s really interesting to think of different ways to represent something as complicated as slavery and to then translate that representation into something visual through InDesign. It was hard to think about how you represent slavery visually without causing any triggers or doing anything too one-sided? We didn’t want to make the visual aspect of the journal to seem too far in the past or too much about abuse, because there’s so many different elements to it.
Isaha: I decided to join the Design team because it gave me an opportunity to enhance my skill set in design and making images. I’ve had a lot of time over the years to practice with writing and editorial processes; that’s why I was gravitating more towards the Design Team just because I had already explored other elements of publication and here was this new world of design that I was learning about. This also would give me more skills to take and apply in a real-world job. I feel like I’ve become a more rounded individual; in terms of that, I can do the editing and also come up with a fun or a very serious design.
Alex: I joined the Design team because I had a bit of an interest in Design but wanted to improve my skills and learn more. Also, I really just wanted to learn to communicate with people effectively through visual media.
What kind of projects and work do you perform on the Design team?
Daniel: Last semester we worked a lot on the general image of the DLR. We updated our logo, made it look a little bit cleaner, a little bit more modern. We really reworked our entire website to try and build something that would really represent our professional aspect and the fact that we do have a different theme every year. We didn’t want it to look like just one thing. For example, the original design really played up that year’s theme, so that’s all that you saw on the website. Then we decided that the design we came up with could really stand the test of time. There’s a space on it where you can put the banner for that year, so you can still see what the theme is for that year without the whole website screaming “Slavery Now” or “Hauntings” or “Freakshow.” That should be pretty good for future years, so they don’t have to redo the website again.
And the rest was just advertising, doing the flyers, figuring out the exact layout of the inside of the actual journal itself, which involved questions, again, of how one best portrays the topic of slavery. We talked a lot about what colors we wanted to use, because we didn’t want it to be just black and white. What colors can we get away with? We didn’t want to use red because it makes you think of blood, and we didn’t want colors that seemed too racially focused. So, we went with a blue-gray theme. It was very neutral; it added vibrance to an otherwise potentially blank slate.
What do you most enjoy about being part of the team?
Isaha: I believe that focusing on making a professional presentation, especially with all of the documents and media we had to create over the semester, for me, was what I liked the best. Being a part of the team helped me realize that this isn’t something that I’m creating for just my teachers’ or peers’ eyes, which is something that you don’t really get in other college courses. With this, you get to think about who is going to happen upon our website and download this product that we worked so hard on, who is going to see all the things that we’ve done over the semester? To me, that was a driving force, to keep it really professional and just do the best work that I possibly could.
Was it difficult to balance this project along with other classes?
Alex: At times, it could be. But in general, this class is pretty comparable to an average workload of a normal class. Having work days in class is really helpful, however. At times it seems like it could be more, but in general it’s about the same as a regular class.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Digital Literature Review teams, look forward to our upcoming installments of The Making of the Digital Literature Review featuring the Editorial and Publicity Teams!
If you’re interested in joining the DLR Team for the upcoming issue, contact Dr. Joyce Huff.