The Insider’s Guide! (SPD Magazine Layouts)

For the 2014 Society of Publication Designers’ Student Design Awards (long name, I know), we were assigned to pick a category and design two spreads (including one opening spread). The category I picked was for a “CITY/REGIONAL MAGAZINE”, where I was given the headline “The Insider’s Guide: 10 places to eat, drink and hang out like a local in (name of city).”

For the purposes of photography, I chose to do my article on Vancouver. I didn’t want it to look like every other Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards spread, but instead I wanted to narrow it down to a specific aspect of Vancouver life. Below are some ideas I came up with (my scanner wasn’t big enough to fit my whole sketchbook, but the first column is exploring the idea of Food Trucks).


I narrowed it down to Cheap Eats and Food Trucks, but after some sketches, I realized I was basing my Food Truck sketches on spreads I have seen already about food trucks in other magazines. I figured I could do something more original with the cheap eats theme.


After consulting with my instructor about my thumbnails, we agreed that we liked the idea of a timeline or a clock-like chart that displayed the different locations based on whether you’d go there for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (morning, noon or night). The following are 5 sketches each of my opening spread and body spread.

I found myself struggling with the circular object in the middle of a grid, along with the surrounding labels for each portion of the circle. I knew I wanted to go for a more whimsical look (inspired by greasy spoon diners), rather than a sleek modern look. I made a moodboard that reflected this, and also included some layouts that utilized small text boxes instead of large body copy.


I then drove around Vancouver with my boyfriend, buying cheap food and photographing it for the spreads. I wanted my opening spread to look very neighbourhood diner-esque, so it is mainly photographic. I also used a napkin with a ballpoint pen to hand letter my title to drive home that greasy spoon restaurant theme. Overall, I think my spreads have potential, and with a little more time I think I could get to where I saw them initially in my head. I don’t think I fully resolved the issue of spacing using the grid while using the huge circular object in the centre, but I am looking forward to some feedback and suggestions from the class.




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