September 18, 2013

282: The Cover Story

The organization that I work for, Ducks Unlimited Canada, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and I was tasked with the design of a special-edition issue of its members' magazine, Conservator. This in itself was not a surprise; I've handled design of sixty issues of the publication in English and French over the past 14 years. But this edition afforded me to expand beyond its typical 30-40-page length and really establish a solid visual theme and aesthetic over a publication double its normal size. Again, not the biggest whoop in design circles – but a wonderful opportunity for me. It was a great edition to be a part of.

The issue's theme – Our Bold Present, Our Promising Future – required some thought in particular, for a cover concept. Vibrant, busy, collage-based ideas were bandied about, but I was of the mindset from the get-go that the theme should be represented by a single, strong image that could cover several bases: present/future, youth/the next generation, the outdoors, recreation, conservation and of course, ducks and waterfowl. And be iconically Canadian.

(Iconically… is that a word? I'm checking. Yes, I think so. Kind of. Iconically.)

I knew of a candidate image almost immediately, that I took of Kerry's nephew Duncan near his cottage at Lake Athapapuskow, Manitoba, in 2011. He was fishing from a neighbour's dock with his dog on a summer evening at sunset, and I came along to watch and take photos. It was a beautiful time.

For the magazine cover, the image underwent only minor tweaking: cropping, some cloud removal and extension of the sky tones to enable placement of the headline copy and masthead, dodging/burning and most noticeably, the digital addition of a small, silhouetted flock of ducks. I did not reveal that I had taken the photo until after production, lest it sway opinions during the magazine's various stages of editing and approvals. The headline typeface is Gibson Bold.


Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to comment on this since you posted. What a gorgeous cover... iconic, Canadian, an awesome meld of photo and type. NICE!

Anthony Woodward said...

Looks great!