Document Design


While taking a Fiction Writing class, I wrote a short story about a 34-year-old woman who moved 3,000 miles from home in pursuit of a fresh start. In a later class, I took my short story and turned it into a two-page publication for a magazine. This radical revision required the application of design principles and elements in a layout design. I used Adobe InDesign to add pops of color, a photo (taken by a former classmate of mine, Di Chang), and a pull quote to give it visual appeal. The unifying strategies that I included were linear elements, multiple entry points into the document to engage the reader, and colors from the sunset photo to create balance between the two pages.

Figure 1: Two-page magazine spread


The history of the burger dates back to the 1800s in Hamburg, Germany. Two former classmates of mine and I created an infographic to tell the story of how the hamburger became what it is that we know today. The assignment was for my Applied Graphics class taught by Professor Hankey. Matthew Harlos created the graphics using Adobe Illustrator, Celia Fisher did the layout design using Adobe InDesign, and I provided the data and statistics that we included on the infographic.

History of the burger infographic
Figure 2: Infographic


This letter Z was created in Professor Hankey’s Applied Graphics class. I used Adobe Illustrator, specifically, the pen tool and clipping mask. We had to choose a favorite book and then create a unique letter using the first letter of the author’s last name. The letter needed to be the focus of the design and then everything else would be subtle additions. The book that I chose was Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair. In my design, I wanted to make sure that I brought in some of the character’s culture: scarves, the color purple, and the whimsical feel of henna-painted hands. As a Muslim-American woamn, she strattled two cultures. The newspaper fill inside the letter Zrepresents the importance of the character’s husband, a journalist.

Drop cap letter
Figure 3: Drop cap letter


Much like a two-page magazine spread, writing and designing a one-page article is an important skill for a technical communicator to master. For this project, I was tasked with creating several one-page articles that shared interesting information about billionaires. I created the graphs in Microsoft Excel and then used Adobe InDesign to create the layouts for each page. After identifying my audience (someone interested in billionaire statistics), I began by drawing thumbnail sketches and then determined the reasoning behind why I decided on my design concept. Once I’d completed the orientation, analysis, and conception phases, I then designed the layouts in InDesign and my layouts were ready to be implemented (i.e., put into a magazine).

Figure 4: China’s billionaires one-page articles