Posts tagged "design"

Opportunities of a lifetime can be a little intimidating

I’m so excited to have been given the opportunity to partner with The Chicago Tribune. Although I am a senior in college and well into my major, it amazes me how much I’ve already learned from my editor, Alex Bordens, in less than a week!

Currently working in Worcester has allowed me to get my hands on some great graphics work. The projects have tight deadlines, and with the rest of my team working in London, I was able to help Alex out with a few graphics that were due back in Chicago on Saturday. I was a bit nervous, but obviously I took him up on the offer and got right to work.

Slowly but surely I’m going to get faster and better with these programs. I picked up a venue graphic about ExCeL, London’s largest venue, as well as a small locator map and a swimsuit graphic that Emily, Sarah, Jen and I were given a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, because of the results of one of the races, it seems as though our swimsuit graphic won’t be running any time soon.  Looks like the athletes are actually talented enough to win medals without that fancy swimsuit worn in the Beijing Games.

Anyway, working with The Chicago Tribune also means I have to follow its style guide and overall flow of design, work, research, etc. This is a big jump from my usual work, which has always allowed me design freedom and never had a strong student-media focus.

This is a huge step for me, but one that I am happy to take. This fast pace and strict way of working is keeping me on my toes as well as allowing me to explore newspaper design. In the long run, I am confident that this work will improve my overall skills as a designer, and that is something I am excited for.

During the summer weeks when a few other designers and I worked with Alex, we found it difficult to send our files back and forth for editing. Having him here now brings us such relief. I know what to change right then and there, what works and what doesn’t, and what needs more attention—all bettering my understanding of the Tribune’s design style.

I’m still finding myself struggling to really go out and show what I can do. Maybe it’s some sort of stage fright or maybe it’s not—either way I am hopeful that I will be able just to relax and realize that this what I love to do. I shouldn’t hold myself back for fear of failure. Besides, producing multiple drafts doesn’t mean that I’m failing. It means that I am moving one step closer to the final product.

Lastly, can I just freak out about the fact that my name, alongside my peers’, will appear in bylines in multiple issues of The Chicago Tribune? OH MY GOSH.  I am so lucky and could not be happier to be in this position. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and one that is stationed in the city of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Best. Summer. Ever.

Annie Gonzalez |  Designer


Interactive map of London Olympic venues

By Annie Gonzalez and Liz Spangler  |  BSU at the Games

Click here to explore an interactive map of London venues for Olympic events.

Annie Gonzalez and Liz Spangler are senior journalism graphics majors at Ball State University. Follow Annie, Liz and the BSU team at @annie_gonz, @elspangler, @bsuatthegames and

Covering Games means stepping outside comfort zone

Although it wasn’t quite as far as London, the first story I wrote regarding the Olympic Games involved traveling. It was the first time I really had to travel to interview a source (except for when I commuted for my internship last summer), but the interview was only an hour away and was well worth the drive.

The story is about an Indiana Olympian who is now the mayor of Marion, Ind. Wayne Seybold competed in pair skating with his sister, Kim, in the 1988 Winter Games. I’ll admit that making the drive to meet up with someone I had never  met before in person was a bit intimidating. As a student journalist, most of my reporting experience has been very local. But Sara Schaefer, another student on our team, came with me to videotape the interview, so at least I had some company. We’re also both fairly outgoing, so that worked in our favor too.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mayor Seybold was more than willing to help with my story. He was patient enough to sit through multiple interviews with me and provide contact information for other sources. He even gave me a CD by a Marion musician!

I’ve just recently finished the final draft of the story. From here, our wonderful public relations team will work to get my story published in local media. Not only will this experience hopefully give me a published clip for my portfolio, but it’s also the beginning of a base of content for my portion of this Olympic Games project.

Most importantly, this story was a great place for me to start. A lot of the personal challenges I will face with this project will be stepping outside of my comfort zone. Reporting in a new place is always a little nerve-wracking—not to mention the fact that I’ll be in a foreign country during the single largest sporting event in the world. But like anything else, I’m trying to approach this with baby steps. Muncie to Marion was a great place to start.

Next stop: London.

Read Emily’s piece on former Olympian Mayor Seybold here.

Emily Thompson  |  Features Reporter


How we made our BSU at the Games logo

Our team of journalism, telecommunications and public-relations students have been working hard since the start of the semester to get the ball rolling for our trip this summer. Along with getting our Olympic projects together, we have to build our brand—BSU at the Games—to become a reliable source. If we don’t look like a legitimate team, we won’t be taken seriously once we’ve gone overseas.

With building our brand, a logo is very important. When talking about how we wanted our logo to look, we wanted to incorporate our name and the Olympics. One thing that jumped out at me is the torch. The torch is very symbolic of the Olympics, and I think it is very recognizable.

After hearing what our professors wanted and getting critiques from the entire group, I managed to make a logo that I believe captures the essence our team was looking for. My design was simple and to the point yet gave us a professional look. With help from the critiques and a fellow teammate, I adjusted transparencies to have more depth in the torch and flames. I loved a lot of the other designs my teammates created, but I’m very proud mine was chosen.

Creating a logo was just the first step in really branding ourselves. If we are going to be paired with large household news-media names, it is key that we demonstrate that we are doing exactly what they are doing for this opportunity.

Annie Gonzalez  |  Graphic Designer



Spending an hour with New York Times’ Joe Ward

Being on the graphics team for BSU at the Games is an incredible experience.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to go to London and strengthen my skills as a journalist as well as broaden my horizons as a person.

One of the ways that we’ve been preparing ourselves before we go to London is figuring out what type of graphics to make.  Last week, we had the opportunity to Skype with the graphics editor of The New York Times, Joe Ward.

Joe was very helpful when he spoke with the class.  He and his graphics team have created incredible graphics for coverage of past Olympic Games. Their projects range from interactive maps of medalists to video features of specific winners and sports.  Their concepts and creativity within the end product is simply amazing. We wanted to know how to pull off the same type of professional work and how to get our audience interested.

Joe’s advice was to search for interesting stories that are unique. When the Olympic GUames start, everyone will be covering who won each event and what times they scored.What Joe told us to focus on are stories that revolve around individuals–stories that people will remember. It’s not about the number of medals or certain times that athletes make; it’s about the emotions and the way they reached where they are  now.

I’m very excited for all the opportunities that this trip will give us, and I know that our team will create outstanding graphics that will be remembered. Joe was so helpful, and I’m glad we had the chance to get his opinion.

Jennifer Prandato  |  Graphic Designer