Behind the Scenes: The Executives Behind OTD Magazine

A few words from the ladies behind OTD’s 2014 issues

On the Danforth is right around the corner! In anticipation for this year’s magazine releases, we talked to the Production Managers and the Creative Directors behind the spring and summer issues about their roles in the magazine.

Catherine Sim, Production Manager, Spring 2014 Issue

“While being involved with the production aspect of a magazine can seem menial to some, a great deal of thought and consideration goes into its elements, like selecting the type of paper on which the publication is printed.

“Essentially, I am a liaison between the printing company and the executives of On the Danforth. I organize and monitor everything that has to do with printing the magazine: quotes, budgets, schedules, and proofs. Each of the magazine’s departments have a different view on what the magazine should look like (60 lb. vs. 70 lb. text stock, perfect-bound vs. saddle-stitched, matte vs. glossy). Taking all those views and trying to agree on one format is not necessarily the easiest task.

“Being that this is the 10th anniversary of OTD, we had some fun exploring what kinds of special touches we could add to the cover of the magazine. Quotes for foil stamping, spot gloss, and metallic inks were rallied up and mulled over in the executive meetings. In the end, we all agreed that Spring’s Creative Director, Martha Harbell, was completely capable of making an anniversary seal to commemorate the magazine and celebrate this milestone.

OTD_seal copy

“As the printing date quickly approaches, and each department wraps up and submits their final files, the best part of my job begins—visiting the printers. Here, I have the opportunity to get a bird’s-eye view of all that goes on during the printing process while also ensuring that the final results of what my talented colleagues have worked so hard on is up to par and a proud reflection of all that’s on the Danforth.”

Jaaron Collins, Production Manager, Summer 2014 Issue
(Jaaron is also responsible for the cover art of the Summer 2014 issue.)

“Working as the production manager for On the Danforth has been an interesting and exciting learning experience. I chose this position because of my strong interest in the production process of putting the physical copy of the magazine together. I have worked in partnership with the other production manager and I have been in contact with some wonderful people who work at various printing companies. I’ve had to review the layout of articles in the magazine, obtained quotes for various versions of the magazine, had a hand in selecting paper qualities, and closely monitored the schedule of each department to ensure that our files make it to the printer on time. The role of production manager has enabled me to get a taste of each department and to work closely with each to make sure that the team’s goals and visions for the magazine are met.

“The best part about working as production manager has been the opportunity to be informed and partake in each aspect of the magazine. I have had the chance to attend editorial and design meetings. I’ve watched the magazine take its shape from an idea all the way to a tangible product. It’s thrilling to see the work of each individual come together into a beautiful collaborative creation. What’s most exciting for me is that this position on the magazine has given me the passion to pursue production as a career. I love seeing how each department progresses and how everything culminates into a finished product. I’ve learned a lot, but I’m eager to continue learning more.”

Martha Harbell, Creative Director, Spring 2014 Issue

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Heather Attewell, Creative Director, Summer 2014 Issue

“As the creative director, my responsibility is to create the look of the summer issue of On the Danforth. I work closely with the editor-in-chief to understand her vision of the written content in order to create a look that matches. The process starts early with brainstorming and collecting inspiration—such as colour schemes and fonts—while ensuring the design is appropriate for the Danforth community. Once the template is in place, the design team shapes the editorial content into designed articles, all while keeping a cohesive look throughout. I communicate between the executive team and my art director, whom I work closely with, to guide the team throughout the process to make sure all the pieces come together to create one cohesive magazine (of course it’s not always so straightforward).

“I’ve always loved the creative process and graphic design, so this has been an exciting experience—both fun and challenging, from the brainstorming to the printed product. With tight deadlines, the design has to move forward even as changes occur to the editorial content. We also need to keep space for the advertisements, though they continue to change as well. Our photographer worked hard to capture the necessary images—not easy when you need summer photos in the middle of winter! So many pieces need to come together in the design section alone.

“This is the first time that many of us have collaborated on a publication like this, and I have been really impressed with our design team especially, given that our schooling is not particularly design-focused. Everyone has come together in spite of the challenges and created a magazine that is fun and vibrant, and perfect for the Danforth community.”

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