The last issue of “OC METRO”, a new era

Getting ready to prepare the new chapter of my career, here’s a sneak peek of the last issue of “OC METRO” before we officially become “OC Register Metro.” A recent acquisition of Churm Media by Freedom Communications Inc., owners of Orange County Register, has put a new spin on the magazine. Our new mission is Inspiration and Leadership.
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OCMETRO July 2009 Cover

What do Island Cowgirl Jewelry, Related Grey, Innovative Results and Carl Warren & Co. all have in common. This cover of course! Sheesh, sometimes I just gotta spell it out for ya. Shot by the ohh-so-talented Challenge Roddie, this cover pulled 4 very different industries together in one studio to hit a home run concept. Plus, the little dog, Dexxy, didn’t poop on anything, so there’s that!

Feature story layout 3-2011

I probably should have marked this with ‘mock’ or ‘concept’ because as you may have noticed this doesn’t actually appear in the 3-2011 issue of OCMETRO. What’s that? You don’t have the March issue of OCMETRO adorning your coffee table. For shame! I digress. Sometimes the limitations of dense stock photo heavy pages is the bland, “I’ve seen this before” quality you get with the available choices. So, when a gem like the above comes along the opportunity is not to be missed… or so I thought. Silly me. Not living in the ‘I’m the king, me, me, me’ world I wish I lived in as a creative director, there’s always someone higher on the food chain that has the power to veto, and veto they did. Luckily concept can live on in blog. HUZZAH!

slashdot /. the magazine

Prepping my team at Churm Media for the big switch from Quark 8 to InDesign CS5 (Hallelujah!), I assigned the project for everyone to design a magazine cover using exclusively InDesign and supporting Adobe products, for photo retouching/manipulation. They were given free reign, with the one caveat being that it had to look like a magazine cover, not an art piece. Being a team player I to took part in this exercise. Drawing inspiration from, quite possibly, the best news site on the internet, I set my goals at creating a cover for slashdot. Their tagline says it all, “News for nerds. News that matters.”. Being a long time follower of the site, and getting 90% of my conversation topics their as well, I knew that I wanted a cover subject that would ‘fit’. John Stewart immediately jumped to mind and my search of google images began. Maybe not the obvious choice for a “nerd news” magazine, but the guy has brains and wit to match … I knew the fit would work. Once I had the idea, the rest was a breeze.

Design then and now: Playboy covers

Playboy 50\'s CoverPlayboy 50\'s CoverPlayboy 50\'s CoverPlayboy 50\'s CoverPlayboy 2000\'s CoverPlayboy 2000\'s CoverPlayboy 2000\'s CoverPlayboy 2000\'s CoverThrough a little bit of link surfing I came across a page called Xpozio and tripped onto these above Playboy magazine covers. I thought it was so interesting to see how our culture has changed so much in just a short 50 years. The old covers at their time were probably considered risque and exposing, but compared to the covers of the 2000’s they seem like a child’s paint by numbers!

Working as an Art Director for Churm Media and designing covers for OC Family magazine and IE Family magazine it’s part of my job to stay up to date and current with magazine design, so when i see something as extraordinary as this national magazine undergo such huge changes it makes me take a look back at the short 10 years that Churm Media’s Family publications have been around and how much they’ve grown and evolved (to come in a later post, it’s on my to do list)

Portfolio: 1-08 Feature Story Spread (ADHD)

Title: 1-08 Feature Story Spread (ADHD)

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark & Photoshop

Time Span: 3-6 Hours

About: A small feature story (full story on that was run in OC Family magazine.

Designer Notes: Point. Set. Match. I wanted to design something fun, but serious. I think the content speaks for itself, thanks to the editor Lynn Armitage, and the layout lent itself to the imagery making it fun to read, even though the subject matter is anything but. Children’s health issues are always a huge concern for parents and i wanted them to get a sense of connection with the story, not just pages of information, but something showing that there’s people out there who care and have dealt with this issue too.

Portfolio: 12-07 Feature Story Spread

Title: 12-07 Feature Story Spread (Annual Family Photography Contest)

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark and Photoshop

Time Span: 4-8 Hours

About: Throughout the year OC Family and Inland Empire Family magazines run a feature called Picture perfect, which collects submissions from readers of their children’s photographs. Come December of every year they run an annual feature for the winners. Read, and see, the entire 2007 story on

Designer Notes: My idea was to make this layout look like a worn family scrapbook or photo album. Seeing as this was an annual feature purely dealing with reader submitted photographs, i wanted to make it look fun and inviting. I used a parchment paper background and an image border with frayed edges, to simulate those wacky scissor cuts that people do now. End result, i’m happy with.

Portfolio: 2-08 Feature Story (Full)

Title: 2-08 Feature Story (Full)

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark, Photoshop and Illustrator

Time Span: 4-8 hours

About: Feature story layout for the OC Family’s annual travel issue (February). The full story can be read here, on

Designer Notes: The challenge with this feature story was to really break the boundaries of Churm Media’s regular layouts for OC Family & Inland Empire Family magazines. I tried to look at it from the point of view of being tired of the same old thing. Using a mix of stock photography and some great photographs taken by the writer, and then Executive Editor, Craig Reem, i was able to really step out on my own and land a great layout design. The push of deadline nipping at my heels was always a reminder as well of how it IS possible to churn out great product when deadlines are creeping up around the corner

Full story layout after the jump

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Portfolio: 12-07 Cover Story Layout Spread

Title: 12-07 Cover Story Layout Spread

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark, Photoshop

Time Span: 4-5 Hours to completion (entire layout (8 pages))

About: Every year Churm Media puts out it’s annual issue in OC Family & Inland Empire Family Magazines. This year was the “20 Best Totally Terrific Toys”. Yes, I know, that’s two too many adjectives, but what are you going to do? What client wants, client gets.

Designer Notes: This entire layout was quite the piece of work for photoshop clipping masks! Boy do i love still having to be lulled down by the back and forth of Quark to photoshop… when will they learn that InDesign is the bridge between that gap! But, what doesn’t kill us as designers, will make us always remember the golden rules…. never, EVER, EVER use Papyrus in your designs. You have (or should have) and entire library of fonts, GET CREATIVE! And also, learn from our clients blunders. By the time i finished this layout i knew the intimate ins and outs of the photoshop pen tool. I even “took it out for a romantic seafood dinner… and never called it again!”

Champ Kind: I will take Dorothy Manstooth out to a nice seafood dinner and NEVER call her again!
Wes Mantooth: Dorothy Mantooth is a Saint!
Ron Burgundy: Hey, let’s leave the mothers out of this.