Designing my first cover package on the class of 2025

I was so excited a few weeks ago when I was asked to design the package for the cover story last week. I know it’s not that big of deal, but it was a first for me! The story was about the class of 2025 and what education will look like in the future.

I wanted the opener to mimic the look of a classic graduation announcement, but to add a modern touch with the arrows and questions. We had beautiful photos that were shot by Peter Hapak that were so fun to use. The kids were all so adorable!

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I was excited about doing this grid on the second spread. It was a fun way to showcase these faces and really put a face to the story along with mixing in some shocking statistics. Although I have to admit, there was a printing error with this page — I didn’t make the black boxes a rich black – just black. So they printed slightly lighter than the kids did. I was so mad at myself when I picked it up, but definitely learned a lesson and will never do that again!

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TIME’s graphic guru Lon Tweeten and graphic researcher Emily Maltby created this infographic. The topic was so wide that there was a lot of back and forth before finally deciding on showing this set of information. I think it turned out beautifully, and is fascinating information to visualize. Emily researched for hours finding and double-checking sources for this and all her hard work paid off. And poor Lon actually had strep throat when he drew this graphic! Props to him. It’s funny, when you casually flip through a magazine you really have no idea how much blood, sweat and tears went on behind the scenes to put what you’re seeing on the page. I’m sure everyone in the industry can attest to that!

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There was a secondary essay along with this piece about the move towards digital education. I hired illustrator David Schwen and was so happy with his work! The pieces coming out of the book are actually made out of paper and hung very precisely with string. He was fun to work with and created a beautiful visual for a non-visual topic.

Working on a story this big with so many different pieces was so fun and very rewarding in the end.

I was happy with the final product, but I would love to hear your feedback!