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The Design of Sophomore Summer
Location: Rose O’Neill Literary House
Working at the Literary House this summer has been an experience I will value for, at the very least, the rest of my college career. I’ve met incredible writers like Julie Marie Wade, Julie Iromuanya, and Matthew Olzmann who were faculty at this year’s Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, learned invaluable skills when it comes to researching authors, and have eaten more Café Sado this summer than I had ever before.
While I am proud of all the work I did here this summer, I am most proud of the email advertisements that will be sent out to students and faculty to promote the various readings and events the Lit House is hosting over the course of the semester. While each poster is vastly different, you can still see the threads between those in the same series—the Sophie Kerr Series events all use the same signature font for the series title, the Literary House Series events all utilize the margins to create thick borders, the Writers-as-Editors Series events each have a whimsical or playful quality to them.
For as many posters as I could, I tried to incorporate the writer’s book covers—Jason Fagone’s posters are replicas of The Woman Who Smashed Codes cover, but using his face and adding the appropriate information for each of his events; Monica Ferrell’s poster is just her [absolutely stunning] cover of You Darling Thing with the event information added; Rebecca Makkai’s poster uses the margins to create a border filled with the sequence of lines from the cover of The Great Believers; Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poster incorporates the cover of her book Lucky Fish and uses blue pentagons to mimic fish scales around the title of the series and wrap around her headshot.
I am double majoring in English and art, so elements of design and creating visual works was not part of the on-job training I received, they are skills I have been working on since elementary school when I wanted to be an art teacher. What was, however, was learning InDesign. Working as an editor for the student newspaper, The Elm, since freshman year and being the President of Writers’ Union this past year have allowed me to watch other people use InDesign in various capacities—watching Monday night layout for The Elm or helping Writers’ Union Vice President Justin Nash design all of our event posters—but I never used it myself. Looking at what last year’s interns, Tamia and Gabby, did, I got a feel for what was being expected of me, but it wasn’t until I got into the thick of things that I realized what direction I would go in. I wanted my posters to reflect the writers and be eye-catching, to give information about the event but also make the writers and their work the major draw of the posters, hence using their book covers to make the posters.
There are many skills that I have cultivated, developed, and expanded upon while interning at the Lit House this summer—practically breaking my back to get perfect pictures of students and faculty printing Julie Iromuanya’s broadside at the Conference, doing a Twitter takeover to promote Cherry Tree submissions opening, etc. Learning how to use InDesign was something I wanted to do for a long time, and I’m glad I was finally able not only to use it, but to build a solid portfolio of work that will help me in the future. This summer has been a lot of fun, and I will definitely miss the Lit House for the two weeks that I’m off campus.