Design of the universe

Dear Amazon…


Is it because I live in Utah that you decided I should order lime Jell-o?

The only way would be to make my lime Jell-o, marshmallow, cottage cheese surprise.

I think not.

Bridal Guide 2013

The Summer 2013 Bridal Guide is on stands now! Getting the magazine ready for BYU students to enjoy has been a fun, but stressful process. Most people can’t say they go to work everyday and plan a wedding, but we get to do that! Mind you it’s not easy. We put in a lot of work and time to make the Bridal Guide perfect. From finding the ideal picture to using the right font, we think about every detail and possible fault. We started the process of developing the Bridal Guide in Fall 2012 and went to print in late March 2013.

Writing Stories

The Bridal Guide features stories from the BYU Feature Writing class. The students wrote articles for a grade and then submitted them to the Special Sections Coordinators. We chose articles that had high visual appeal and applied to our audience of BYU brides. Once we decided which stories to keep, we edited them to be what you read in the magazine.

Our staff also wrote stories, which allowed us to work with designers during the writing process so we could generate content that matched their layout ideas. Working with the designers is great- we get to bounce ideas off of them for stories and they consider our opinions on how to visually present them.

Choosing Photos

Finding the perfect photographs to accompany stories is a challenging, but rewarding process. We had at least one week where everyone scrolled through local wedding photographers’ websites and blogs searching for the best cover pick or photo for the dress spread. Every photo that we choose must meet stringent guidelines, both aesthetically and in terms of content standards.  It can be difficult already to find a beautiful photo with proper lighting, but it can be especially hard to find one where the dress is modest, the couple displays appropriate body language, the temple is respectfully represented, etc.

The pictures we do feature tend to be from photographers based in Utah Valley. We include their contact information so brides who like the photos in the Bridal Guide can actually hire the photographers who took them.

We also take some photos ourselves. Our head designer, James Gardner, photographed the ring spread using rings from various BYU students. He also took pictures of Graphic Designer Tom Busath and Sections Coordinator Britania Busby. Tom and Britania are getting married in May at the Los Angeles Temple, and the Universe staff congratulates them on their upcoming nuptials.


Of course Brad had to model for us as well.

Here’s Tom in a candid pose for the camera

This was Britania and Mandy’s first time working on the Bridal Guide, and both feel blessed and excited to be a part of such a fun publication and staff. Next up? The New Student Guide!

Bridal Guide

We have been working hard recently to get the BYU Bridal Guide finished. We sent proofs back yesterday and Warren is doing press checks today. Though editorial content is important, in our experience, the Bridal Guide’s strength is gained or lost in its pictures. We have a lot of local photographers to thank for art, but we also like to include a little bit of our own work.

Here is an example of one of the rings we photographed ourselves which didn’t make it to the final draft.

One of several rings borrowed from BYU Students to be photographed

One of several rings borrowed from BYU Students to be photographed

Photoshop It

This is the photo we were given-as shot

This is the photo we were given-as shot

One of the editors asked us to help with a little photo illustration for a story about saving money buying produce.  The original photo they sent over looked a little bit less than delicious.  That is probably due to the the combined facts that, we are used to seeing photoshoped images of food, and also it is winter and the produce selection is limited.  Either way, we can’t run an undelicious image, so we had to do a little work on it.

More tasty looking version

More tasty looking version

After the apple was a little tastier looking, then we just threw some money inside.

Finished Photo Illustration

Finished Photo Illustration





Housing Guide Treehouse Blueprints

Plans for treehouse

Plans for treehouse

I was cleaning off my desk and found the original plans for the Housing Guide treehouse.  Here are the plans as well as some additional shots from the building proccess

Side view plans for treehouse.

Front view plans


Reviewing shot list for Housing Guide shoot

Getting ready to put the roof on

Building the rope ladder

Fixing the house and deck to the tree

Cutting upholstery

Gun Control

Graphic for gun control story in BYU Universe

Graphic for gun control story in BYU Universe

The editors at the Universe came to us looking for a graphic to go with a story about international takes on gun control. This is what we worked up.  Did you know that Yemen has the second highest gun ownership rates in the world?  Check out the story here. There is some interesting stuff about Swiss policies on guns–and designers love Swiss stuff.

Polar bear sighting on BYU campus



A polar bear was sighted by the Widstoe building late Wednesday morning. A response team was sent out to tranquilize the animal. Once the animal was neutralized, the team then approached the bear and learned that it was actually not a live animal. No one was harmed in the incident, yet those pictured above were lucky to get out alive.


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The treehouse you always dreamed of

cover option4 wkbEach year, the Universe design team is faced with the feat of creating a new edition of the Housing Guide. To keep the magazine fun and interesting, each edition features a different theme throughout. After hours of brainstorming, elimination of ideas, more brainstorming, and more elimination, the treehouse theme was selected. The idea; to create a miniature treehouse with rope ladder and all. Each editorial page would feature a different room of the house, filled with miniature refrigerators, couches, and computers. The designers teamed up with Production to create each small item for the house, creatively using balsa wood as well as utilizing odds and ends such as the metallic ends of pencils.

IMG_2972The house suffered multiple natural disasters and rebuilds.


A few of the miniature items waiting to be placed on the set for shooting.


The crack team of photographers worked tirelessly on the multiple-day photo shoot.

With some hard work by all of the members of the team, a great housing guide has been produced. Look for the next edition of the Housing Guide on the racks of the WSC or BRMB today, or check it out online at The Housing Guide Website.

HG13 Page A Cover Revised


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The Design blog is BORN!!!

The Universe newspaper has a design team, and we are they. Check back for updates on projects, links of fun and inspiration, and other stuff we so choose. Please enjoy.