Our Designing Woman

Anne Frank wrote, “No one ever became poor from giving.” This is especially true of our volunteer staff at Little Patuxent Review. Each works tirelessly behind the scenes to read your submissions, edit the draft and design the final printed journal. In other words, it means something to them when your work gets published (almost as much as it does to you). Our submission period opened on August 1, so I thought it might be a great opportunity for you to meet them. Over the next several months, look for fun and interesting posts about our stalwart volunteers.

Deb Dulin, 2015.

Deb Dulin, 2015.

Deb Dulin became LPR’s designer in 2011, and the legend of her joining is worth retelling. Co-publishers Mike Clark and Tim Singleton were meeting with then-editor Laura Shovan on the lower level of the Ellicott City Barnes & Noble book store. The journal’s designer had just resigned and Mike was lamenting this loss. Deb, heavily pregnant at the time, leaned over the balustrade and said down to the group, “I’m a designer.” The rest is LPR history. We’ve been grateful for her fabulous work ever since!

When you design the issue, how do you start? We start with a cover design to release in advance of the issue. For the interior pages, I work from beginning to end. There is at least one or two poems in each issue that have very specific requirements for layout, and I work with Steven and the contributor to get as close as possible to their original intent while working within our print guidelines.

What’s your process for selecting the cover? The cover is a collaborative decision among the art editor for each issue, Steven and myself. They narrow down the artist’s selections and then I review each piece to determine the best fit for the cover. The cover itself is secondary to the artwork presented on the front. More often than not, the chosen piece is not perfectly proportioned to a 6” x 9” publication, so I determine how to present it in such a way that the rest of the front and back covers complement the chosen selection. Color options are selected from the art’s palette, and we narrow it down to the final look.

When you’re creating a layout, what draws you in most? To me, layout design is problem solving and each issue is a unique process. For designing the journal, there is a lot of background work in placing text within a text box, but then making several adjustments to create maximum readability. With poetry pieces, there is compromise on longer lines of copy—we work with the poet to make layout adjustments that retain the meaning and look of their work. For the more creative pieces, such as promotional postcards, I enjoy finding ways to make each one unique while retaining certain elements that make LPR recognizable—the logo, the fonts, etc.

What makes you cringe when you look at a poorly designed layout? Text that is over or under kerned (words that are very stretched out or too tightly squeezed in). Or words that have unnaturally large spaces between capital A, V or J and the next letter.  I have to suppress the urge to manually adjust the letter spacing!

Who has informed your design tastes most? Why? Paul Rand has created so many iconic brands that have stood the test of time. I try to follow the philosophy that good design is timeless—you might be able to spot the trendy font or stlye, but it shouldn’t be badly dated within 10 years. I also enjoy reading Brand New (http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/), which is edited by Armin Vit. It’s a good source of constructive criticism of logos and brands of all sizes and nationalities. He covers major companies but also highlights smaller studios that do very creative work.

Do you doodle in your spare time? I do! I have three different sketchbooks at the moment—a spiral-bound book, one with grid squares, and a pocket-sized Field Notes. My projects tend to be scattered throughout, depending on which one is most handy when I get inspired.

What’s on your nightstand right now to be readBrandraising, by Sarah Durham, Color for Designers by Jim Krause, The Three Marriages by David Whyte, and Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. I have a lifelong habit of reading several books at once.

Are you also an artist/writer/poet? If so, tell us more. I dabble in watercolor, charcoal and pencil drawing. One day I will commit to painting and drawing on a regular basis!

What’s your Six Word Memoir: Work in progress, excited for tomorrow.

Do you have any superpowers? If not, what do you wish you had? The Force would be pretty useful in my day-to-day living. If that’s not an option, I want to understand animals. I would love to know what my dog is thinking.

Online Editor’s Note: As Little Patuxent Review approaches its 10th Anniversary, we’ll be showcasing past covers in the upcoming months. Be sure to let us know which were your favorites and why.

One thought on “Our Designing Woman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s