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Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health

2011 March 2
by Matt

Recently completed the front cover of a book by that title; I’m pretty happy with the design.

Front cover of 'Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health'

Not on sale yet, but it will be. Hang tight!

Yeah, I think this one turned out rather well. I actually felt pretty good about all of the design options I prepared for this one, but this was my favorite. I was particularly happy with the subtle color bars on the right hand side; there were some changes to my design, different type face e.g., but the color stripe was a hit.

The photos, unsurprisingly, were the subject of various client and authorial input. (That’s why I design so many covers with photos in relatively-simple boxes; best to expect photo substitutions and prepare for it in a way that won’t “break” the layout.) This is one of those projects which I mentioned a while back in a post about diversity in design… I’m not certain that the final five photos are really a superior “cross section” compared with my original choices (of which two remain), but they’re fine with me all the same.

One more interesting note about this one; in going back to finish the front cover I noticed a line of colored shapes I had created off in the “pasteboard” of my InDesign document. I created these while I was doing the original layout as an aid to getting all five photos arranged in a way that didn’t have all of one age/sex/skintone grouped together… it seemed like it would be helpful to just reduce the problem to abstract symbols like squares and circles.

Which is kind of funny, but I think it was helpful, too; I’ll have to remember that trick.

3 Responses
  1. March 3, 2011

    I think if you’re looking at a single design with a decidedly finite number of photos, I don’t know that there is a “superior cross section” per se. With only five individuals’ photos, it’s easy to see the metaphoric checkboxes as a viewer. I think we’re largely all culturally aware enough at this point to see there’s a deliberate attempt to show diversity. (Though not so culturally aware that an absence of diversity is really seen by non-minorities!) But with only five pictures, you can’t realistically hit ALL the folks you need to hit because you’re still looking at five individuals. The fact that you’re using photos of specific people instead of illustrations of types of people means that you haven’t gotten to Bushmiller’s “some rocks” yet. 🙂 That really can only work with either large group photos and/or a larger series of photos throughout an entire book or campaign.

    That said, I think the photos used here seem reasonably balanced and aren’t a bad cross section at all.

    I’m curious about your colored shapes/pasteboard reference, though. Wouldn’t mind seeing another blog post explaining that.

  2. Matt permalink
    March 3, 2011

    “…to see there’s a deliberate attempt to show diversity.” Yeah, I think you’ve nailed it there. Out of all the possible diversity of humanity, or even a subcategory like “children and adolescents,” a mere five photos can do no more than suggest the concept of inclusiveness.

    If that’s achieved… then it works. It’s a good example of something I was told long ago (which probably applies to a lot more than graphic design), “look at the big picture.” If client input calls for altering details in ways you, as the designer, would not have wanted to do, but the overall impression is largely unchanged? Then you and the client should both feel happy and no one has “lost.”

    And, since you requested a follow-up, I will definitely do so. Probably over the weekend.

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