Design of the week: Parker Converse


Continuing an effort to juice up our A&E section with more creative designs, I strayed from our traditional look again this week – this time starting on p.1. Our cover story featured Parker Converse, a local woodworker whose hand-crafted chairs can run up to $35,000. Rather than running our usual large, rectangular photo on the cover, I chose to do a cutout of a photo of Converse in one of his chairs, removing the distractions of the background and emphasizing the beauty of the chair.

Playing First Chair

Inside, we continued our use of multiple elements, i.e. by-the-numbers boxes, secondary photos and web teases. After hearing some advice from a design consultant, I tried a new, cleaner style for the by-the-numbers box, and I’m very pleased with the result.

Playing First Chair interior pages

Read the full story in Diversions in this week’s Sarasota and Longboat Observers, or online here.


Design of the week: Boyce Avenue


This week’s cover story in the Observer’s A&E section, Diversions, featured the Sarasota-based Manzano brothers of popular band and YouTube sensation Boyce Avenue. We decided a young, trendy band deserved a young, trendy design. I’ve been attempting to liven up the cover story designs in this paper lately – breaking out of my usual template but staying within the parameters of our style. For this story’s look, I drew some inspiration from the band’s own website. I got a lot of positive feedback in the newsroom on the end result. It’s my favorite design of the week!

Boyce Avenue Diversions

Read the story in this week’s Sarasota and Longboat Observers, or online here.

April Fools!


Every year, my newspapers put out special editions for April Fools. It’s something the staff looks forward to every year. We prank our readers by running fake stories on our first three pages, with a “gotcha!” note on page four. The stories are always rather outlandish, but contain just enough grains of truth that they might, just maybe, be real. This has been a tradition for several years, so most of our readers have come to expect the issue and get a laugh out of it. But every year we fool a few people who don’t make it to page four, and the hysterical results get published the next week.

This year, the reporters and editors outdid themselves with hilarious story ideas. But they all seemed to require some heavy Photoshop work – my weaker point in the Adobe Creative Suite. But one recent Photoshop success had given me a confidence boost, so I took on the assignments.

Some were easier than others. A brief about a dog fashion show on Siesta Key Beach required me to photoshop a tutu-sporting pug on the beach:

Paws-atively perfect

A brief about a study, for which the town of Longboat Key had spent a large amount of money, being gilded in platinum and diamonds required me to do just that, digitally.

Final ULI report is a gem for town
LBK_ULI before afterA story about the merging of two popular restaurants on Longboat Key required me to merge their logos:


Mar Vista and Moore’s to merge
PrintTo accommodate European tourists, a story claimed the direction of an already-congested traffic circle would be changed. I created a map to show drivers how to use St. Armands Circle with the new changes in place (this was done mostly in Illustrator, not Photoshop).

Circle puts new spin on traffic
A popular concert venue was to be converted to an obscure sports complex (“Eccentric Sports Promotion Network”), requiring a new signage. Two of the featured sports would be dodgeball and ribbon dancing.

City Commission OKs obscure sports stadium
VAN_WEZEL_ESPNThe island of Siesta Key decided to secede from Sarasota County. Here’s its new flag:

Siesta Key votes to secede from Sarasota County
And, the best for last… we wrote that Justin Bieber purchased the latest and greatest mansion on Longboat Key. Here he is outside Ohana House with his leopard-print Audi and chilling in the master bedroom.

Justin Bieber’s new baby: Ohana estate

OhanaBieberBedWant to know how people reacted to these stories? Find out here.