The Lantern
The Ohio State University's largest independent newspaper
Infographic Editor
August 2020 — May 2021
A preview of some of the work I've done at The Lantern so far...
What is The Lantern?
The Lantern is Ohio State's largest independent newspaper, comprised of 23 editors and other independent journalists, reaching tens of thousands of Ohio State students, alumni, and Columbus locals since it first published in 1881. This year, The Lantern's most significant work has been serving as our campus' bullhorn, covering and amplifying the calls for justice from the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement here in Columbus, and has been relentlessly covering the spread of COVID-19 since the start of March. 


My responsibility as a designer:
Throughout the last 10 months, I've worked closely with journalists, photographers, and designers on delivering motion graphics, infographics, illustrations, and layout designs that help translate complex data and information into an accessible format for the general public. 
My work mainly focuses around our newspaper's online "Special Projects" and bi-weekly print editions. Print editions are a collaborative process from start to finish and require all hands on deck, with our chief editor leading the charge. Special projects, on the other hand, are long format pieces that require more specialized teams, usually comprised of the journalists, and the managing editor and I, as co-designers. 

So far, I've worked on 26 different projects, ranging from a Title IX investigation, to voter turnout articles. 
Process Deep Dive:
Special Project "Title IX Investigation Part 1"
Tools used: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe XD, Wordpress, Divi Builder
Duration of project: 17 Days 

Team:
Ivan Kostovski - Visual Design Lead
Donovan Collins - Independent Designer
Jack Long - Web Design Lead

Maeve Walsh - Journalist
Sarah Szilagy - Journalist 
My role:
In collaboration with the team, lead the development of a consistent visual style guide that respects the sensitive nature of the project's topic.

In collaboration with journalists, identify key data pertaining to the article and translate it into a visual infographic.
01
Style guide development
Top: Exploration of Garamond and determining a base typesize for the article
Bottom: (Left) My initial Adobe XD prototype and color exploration | (Right) Final rendition 
Journalists' input was critical
With critical input from our journalists, a collective decision was made that the background was going to be black. The way we were going to tell the stories of the sexual assault victims was going to determine my approach to the main and supporting visual elements.
After a brief exploration of serif types, Garamond was chosen as the typeface for project. Proxima Nova was considered initially, since it's the paper's main typeface, but was quickly disregarded. The decision was made with web typeface constraints in mind — we needed a legible and accessible serif. As we determined the base style guide, it was time for me to tackle the second goal of the project: identify key data and communicate it visually. 
02
Identify and communicate data
My PDF of the article. This process usually includes lots of re-reading, highlighting and jotting down notes.
Identifying key data
Through out the 10 pages of the document, the journalists and I identified 5 key segments that we believed would be communicated clearly if accompanied by visual elements. 

Being the culmination of weeks of research, the journalists understand the contents of the article better than any designer on the team. It's common for them to acquire data sets that strengthen their article, that are later on communicated by myself through an infographic. We identified 4 quantitative data sets and one resource paragraph.
Visually Communicating the Data
Isolating the data sets in a manner as shown by the above allowed me to visualize the space needed to design the appropriate graphics. My design work started by creating a consistent symbol system that works for every data set. Data set 4 required particular detail in its symbol, as they are front and center in the graphic. A careful use of layout and Garamond do the heavy lifting in the other four data sets, with symbols acting as supporting elements. 
Proportional scaling the data was key in reinforcing the correct size of the populations on each survey and the victims of the crimes mentioned in the data sets. The graphs and diagrams will also be supported with percentage numbers to concretely communicate the data. 
03
Conclusion + Reflection
Reflecting as a team
The article was received with overwhelming support, but if we wanted to improve (and we did) we had to listen to the constructive criticism from our readers and colleagues.

Upon reflecting on the feedback we received from colleagues and readers, we came to significant conclusions that helped us going forward into part 2 of the project. Changes were made to the website interface, animation pace, colors, and promotion. 
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Bonus Words + Ideas
Journalism and information design during a pandemic
Approaching design in journalism as a UX problem
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the website has became The Lantern's main touchpoint with our readers. What used to be the golden rule of  "2 print nights per week" has became "maybe one special edition every month?". Our workplace has never been disrupted like this before and our team has had the luck (or curse?) to be on the frontier of discovering and curating the new experience for our contemporary readers. With that in mind, going into part 2 of the Title IX investigation, I took the opportunity to familiarize myself with Wordpress and Divi Builder (the tools that The Lantern uses) and become more involved in the web design process. Understanding the constraints that Jack (Web Design Lead) is working with helped facilitate a more productive working environment and has played a key role in the process of designing a more accessible experience for all readers. Working in an intimate, multi-disciplinary team like this has been an opportunity for me to grow as both a person and designer, and the Title IX investigation has proven to be an enriching experience and a reminder to the collaborative nature of design.