Magazine Spread for Homelessness in Idaho

For this assignment, we were assigned to create a magazine spread for an online article. I chose the article “Church Issues Statement on Homelessness” by Aida Tibbits on the BYU-Idaho Scroll website. Here is the link to the actual article:

The Message of the Design

I felt that the article was aimed at members of the Rexburg community who were able to make a difference by donating money, services, or otherwise. I wanted the design involved to portray alertness, but at the same time not be scary or intimidating. With that in mind, I used the color yellow to signify caution. (such as in stoplights, yield signs, etc.) But I tried to keep the overall theme light. Especially since in Rexburg there isn’t a lot of people without homes. I didn’t want the design to scare away people who could help in what ways they could in surrounding areas.

The Cover Page

The Picture

The front page was designed to introduce the topic. With an image of a homeless person sitting in the shadow of a house, and then the beginning of the article. It catches the readers eye. Especially with how the picture is taken. Using the Rule of Thirds, there is a lot of empty space, but the person is still prominent. This is assisted by leading lines that are created in the bricks of the house. The lines slope downward leading our eyes to the man. The text of the title is also used to frame the picture a little bit. Filling in unneeded space and focusing on the subject.

Contrast in the Design

I used contrast to separate the words of the title. They are in close proximity to one another, so we know that they are all part of the title, but I made the word “homelessness” stand out by making it a thicker font, as well as white with a drop shadow, so it pops out. It is one of the first things that attracts your eye, and when you look at it, you instantly know the subject of the article.

I also contrasted the colors used throughout the article. The yellow is contrasted with a cream color so that the yellow doesn’t become too overbearing to the eye.

The Spread

The contrasting aspects used on the cover are continued here in the spread. These colors create unity in the article, as well as the diamond that is utilized in the back of the cover, as the shape for the pull-quote, and at the end of the text. I initially used more of a checkered design with more squares instead of columns. However, with that design, it was hard to follow where the text was going. This layout makes it easy to follow the text down each column.


The fonts I used in the text were Palatino and Kannada Sangam MN as the body copy and headings respectively. The use of Palatino was mostly for readability, and the article would be easier to follow. I used Kannada Sangam MN for the headings because it not only contrasted with the body copy well, but I also liked how stark it was, with no serifs or transitions in stroke width. I felt it was subtly compatible with the message of awareness I was using. The headings were bigger to clearly show the change in the article

Picture on Spread

I used this picture because I felt it not only left the article with a more hopeful tone, but it also contrasted with the first image of hopelessness. I also thought that it represented ideas of what readers could do in addition to ideas conveyed in the text.

Wrapping Up

This project helped me learn some of the nuances of using Adobe InDesign and gave me experience in using it for real-world scenarios. It solidified deeper the principles of design (Contrast, Proximity, Alignment, Repetition.) It also helped me learn how to take and use my own pictures for designs.

My Photos

Both of these photos were taken by me and were taken for the purpose of this project.

Taken by Seth Daybell
Taken by Seth Daybell

Controlling Our Focus (or Along Those Lines)

This is another reverse-engineering post. This time I am going to be going over the rule of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field in photography. I have some examples from different photographers, and then I have some of my own pictures illustrating the same principles.

The Rule of Thirds

Picture by Shutterstock

The rule of thirds is used to line up subjects in an image to make them more aesthetically pleasing. Imagine a grid that splits the image into nine boxes. At the corners of those boxes is the prime place to line up subjects in a picture. Having lines in the picture (such as the horizon) line up with the edges of the boxes also is pleasing to the eye.

We can see in this picture how the Eiffel tower not only lines up vertically but horizontally as well along the bottom. This makes the image pleasing to look at. The trees and other buildings are located in the bottom third of the picture, which is also nice.

This is a picture I took in my backyard of our chickens. The picture looks nice, but there is a reason.

You’ll notice that both the chicken in the front and the chicken in the upper right are lined up using the rule of thirds. All of the other chickens are also in the top third of the picture. This organizes the picture, and it looks neat.

Leading Lines

Picture by Mickisha Caye

When we are talking about leading lines, we are talking about lines in a photo that guide our eye through the picture. Usually, it is to the point of interest, but other times it is used just to lead our eyes through the photo.

This picture is a clear example of what we are talking about. All of the lines in the shot move into a central spot of the leaf. Even the stem leads to the same place. Our eyes may start out at the far edges because they are brighter, but our eyes naturally follow the lines down to the stem.

Here is a picture I took of my backyard. Where do your eyes go?

I made this picture a little bigger so you can see a bit more clearly. Our eyes end up on the bucket because we have lines from the edge of the driveway, the beaten down grass, the garage door, the roof in the upper left, even the branch of the tree to an extent, pointing towards the bucket.

Depth of Field

Picture by Thomas Shahan

The Depth of Field is used to aim our focus as well, but not in the same way as leading lines. As shown in this photo of a bug, depth of field is used to blur the background so that we are drawn to a particular point.

This picture is heavily blurred in the background. Even the plant and part of the bug’s body are blurry, but it leads to the high contrast in the bug’s head that makes this picture so engaging and exciting to look at.

Here is a picture that I took to represent the principle of depth of field. It is my family’s globe in front of a bookshelf.

As you can see, the globe in the front is completely in focus. We can quickly read the different cities that are located on the globe. The books in the background, however, are blurred out that we can’t read their titles. This makes it so although the bookshelf is in the picture, our focus is drawn to the globe in the foreground. Giving a feeling of depth to our picture even though it is flat.


As shown, by using the rule of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field we can see that ordinary photos can be organized in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to look at. By lining up subjects in a way that our eyes are drawn to them, and then controlling the depth of field to focus on what is important, our pictures will be more interesting.