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Eastside Preparatory School

A semi-annual publication, print and packaging materials for admissions items for Eastside Preparatory School, an independent college prep school.

My Role:

Lead Designer responsible for design system creation, layout design and editing, and print production management.


Chalkbox Creative

Key Responsibilities:

  • Maintain and update magazine design system

  • Lead layout design and article structure

  • Manage revisions and copy edits throughout the design process

  • Proof review and print production management

  • Design system extension to admission packaging and print materials

The challenge

Eastside Prep (EPS) has been working with Chalkbox since 2006. Shortly after I joined the Chalkbox team in 2016, I began working on Inspire, a semi-annual publication that is authored by students and faculty. In 2018 I took the lead in redesigning the magazine's design system. The new system needed to update the typography and layout conventions, recurring graphic elements, and continue using EPS's brand colors while still feeling appropriate to new students, guardians, and the faculty who read the magazine.

This magazine is also at times packaged with admissions materials and packaging sent out to prospective students and their families. We needed to extend the magazine's design system to these pieces, while still maintaining a feeling of seriousness, professionalism, and excitement for students who had been admitted to the school, and their guardians.

An evolving design system, over 14 issues.

Inspire is released semi-annually, and each issue features a series of recurring articles as well as individual articles written by students, faculty, and even guardians. As the years have progressed, we've continued to evolve the design system so it feels consistent with the past, but also contemporary and appropriate for a changing audience.

Built for a diverse audience, focusing on fun, vivid colors and bold typography.

While design conventions for recurring articles are are built around a set of rules according to the magazine's design system, individual articles are approached with fresh eyes each issue. The goal is to make something unique, while staying within the constraints of the design system, and aligning with the content of that particular article.

Admission materials, crafted from Inspire's design system.

When prospective students and their guardians contact the school, they are presented with printed pieces that contain key information about the school. These materials are often presented with an issue of Inspire, so felt appropriate to make sure the design system and layout conventions felt consistent between two pieces.

A design system extended to packaging.

When students are accepted to EPS, they are mailed out an acceptance package that contains a gift and printed pieces explaining the next steps students will need to take. We extended Inspire's design system to this piece as well, creating a consistent design narrative for the student journey from admissions inquiry, reading the magazine, to acceptance at EPS.

Key take-away and lessons learned.

Sometimes brand evolutions, design system changes, and the extension of those design conventions to other pieces isn't necessarily linear. In an ideal world, designers get presented with a set challenge, and corresponding items that will need to be addressed as part of that challenge. As many a working designer know, that isn't what always happens and the design systems we create need to remain flexible enough to be extended beyond the scope of initial creative briefs.

Working on Inspire and the corresponding supporting pieces has been a masterclass in building a flexible design system. As the school grows and its needs change, my team at Chalkbox has developed and extended this system to pieces we didn't anticipate. We've learned important lessons in consistency, modularity, and how to design a system that is resilient enough to evolve beautifully in unexpected directions.

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