Sundancing with Mag +

I explain my love/hate relationship with Mag+ and showcase our beautiful magazine baby

Mag+ is a digital publication (magazine) application that allows you to create and view publications. Over the course of a few months I learned my way through the software and managed to create a magazine that I am very proud of.

To start out, I did a little bit of exploring through the software, but I didn’t learn much without any pieces to experiment with. I did learn the different layers, and features that the software has, and a few other little hot key tricks, but to really learn I had to have something to learn with.

I decided to create a magazine about Sundance Film Festival, I have always been interested in it, and love films in general. When I began brainstorming ideas for this concept, they just came pouring out, and I realized I had a really good topic and some good content to work with.

Sketching. As I began to lay out my magazine, I realized I wasn’t quite sure what I could and couldn’t do with the software, so I decided to just lay it out how I wanted it and include all the features I wanted, then change things to match my limits later. I wanted something that had a wide variety of articles and information so the magazine would have something that interested everyone. I like to include a lot of information in my sketches and different layout ideas to give myself a few different options and make sure I can remember all of the information and what everything means.

Layout and concept sketches

After thoroughly sketching my layout and figuring out what content I wanted to include, I began collecting the assets I needed. Once everything was collected — photos, articles, information — I could really start to design in InDesign for Mag+. Right away there was a learning curve with the software and how to make everything work the way you wanted it to. Layers were very specific and only allowed certain things to be done on them. I ended up creating everything on a scrolling “A layer” so all of my articles were just one long page — later this would cause some problems! But when I had most of my articles created at this point, I was very excited and happy with the product.

original design models
Initial design verticals

All of the articles were laid out similarly, and almost exactly like the sketches. Which were okay, but I didn’t realize a lot of my interactive ideas wouldn’t work this way. The first design concepts were flat, readable, but not very interactive, with just a single scrolling page on the vertical.

Thoroughbred vertical initial design and layout

When I went in to add more interactive pieces, I found a WHOLE bunch of problems. The layer I was using did not support pop-ups, which was my main interactive idea. I also couldn’t add in video, or multiple images. I tried to for hours and hours to make things work or rearrange things to force them to bend to my will. That didn’t work. I ended up redesigning my layout to be on different pages, that way I could use the correct layers and get my interactive ideas to work.

I ended up having a header page at the beginning of each article with the title, and siting information, then having information continue on the pages below. I tried to incorporate different interactive pieces on each page, whether that be pop-up groups, slide shows, galleries, scrolling articles, or a combination of them.

final cover
Final Navigation and Table of Contents

As I redesigned the magazine, I tried to include beautiful photography and color overlays so they had the same consistency, and added to the Sundance theme of the magazine. I also changed to typography to better fit the artistic theme I was going for. Over all I am very happy with how everything turned out, and would have to say this is one of my favorite projects I have worked on and created. Even with the speed bumps and finicky software.

Brittany Keller is a student in the Digital Media program at Utah Valley University, Orem Utah, studying Interaction & Design. The following article relates to (Digital Publication Magazine) in the (DGM 2270 Course) and representative of the skills learned.