One Final Flex

It’s that time of the year again and the last ever issue of the student magazine for Falmouth University has gone to print. 

In case you weren’t aware, for the last two years my life has been swallowed somewhat by producing, writing, directing, photographing and designing content to be displayed in a newly revamped version of the (then) dead-in-the-water publication Flex.

Long story short, as owners of the website and upon hearing the news that the newspaper (as it was then) was to be discontinued – it was a chance we seized with both hands to turn it around and make it something both Exeter and Falmouth students could be proud of and look forward to picking up when it came out.

That was a year and a half ago, and now the sixth issue is about to be released into the wild. I’ve neglected the work I’d actually come to university to do for it, only consoled by names in the industry saying that it was a great thing to have on the CV – regardless of results.

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I’d like to think the magazine has come a long way since it’s inception. The first issue we had to get our name out and show what content we were going to put out on a recurring basis. We wanted as much student involvement as possible, we wanted it to be accessible, entertaining, and informative.

Certainly, the design has matured and improved over time. There’s a fine line between making something look appealing and also being accessible and easy to read – especially to a university audience regarded as one of the most creative and forward-thinking in the country.

That’s something I’ve really taken to heart over my time at university. I came here because I wanted to write and I felt myself as one of the least creative people on campus – suddenly I’ve agreed to oversee the art direction of something with an estimated readership in the thousands.

My notebook now is absolutely littered with designs and ideas for projects and features that never even came to be. Font sizes, image ideas, multiple layouts, even shoot itineraries all alongside match reports, features and essay work I’ve been doing at the same time.

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The scribbles on the left became our Budget BBQ Upgrade piece.

As you may or many not be able to tell, what was envisioned on the left became the ‘Upgrade Your Budget BBQ’ feature – one that was immensely fun to set up, layout and ultimately, eat.

It also went through multiple cycles as a feature, as I had plenty of different styles I wanted to try out for that one spread. I have an annoying eye for detail, verging on OCD levels of neatness. It’s really something that has only helped me on a project like this.

As my Dad would say: “If you’re going to do something, do it properly.”

The WIP on the left, the final page on the right
The WIP on the left, the final page on the right

I think the Summer section of the magazine is one of my favourite set of spreads we’ve done, both visually and in terms of content. If I’m allowed to say that.

With deadlines mounting and the one thing that kept me from them now out of the way, I turned my hand to knocking up a series of images also in Indesign. It took no more than five minutes to put together a template layout I could apply across multiple images, but I’m lucky enough to be able to dip into a pool of fantastic photography that really shows off the magazine.

The series is going to act as a countdown for the magazine’s last launch this year, with five images produced for the five day run up to the release. Not something we’ve had time for before, but something I really like doing and massively increases our awareness around campus. Rather than “Oh look, the magazine is out – I had no idea.”

Here's one of my favourites from the series of images produced.
Here’s one of my favourites from the series of images produced.

On that note, I have absolutely no idea why I’ve written this. But I hope you enjoyed poring over it as much as I have the last issue. Let me know what you think when it drops on Wednesday.

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