EconomEast: Layout Final

LO5: Demonstrate the skills and recognise the benefits of working collaboratively

Our magazine is designed using Adobe InDesign, a professional program that is easy to navigate but inconveniently, does not allow people to collaborate on the same file at the same time. Our layout team of three people also had another problem, we all have different versions of the program and this greatly effects whether or not we can work on the file. I have the oldest version which means that I have to start layout by default because when others send me the file, my InDesign program cannot read it as it is too old. This however was a blessing in disguise as it acts as a schedule manager for us. During the start, the main work load is sorting out the covers, sponsorship pages, and introductory pages, sorting the articles into categories, and of course, putting in the first batches of articles.

Putting in articles was not a new experience for me as I have done it before last year. But due to time management issues amongst the members, we were backlogged with articles to edit. We were on quite a tight deadline which meant we have to either work more efficiently or add more manpower. As a group, we decided to spend Monday and Tuesday after schools together circled around a coffee table, editing articles and discuss if needed. By being face to face, if there are any queries, it can be directly asked without the distraction or delay of social media. It also adds an element of peer pressure, it is harder to go off task when everyone else is concentrated. As it was during the time period where the introductory pages were done but there weren’t any articles to put in yet, and they were on a shortage of editors. I stepped in to help. This was a new experience for me. Sure, I have peer edited articles before but that process is done a lot earlier when the article is still “raw” and “fresh”, at this point where mistakes and issues are more apparent. The articles have already been peer edited and checked by an editor as well. Quite an amount of revision has been done already so it is harder to spot faults or mistakes in articles. Proof reading isn’t my forte either so this was quite a challenge but it was a good learning experience. As more editors started helping, I could eventually step down and helped in area that played to my strength. A lot of the articles were missing pictures or did not work well with the article and my job was to find replacement photos that would work with the content and length of the article.

This year, the layout team also became more systematic.

  1. Ms Price will share the article
  2. On a shared spreadsheet, there is a layout team tab, once the article is put into the file, change the colour to green
  3. On the contents page, add the new article to the corresponding category as indicated on the spreadsheet
  4. Copy and paste the article, change the name (of writer), grade, and picture [this is because the file used is a template from previous years]
  5. Ensure that the tab on top  corresponds to the category the article is in

This simple process ensures that no article is put in twice and that all approved articles are put in. Once I put in just under half of the articles, I passed the file to another layout team member, Praniti, where she did the same thing. The file then gets passed on to Arushi, the last person who has the newest version of InDesign. When everything was completed, we printed out a physical copy. We then split it into equal piles and each person edits one section and then passes it on. This allows more than one editor to edit on one page and sheds new light on things that may have been unnoticed. This year we also wanted to make the EconomEast less academic and make it look more approachable. Therefore the fonts we used changed from serif to san serif fonts, making it look more modern and professional. With all the comments (as seen in the picture), Arushi then made the final edits before sending in the final product so we can get it printed before the academic year comes to an end.

Although only one person can edit the file at a time, we still split the tasks quite evenly. Communication was also not a problem, we all felt comfortable and trusted each other enough to delegate tasks when necessary. We also offer each other help when we feel is needed. Overall, we are proud of what we have created and we feel that we have done the content of the articles justice. A whole year’s worth of hard work is about to be paid off once the magazines start selling!

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