May 16, 2012

Creating the Kaufman County Life coffee cover

The Tribune's Kaufman County Life magazine has been a fun project for three editions now.  It gives us the opportunity to write differently, be a little bit more creative on design elements and, for photos, printing on nice glossy paper is great.

Here is how I went about creating the cover of our newest KCL with a cover story about local independent coffee shops.
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 There are a lot of coffee themed images on flickr, 500px and other image sharing sites, but I wanted to use coffee to create something with a graphic quality that was more than just a photo of beans or a fancy cup. Of course there also has to be enough room to add text and other elements for the cover. "Cool Beans" is a phrase used by one of the Tribune staff, so I went with that, and a coffee cup shape to start with. I printed the phrase very lightly on yellow construction paper and cut out the cup. Then the hard part began, covering the letters with ground coffee using a butter knife, paint brush and patience. That went on top of a larger piece of blue construction paper, which was then covered in whole coffee beans.
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I played with a few lighting setups before settling on a single monolight in a 2x2 softbox and a white foamcore reflector.
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After getting a few shots to make sure I had something I could use (no tripod on the table, so I was standing on a ladder) ...
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... it was a simple trip through lightroom to clean up errant coffee grounds and give our graphic artist a few looks to choose from. This is the one we used.

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Same image, but with the color saturation way up to neon levels. KCL Cover Blog-0605-4

Different photo, also with more color...
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It is very fun to have an idea and turn it into a photo. It is even more fun to use it to make a product that helps pay the bills, and is distributed to thousands of homes and businesses around the county.

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