Ada Quarterly celebrates visual scientific communication, encourages a different way of relating to the world, and acknowledges the greater biotic community, of which humans are only a part.
identity, layout, illustration
Current scientific publications are either rooted in strictly peer reviewed academic journals or diluted by popularization that entertains without educating. Many journals are inaccessible because of technical language and because of expensive subscriptions or the content is behind paywalls.
In some sense, these publications act as an echo chamber. They do not represent the diversity of perspective and background in the sciences. The articles are often in concordance with what gets the most funding. Nor do they allow scientists to experiment with alternative means of communication be it by storytelling, autobiography, non-objective visuals, or other pursuits in the humanities.
roll: solo project
tools: indesign, photoshop, illustrator, procreate
timeline: 10 weeks
American Advertising Award Silver Medal Winner for Magazine Design, Seattle
American Advertising Award Gold Medal Winner for Magazine Design, District
Science is a humanistic lens used to explain, explore, and interact with our frequently wondrous, strange, and incomprehensible planet. I designed Ada to showcase how artists and science communicators are frequent cultural emissaries in the intersection of science and society. I created Ada to explore a diversity of perspectives, regional concerns, and motivations outside the economic sphere of most well-publicized scientific pursuit. Ada caters to members of the scientific community interested in exploration outside their field, to scientists looking to be inspired by alternate and atypical means of science communication, and to the layperson with an interest in science and technology and the astonishing scope of human curiosity.
our tagline is:
Not all things of interest are bright and beautiful.
In order for the magazine to speak as an authority on the sciences, I choose typography that felt well suited to the pragmatism and efficacy of the work behind the articles. The typography in Ada is quieter in order to let the illustrations and photography lead in impact.
I attempted to stretch my illustration skills by drawing all but two illustrations in the magazine. It was important to illustrate in a variety of styles according to the content of the accompanying article.
I used warm colors to create an inviting feeling especially if the content could be considered off putting. I allowed the text to have breathing room in order to give the captions room to shine.
paper as design element:
As a nod to legacy publications, like National Geographic, that first paired visuals with scientific literature, I wanted to build a magazine that brought reverence to images.
I worked extensively with Mohawk paper to select several different paper stocks, and several kinds and weights of transparent vellum. I wanted to use the color and material of paper as design elements in order to enhance illustration and to illicit interest and emotion. Ada was bound with ten different paper stocks, colors, weights, and opacities. I wanted Ada to be a tactile experience much like old medical reference books I looked at as a child. It was incredibly rewarding to create illustrations with the expectation that they would be translucent when printed.
forming the concept:
The title is inspired by Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician and writer born in 1815, who is considered the first computer programmer and, until recently, went unrecognized for her achievements.
Each issue of Ada will cover one broad theme. Issue 1 is the Morph issue. Ada is broken into subsections that approach the theme from a different angle: News- where materials science and emerging technologies are discussed, Encounters- which features over looked species and their surprising roles in our ecosystem, Visualizing Science- showcases surprising ways that science communication can manifest, and Science in Fiction- where a short story is featured that was either informed by discovery or has influenced scientific pursuit.