In Q1 of 2023 I was tasked with creating the inaugural issue of The Sandboxx Magazine for Sandboxx. Our team was small consisting of myself, our editor in chief, Alex Hollings, and our lead Blog and Social Media powerhouse, Gitaine Reis. Together with them and their small team of writers, we curated a collection of evergreen content coupled with some new feature content to built a collection of stories worth telling.
From there I built the first issue as the sole designer.
Heading into this project, I was the only person on the team with magazine layout experience, so I set forth creating wireframes to make visualization easier for the team. Building out a basic structure that flowed from cover, to ToC, into features, ads, and "High-Speed Reads", I developed a skeleton for the team to explore and ideate from.
Early on we chose the theme of 'Why We Serve.' This gave us a way forward for choosing content throughout the issue. While we worked to curate content that already existed for most of the feature content, one stipulation that I put forward was that the cover story should be 100% new, strictly for the first issue. Alex took that and ran with it, working on a story about Hasard Lee, an Air Force fighter pilot who describes finding meaning in his service.
Building this cover was a little wild. Most of the military imagery used by Sandboxx comes from DVIDS. DVIDS is the DoD's answer to a DAM (Digital Asset Management) service. It acts as a receptacle for DoD Visual and Communication assets created by the talented members of the DoD Visual Information and Public Affairs community. But there are millions of assets. Finding imagery of Maj. Lee to use for the cover was tough, but luckily I happened upon the image I used which was taken by Air Force photographer, Alexander Cook.
But I needed to do some reworking of the image to make it effective for the cover as the original was a horizontal shot.
Using Photoshop I built out the cropped part of the canopy, extended the bottom of the frame, and rebuilt the sky.
Peep some previews of additional layouts below!
There's a lot I'm proud of with this project, but ultimately, I'm proud of putting out a beautiful first issue of The Sandboxx Magazine. Now that I've left Sandboxx, I'm unsure of what will happen with the pub going forward, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to design the inaugural issue in it's entirety.
Grab the first issue here.