HMS Terror

Inspiration is a funny thing – you never know when it will hit or what will spark it. I was reading a book about Sir John Franklin’s attempt at finding the Northwest Passage which led me to learn more about these two ships. I found a lot interesting articles and pieces about the discovery of the HMS Terror last year and thought I would do a two-page magazine layout introducing an article about the Terror. In truth, this doesn’t represent any actual written article, and the text on the page is purely my own.

I started by looking up what the standard dimensions are for a two-page magazine layout, which is typically 16 x 10.5 inches. I created a canvas of that size at 300 dpi for print and went to work. I wanted to use an image that would really capture the viewers attention and found a public use image of the HMS Erebus and Terror by painter John Wilson Carmichael. ( The painting uses the Golden Spiral perfectly with the ships grabbing the viewers focus.

I used a simple gradient mask over the image fading from black to white emphasizing the ships over the more empty space on the canvas, but retaining enough to not lose the effect of the image layout. I then cleared the mask over the primary ship even more to make it stand out more in the image. I also increased the vibrance of the colors and the brightness of the image. Finally, around the edges of the image I used an inner shadow to subtly add a darker line to keep the focus on the interior of the image.

Since it was a magazine layout that viewers would be reading, I wanted to capture their attention at the top left of the image and read left to right and down. I set the text up left justified and used the line tool and ellipse tools to focus the readers attention and guide their eyes in opposition to the Golden Spiral. This creates a bit of tension in the layout, but still gives the reader a clear path to view. I adjusted the mask inside the ellipse so that the ship would be the brightest point on the image and really capture attention, and added a small arrow tip at the end of the line indicating more on the subsequent pages.

I wrote some introductory bullets for the imaginary article and increased the font size on the dates to emphasize their importance and group them as a sort of timeline for the reader. The fonts I used for this one are Veranda and Georgia – one serif and one sans-serif. For the last line I used a larger font to add a bit of interest to emphasize the title of the piece. Finally, I made sure to add the artwork attribution at the bottom.

I’d actually love to see this article written. It’s a fascinating topic for anyone interested in arctic exploration and I hope my layout leaves you wanting to learn more.

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