A Magazine for Positive Living

My Overall Theme

For my senior communications capstone, I decided on creating a project touching on the topic of mental health, but approaching it from a more positive aspect. Mental health has become a more common topic of conversation in recent years due to the rise in numbers of those suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental obstacles. Because of this increase, there has been a change in the societal stigmatism surrounding mental health, and the need to keep it quiet has subsided. Mental health has changed the way our society is running, with more of an emphasis on “mental health days”, allowing individuals to put their well-being over the needs of others, and finding new ways to reduce the stress and negative feelings during this time in life. The overarching idea of my project will be looking towards the idea of learning to appreciate the simple things in life, with helpful tips and a calming feel to it. This topic is interesting to me not only because I personally struggle with my own mental health issues, but hearing others’ stories and experiences with it makes me want to bring more awareness to the topic. It has become a theme for my time here at Saint Joe’s to create projects and papers on the topic of mental health to learn more, and find new ways to help. I believe a lot of people struggling with mental health issues, even if it is not a diagnosed condition, could always use some resources or tips to live a healthier, more positive life.

Magazine Content

My project will take the form of a magazine that is set up in a personable way, with the content including personal stories, interviews, and some informative articles. I would like to continue on the ideas of my past projects with the theme of mental health, but doing so from a different perspective. I have often focused on the specifics of what mental health is, and researched statistics or information around it within my projects, which I will include some of, but this project will look towards the positive side of things where mental health can actually guide us to finding appreciation and gratitude in our lives. The reader of my magazine will be welcomed with calming graphics and photos that I create myself, along with stories of others’ experiences with mental health where they could potentially relate to them or have an interest in hearing about it. Also included will be other information that may help someone who is unaware of the next steps to take, and many different resources to aid in living a more positive life, such as self-care ideas, health and well-being tips, and more.

Better Mental Health Magazine is a website I came across that I was interested in, as I think it is good inspiration for my own magazine. Mine will be similar in the content that is talked about in this online magazine, but mine will be more centered around the positive side of things, and how we can find more appreciation and gratitude in life through different ways of overcoming stress and other struggles. My magazine will also include more photos and graphics than this one, but the overall idea is there.

Happiful is another website that includes online magazine issues, along with the option to subscribe to a print one, and smaller articles to read. After reading some of the articles, I enjoyed the topics and content such as 10 new things to try in January to benefit your wellbeing. I would like to include content similar to some of these topics in my own magazine, where I want little articles, stories, and interviews to be included. The use of imagery in the articles was also a nice addition, and this is definitely good inspiration for my own work.

Audience & Impact

The primary audience for this project is for those who may be struggling with mental health and want to be on a path to a better lifestyle. This audience could be young women, college-aged students, or anyone who would like to relate to and hear other people’s stories of their own mental health struggles. This audience would also be interested in learning more about the positive impact of mindfulness techniques, how to incorporate more appreciation and gratitude in everyday life through simple steps, and some other practices or products for a better, happier lifestyle. A secondary audience could be anyone interested in nature, beauty products, or tips for a healthy, happy life.

My Prior & Educational Experiences

The prior experience I have regarding this project are related to both my photography and design background. I have been using the studio for photography during all four years of my time here at Saint Joe’s, and it is something I have become very passionate about. I have learned both the creative and technical side of commercial photography from the camera, equipment, and studio setups. My past graphic design classes have also given me the adequate experience for creating something big like a magazine. The graphic design projects I have created throughout the years such as posters and other graphics have allowed me to upgrade my skills in typography, illustration, and visual hierarchy. I have learned a lot about pleasing visual design, specifically in my Visual Design, Fundamentals of Graphic Design, and Advanced Design classes where I was able to practice and elevate my skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. My Advanced Design class taught me a lot about layout design from creating my advocacy campaign brand sheet and process book, and also allowed me to learn how to effectively communicate a message through the way I am designing as well. I will be incorporating my prior coursework into my magazine by using my own photos from both my Art Senior Project course, and from other photography classes I have taken, while also taking new photos for the magazine along the way. I will take what I have learned in my past design classes to create the graphics that will fit in and portray meaning within my theme, and make sure to lay everything out effectively so the reader can seamlessly flow through the content of my magazine.

My previous work in photography and design will be similar to the magazine in the sense that I believe I have found a certain style when it comes to my artistic ability. This will be shown in my magazine through my graphics, photos, layout design, and overall mood of the work. However, it will be different from any of my other work because this will be combining all of the skills I have learned during my time at college, and will challenge me to put them all together in one big project. I have never created a multiple-page project that contains my photography, graphic design, and written skills all in one. The process book is a project that is the most closely related to a multiple-page long project, but a magazine will showcase my skills in multiple areas rather than focusing on one. I believe this will challenge my design skills in a new way, and will be a great addition to my portfolio.

Research & Resources

The research I am planning to do in preparation for my project include interviews with friends/students about their mental health experience, along with their personal tips for a positive life. I would like to do some online research on effective tips for how to incorporate more gratitude in daily life, mindfulness techniques, how nature can be an aid in reducing stress, and simple steps to improving moods. I also have some personal information I would like to share in the magazine about my own story and information about my journey with mental health. I have done adequate research in the past for projects and papers on mental health through Saint Joe’s library, which I plan to do again. I can’t see many obstacles in completing this project, as I believe I have a good background and personal knowledge of the subject, along with the excitement for researching to learn new things to include and designing something useful.

The technology and resources I plan to use to create the content in my magazine includes hardware such as my DSLR camera, camera gear, and studio equipment for the photos, along with my laptop to edit everything and put it all together. I will use Adobe software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign to create the graphics, embed the images, and put everything together in a magazine layout. 


Week 4: Figure out who I want to interview and reach out, sort through previous photos, start creating consent form for interviewees and models

Week 5: Do online research, start scheduling interviews, send consent forms

Week 6: Conduct interviews and finish up research, plan new photos to take

Week 7: Creating layout draft, starting to take new photos

Week 8: Taking new photos

Week 9: Placing all content (photographic and written) in layout

Week 10: Cleaning everything up and creating graphics for some of the pages

Week 11: Editing anything that needs fixing, taking more photos if needed