I recently finished a large collaborative project to produce revised versions of student workbooks for Joe Wojcik, a motivational speaker who tours schools as Joe the Biker to help stop bullying. The workbooks were definitely a multimedia project for me. Not only did I edit the text and do some collaborative developmental editing, but I also worked on the project’s Design Team to create the cover and format the workbook’s inside content. Such a large project was definitely a team effort, and I’m proud of the work I put into this workbook. The client, Joe Wojcik, provided feedback throughout the project and loved the final result.
This book presented several challenges.In the overhaul of the book, several disagreements arose. First was the need to balance a professional appearance that would appeal to teachers and principals with a fun color palette that would appeal to students actually using the books. This was a struggle, but one the class worked hard together to overcome. My team presented several palettes and design ideas that rose to meet this challenge.
However, the biggest struggle in completing this book was cultural inclusiveness. The book, in my opinion, absolutely need to include and cater to a diverse audience for the inner city schools that would use it. Not only did several of my classmates outright disagree with this need for diversity, but we faced the additional challenge of finding racially diverse stock photos that didn’t look too “forced.” Eventually we settled for a decently diverse set of images after strong discussions in class about the importance of diversity in books. This is a topic that I see across many publishing and marketing industries, especially with the rise of the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign and others like it that address the whiteness of children’s literature.
Additional struggles arose, from a lack of finished edits to printing difficulties. My design team, being the only ones to have finished versions of the files, ended up making many of the edits instead of the editorial team. We had to consider reading levels with layout, and make the best decisions to deliver the product on time. However, I’m really proud of my team and the overall class effort that went into this project.
In addition to being a collaborative, multimedia project, this workbook also required unique rhetorical/audience analysis as well as multi-program and multi-genre know-how. These workbooks have to appeal to students in grades 4-6. The homework content also has to appeal to administrators and teachers, so understanding how to edit and design for such an audience was quite the challenge. When creating the workbooks, I worked collaboratively with my teammates across programs such as, InDesign (especially InDesign Styles), Adobe Acrobat/Reader, Microsoft Word, and Google Drive. This project also required communication on a massive scale, so our team balanced email correspondence with regular Facebook posts and messages. Overall, this project was massive, but very successful.