The impact of the pandemic gave way to a rise in podcasts that focused on mindfulness, meditation and inner healing. Writer Sarah James launched the Clerestory podcast and online magazine to “provide a space for writers, artists, and activists to explore personal, spiritual, and social dimensions of human flourishing” during a very uncertain time in the world. After gaining a faithful audience of readers and listeners, Sarah came to us to explore the possibilities of publishing the inaugural printed volume for Clerestory—a way to bring the online stories and poetry of contributing writers into a tangible, physical form.

Flatplan for the magazine content.

Earlier layout tests with an eight column grid.


Receiving end of the Heidelberg UV Offset printing press.

Prints of the two magazine cover options.

Printing Process
In late August, we visited Hemlock Printers for a press check on behalf of Clerestory Magazine. After working closely on this publication for eight months, it was truly rewarding to see it finally translate from screen to print. It has been awhile since we stepped on the printing floor but seeing all the work that goes into making a printed book always makes us appreciate the process even more. Many of the staff who managed the printing of our project have been at Hemlock or in the print industry for more than 20+ years. A special thanks to our account manager Paul Verrall who was instrumental to the project from start to finish.

The magazine was printed on Domtar Lynx smooth uncoated paper and bound using a layflat binding method to allow the magazine to open flat.


The inaugural volume of Clerestory includes two cover options in white and mint.

Section title spread.

Magazine Design
Our final design for volume 1 of Clerestory Magazine included two cover options in white and in mint, with alternate cover photos shot by Daniel Casson. The magazine is typeset in three typefaces with Romie as the font for titles to continue Clerestory's brand identity and Louize for the body text.

As a reflection of Clerestory's online content, the magazine is divided into four categories—essays, interviews, photo stories, and poems. Each section begins with a section title spread using the Clerestory blue as the background and acts as moment of pause for the reader.

Given the array of content lengths and varying number of photos per entry, we established two opening spread layouts which allowed us to adapt the layout of the content accordingly.

We used an eight column grid that afforded us the flexibility of laying out long form content, pull out quotes, and reference notes—all in a cohesive approach.

As a finishing touch, the cover photo area was debossed to give a sense of framing. We felt this effect would be a nice reference to the meaning of the word clerestory: "a window that allows light and air into the upper body of a cathedral".

  • Art Direction
  • Print
  • Location
    Ohio, USA