Bright Lite Issue 009

Editorial Design. Graphic Design. Hand Lettering.

June/ July 2019 production
August 28th release

Editor and Bright Lite Founder: Ami Komai
Designer: Jaime Daigle


BRIGHT LITE is an independent, reader-generated publication and digital platform for adolescents. Available bi-annually, the journal driven format offers a unique inclusive space for readers to safely share their voice. I was able to work with Bright Lite on their latest volume, FEAR, this past summer.

This project consisted of working with the Editor to determine which submissions we would include, then jumping in to design the front cover. After its iteration project was complete, I set out designing the layout around the selected content and the thematic elements to be used in each spread. Next, I hand-lettered most titles, designed backgrounds, graphics, and more to highlight the different stories and develop a cohesive, yet playful theme across the entire publication. Finally, after many back-and-forths with the editor, we nailed down the layout together, I finalized the graphics, designed the back cover and spine, underwent countless editing nights, and we had our final design ready for print.


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This project was both a challenge and a delight to work on. It was so inspiring to review the submissions sent in from BRIGHT LITE’S readers. I was most taken aback by the number of international submissions we had received, and the quality of writings girls as young as 11 submitted. The brand has a unique scrapbooky retro feel to it, so it was an awesome time designing spreads to fit their aesthetic and adhere to the amount of difference that was desired.

I had not designed editorial content for adolescents before, let alone anything around 200 pages, so this experience was new and forced me to read up on trends for the demographic, get constant feedback and opinions from the age group, look at inspirational references from all over the place, and question my own opinions and the designs I was drawn to. Honestly it was an awesome challenge- I feel we often get so caught up in our own aesthetic, or that of the brand we work with, or what is on trend that we do not question our work from a lens that is not ours or our clients. For this project, I was an adult working with another adult to design something for younger readers and it was my first time doing it. I feel like I learned so much about what teenagers are into these days, what impacts their legibility, and more. Woohoo!


One of the reasons I say this project was a challenge was because of the quantity of submissions and lack of a full team. The editor and myself handled everything from selection, editing, aesthetics, and so much more. We received way more submissions that they had in previous volumes, so there was a lot of content to get through. Additionally, as inspiring as the submissions were, there is a bit of extensive editing associated with publishing adolescent content. Writing can be amazing while still riddled with typos, and we felt it was vital to keep the integrity of the writing and not change too much, while still elevating it to press-ready prose.


Stepping back from the project about a month later, I am reflecting on how my process for this job was unique. At any given day I would be working with so many mediums, from glitter and gel pens to my iphone and ipad. I haven’t spent as much time with my scanner in years. I missed her.

One part of my process that I enjoyed and would like to highlight was the hand lettered titles. I would begin in my sketchbook, switch to either paint markers or gel pens, sometimes both. From there, I would move to my ipad and refine. Sometimes I would just start in the ipad, but usually it was pen and paper first. Sometimes I would even print out a refined design and continue at it with my paint markers and bring it back into procreate.

For this process, I used Adobe capture and adobe scan on my iphone or ipad, procreate on the ipad, and illustrator and photoshop on my laptop. For the overall project, I used the abovementioned softwares/ apps, as well basically lived in Indesign and Acrobat for a month.

It was so fun to work on these. Hand-lettering is something that I often do for Bright Lite’s digital platform, but I wanted to take these titles to the next level and really refine my own precision. I feel I was successful in this endeavor and am excited for more opportunities to hand letter in the future.

Image of Bright Lite Issue 09 Resubscribe cards- a promotional card that is sent with each subscriber’s copy

Image of Bright Lite Issue 09 Resubscribe cards- a promotional card that is sent with each subscriber’s copy


One final take away I’d like to highlight, was the process of working with the printer on this job. I’ve work with various printers in the past and felt that I had a solid understanding of providing press ready files. However, due to the size of the files I was working with, I had to learn so much more about file compression, color profiles, indesign hacks, and more. I feel this is something that I am lucky to have been exposed to because it allowed me to test my knowledge , learn from others, admit to what I don’t know and listen, and ultimately just figure it out.

Lollipop sticker design included in subscription package.

Lollipop sticker design included in subscription package.

Barbie inspired Sticker design included in subscription package.

Barbie inspired Sticker design included in subscription package.