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Building the Yearbook by ARTalk

[by Ken Haggerty '11] An inside look at Technique 2010 (shhh!!!)

[by Ken Haggerty ’11]

Two months after really worrying that this year’s yearbook might not actually get done, I can confidently and quite thankfully proclaim: IT IS FINISHED!

Oh thank goodness……

As Design Editor for this year’s edition of Technique (the yearbook of MIT, since 1885), it was my duty not only to come up with a concept, design the book, and make sure every page was laid out correctly, but also to steer the design process so that everyone working on the book, including myself, was aware of what needed to get done, who was doing each task, who wasn’t doing each task, etc.; and after our first deadline two months ago caught us by surprise (forcing us to contact our liaison with Friesens, our publisher, to ask for an extra week), I am proud to say that we are completely on time (pending nothing apocalyptic happens in the meantime…knock on wood). That means that the books should be in towards the end of April, with distribution scheduled for the first two weeks of May—mark your calendars!

But what exactly goes into the making of a yearbook?
(…and one so fine as Technique?)


ABOVE: Heng ’12, Sam ’12, and Steph ’11 reviewing photos for TNQ’10.

Although it might sound a bit generic, the answer really is teamwork. We all needed each other’s fortes, whether it was taking creative photos of MIT’s many living groups, sports, and student groups; helping Greg, our photographer from McGrath Studios, take Senior Portraits by sending out countless emails; or rushing to the office late at night to re-Photoshop entire sections of the book after realizing that what looked good on our monitor came out much too bright in the proofs. Most importantly, we needed each other to stay sane and focused and happy. Despite having psets, lab reports, and many less stressful things to do, the yearbook is something every member at Technique, for whatever unexplainable reason, decides to take on, even if it means losing a few hours of sleep each night in the final months of production.

For me, the design process began almost a year ago, when last year’s book was finally finished and elections were held for new Manboard (i.e. Managing Board) positions. After watching our previous Design Editor, Tiff ’09, slave away at last year’s book (a MATLAB-gone-wrong inspired edition to capture the craziness that was 2008), I decided that it was a challenge worth undertaking, especially as an aspiring architect/designer/neuroscientist. (I’ll talk about that weird mix in another blog post…)


ABOVE: Tiff ’09 showing off her MATLAB-inspired cover for TNQ’09.

The cover has been by tradition the starting point for the design editor: a way of encapsulating a theme without yet the limitations of the book’s construction or its content. After initially toying with various themes throughout the fall, including random dot stereograms (didn’t work), an autostereogram (too overwhelming visually), and Escher-esque tessellation (better! but not yet…), I stumbled across an idea that seemed to hold promise as something fresh, clean, and composed. I know that I’m not supposed to be doing this, but it couldn’t hurt to give you a sneak preview of what the cover’s going to look like :S

Isn’t it pretty? Lol.

The next steps are usually done over IAP, the month that MIT gives its undergraduates off for the pursuit of extracurricular activities. Last year I took Italian, Drawing, and Archery (all were wonderful), but this year, I intentionally cleared my schedule so that I would have as much as necessary to work on the book. The book is divided into eight sections: the aptly-named “Life in Hell” (a photoessay of life at MIT), “Journal” (a review of the year’s events), “Activities,” “Sports,” “Living Groups,” “Seniors,” “Patrons,” and “Endgame” (credits, etc.). These eight sections, plus a small introduction, comprise the 400 pages of this year’s book. There are a lot of fun things we added just for this year’s book, but of course if you want to find out you’ll have to stop by our booth when it comes out or order your own copy online (HERE!).

After finishing the first 200 pages of the book in early February, we sent it out to Friesens so that they could send us a proof of how our photos and designs would look when printed. We then started working on the second 200 pages, despite classes beginning, and submitted them to Friesens again for proofing. Once the proofs for both pages and cover came back, we all worked closely with Odia, our absolutely wonderful liaison from Friesens, to make sure that nobody’s name was spelled wrong, that the photos printed correctly, that all the pages were in order, and that every other little detail you could think of was corrected if needed when needed.

And it is at this point—the book designed, the files submitted, the proofs proofread and corrected files resubmitted—that I find myself today, and able to relax, or at the very least, cross my fingers and hope nothing egregious slipped past our eyes.


ABOVE: Kat ’10, Editor-in-Chief for TNQ’09, celebrates the arrival of last year’s book with cake.

If you’re interested in Technique then you should have no excuse not to stop by our weekly meetings (Saturdays @ 1pm in Room 451 of the Student Center, fourth floor). In addition to congregating over free delicious food, we’ll be planning for next year’s book and events already. We also hold lots of tutorials and have fantastic equipment and facilities that you can use if you join.

And yes, look for us at CPW…

(If you made it this far, thank you for reading! As a reward, here is an actual sneak preview of the book :)


ABOVE: A mockup of the cover for Technique 2010! (not quite sure what’s going on with my face though…)

P.S. In case you haven’t already, you can order you copy of Technique 2010 here for the very affordable price of $60, or you can buy it at our booth in the Student Center in early May for $65.

10 responses to “Building the Yearbook”

  1. first!

    whoa, sounds like a lot of work, but i’m sure it’s going to turn out great

  2. martin '14 says:

    The 09 yearbook is great!

    PS: this is the nearest from first i have gotten

  3. D '14 says:

    I was on the editorial team of my school’s year book last year. At the time, it was a pretty big deal for me, I actually mentioned it in my MIT application. But now that I’m reading about MIT’s, the six or seven pages I worked on have shrunk to about the size of a 100 word essay. I cannot wait to flip through the book, though. Great job guys.

  4. D '14 again says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I loved the post. I’ve been waiting for a new one for a while now.

  5. genius ('18) says:

    MIT has a YEARBOOK???? Wow! I didn’t know that!

  6. C '14 says:

    :o architect/designer/neuroscientist? That’s exactly what I aspire to be! (Well, maybe artist instead of architect for me.) :DDDD *buzzes excitedly* It’s not always easy for me to reconcile the artistic and scientific parts to my interests… please do share your thoughts on it in another blog post! ^w^

  7. Amethyst says:

    Wow!! That’s really cool. I love the name: “the *Tech*nique” :D and I cracked up reading the “Life in Hell” part…GO MIT!!

    Bizarre reCaptch: “ostwald of” Dare I finish it?? Ostwald of Oz? Ostwald of Lichtenstein? Ostwald of New Caledonia?

  8. Fcz says:

    Moi aussi. This yearbook thing sounds awesome to us aspiring designers. Can’t wait to see you guys at Cpw!