National Science Foundation Report

The client

Harvard SEAS Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik needed to publish a report for the National Science Foundation. Alán called on Opus with just a few weeks to his deadline. He worked with us back in 2012 when we helped him with his tenure talk presentation on theoretical physical chemistry.

The project

Professor Aspuru-Guzik needed the 58-page report done very quickly. Creative Director, Lily Robles and Sr. Graphic Designer, Emily Knapp went right to work to understand how the report could be designed, layed out, and revised in such a short amount of time.  It’s nice to have time for multiple rounds of edits with such a text heavy report, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. We stressed the need for the content to be approved and copy-edited, BEFORE sending it to us for layout. Alán and his team committed to this and made decisions very quickly to ensure the report design went as smoothly as possible

Design challenge and approach

Besides the time frame, making this report visually appealing was a challenge.  We started with the text and created a callout style to break up the body content to make it more visually interesting. Eye-catching photos were used for chapter starts and Lily and the client team worked quickly to figure out which ones were appropriate to use. The color theme was pulled from the photos to give the report a congruent feel.  Designer, Emily Knapp also redesigned and redrew some of the “homegrown” charts to give the design a more professional look and feel.  Finding visual design solutions for some of the scientific concepts was an interesting highlight of this project.

What seemed like an impossible timeline was possible because we uncovered and presented options quickly, the client provided timely feedback and committed to their choices, the content submission was clean and clear and we still had time to be creative with key visuals. Despite the velocity, we designed a high-quality publication and Alán was very enthusiastic with the outcome once again.