Though the content and themes of WITS student anthologies vary from year to year, one thing has remained constant: the artful design and layout of the anthology, created by book designer Jodi McPhee-Giddings, who has worked on the WITS anthology every year since 2003.
In a recent interview, Jodi graciously answered my queries about her occupation and experience with book design. Depending on the project, Jodi does anything from designing the front covers and laying out the text of a book, to editing content and working with Photoshop, to arranging text and pictures in an aesthetically pleasing format. She has been working on her current project for over a year and a half – a book involving letters from a soldier in the second World War. Though she enjoys mostly focusing on design and layout, she says that she has learned to be able to do a little bit of everything; she has even worked designing icons for software programs.
Jodi first found an academic interest in the world of publishing after taking journalism classes at Boise state, and hearing about the graduate program in publishing that Portland State had just introduced. After taking a book design class, she pursued her interest in publishing, through the Portland State program and involvement with the Ooligan Press. Jodi graduated from the program, and began looking for publishing projects. She had heard about the Writers in the Schools program, and decided to push past her self-proclaimed “shyness” and ask Literary Arts if she could have the job designing the WITS anthology.
Jodi mentioned that in high school, she liked to write and had a writing teacher that became a meaningful mentor to her; thus she was understanding and appreciative of the work that WITS does, and enjoys being such an integral part of the anthology’s production, believing that the anthology is important and a great way to honor student work. The first WITS anthology Jodi designed was one of the first projects she completed after graduate school.
The Writers in the Schools program has been very fortunate to have Jodi’s expertise, and is grateful for the hard work she does, wonderfully designing the anthologies year after year.
Pick up a WITS anthology to see an example of Jodi’s finely crafted work!