Editorial & Graphic Design Services
(The long-held mantra: "Talk is cheap. See the work." To see the work for yourself, scroll down to see links to varied editorial and graphics projects.)
The world can change, shudder, turn upside-down, and then inside-out. Technology can evolve and devolve. Fashions, habits, lifestyles, and money can come and go. But we humans still need to communicate. So there is still a need for those who can organize ideas and express them concisely, gracefully, and effectively --- in both speaking and writing. Further, decades of study in readability and cognitive psychology have proven that the way text is presented on a page or screen, and the integration of text and image, is of vital importance to effective communication. Yet the field of on-paper graphic design, web site design, video, and typography is by nature very fluid, alternately leading, and then following, the ever-evolving reading/viewing audience. R.W. Bacon of Variety Arts Enterprises has been a practitioner and student of this text-and-image communication for 40 years.
R.W. Bacon was following his first career as a newspaper journalist/editor when he had the good fortune to became a student --- and later a disciple --- of Edmund C. Arnold (1913-2007), the editor, typographer, and designer regarded as "The Father of Modern Newspaper Design" (See sidebar). The main principle of Arnold's typography and design --- still embraced by professionals around the globe --- is that publication layouts should be based on quantifiable readability studies, tests, and observations --- not on either the limitations of a given technology or the self-indulgent excess of the design fad-of-the-moment. In history and museum projects that endeavor to enhance public understanding, R.W. Bacon's skill in communicating with text and image extends to photos, maps, charts, graphs, and exhibition graphics.
R.W. Bacon brings to your editorial project the craftsmanship of a skilled writer, the discipline of an old-school news editor, and the design sense of a master visual communicator.
Seminars on writing, editing, typography, & design. Helpful to smaller institutions, where staff and volunteers wear many "do-it-yourself" hats, are informative seminars offered on writing, editing, typography, and design. These seminars are expressly for motivated "designers-by-default" seeking to elevate the quality and effectiveness of their work. For comprehensive information about books and seminars on editorial and graphics topics, visit the dedicated website, www.CrankyTypographer.com.
But talk is cheap! See relevant work samples and commentary by clicking on the links below. Don't hesitate to call or e-mail with any questions. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss your project.
--- R.W. Bacon
Talk is cheap. Hit the links and see the work.
- A History/Genealogy Journal Archive (2005-present)
Research articles and publication design for a history organization.
- Preservation Advocacy Newsletter Archive (2013-present)
Recent newsletters for a preservation education & advocacy organization.
- Historic House Newsletter Archive (2010-present)
Recent newsletters for a 1656 farmstead and 1710 house on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Membership Promotional Material (2012-present)
Design & text copy for a promotional membership brochure for a preservation education and advocacy organization.
- Historic House Guide Training Manuals
& Interpretive Materials (2006-present)
A project with a remarkably long shelf-life has been the compilation of the guide training manual for Historic New England's Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, Mass. Interpretive materials for the five Newbury region properties have had an equally long shelf-life.
- Web Content & Web Graphics (2007-present)
In 2007 a new, comprehensive, and content-rich website was launched by a history/genealogy organization, a site comprised of hundreds of HTML text-and-graphics pages, with links to a multitude of articles, books, free-sranding PDF files, plus thousands of additional pages of history, new research, and context. Conceived and executed by R.W. Bacon, this website was the result of six months of planning, research, writing, photo editing, custom graphics creation, HTML coding, and implementation. ("Build a website in a day!" the perky marketers say. I must have missed something.)
- More Web Content & Web Graphics (2009-present)
In 2009 a new web presence was introduced for a 17th-century farmstead and historic house on the National Register of Historic Places. Replacing an abandoned and dilapidated website, this project featured new organization, evidence-based research, new photos and images, and a refreshed and consistent image. The new website encompasses local history, family history, farmstead history, architectural significance and evolution/survival of a 1710 brick house, development of the Colonial-era herb gardens, and the establishment of conservation land and hiking trails.
- Still More Web Content & Web Graphics (2012-present)
In 2012 R.W. Bacon took on the rejuvenation of a web presence for the Newburyport Preservation Trust, a non-profit architectural preservation education and advocacy organization. The site dramatically expanded content about Newburyport's history, architecture, and preservation. In all, the new site features 50 pages of brand new text content, 113 photos, 33 custom graphics, 18 historic maps, 8 hours of video, 117 links to organizations & publications, and access to 6104 pages.
- History/Architecture Program Publicity (2016)
Poster/flyer for an architectural history program by R.W. Bacon during Preservation Week 2016.
- Genealogy Chart: "Names & Dates ... Faces & Places" (2016)
This large-format (24"x36") custom-designed genealogy chart includes (1) eight generations of name-and-date data, (2) a selection of family photos dating to the 1850s, and (3) photos of family homesteads, farms, and towns associated with branches of the family.
- NEMA Conference Seminar:
Effective Typographic Communication (2015)
"Effective Typography: On Paper, On the Web, and On the Wall" was presented at the 2015 conference of the New England Museum Association in Portland, Maine. To read the full program outline of this standing-room-only presentation by R.W. Bacon and Rebecca "Q" Walker, click on the title/link above. The full 32-slide presentation is available at www.CrankyTypographer.com, as well as at the NEMA website, www.nemanet.org.
- The Visitor's Guide to the Weeks Brick House & Gardens (Book, 2015)
A guide to the 1710 house, gardens, grounds, public hiking trails, and 300-year history of the Weeks family farmstead in Greenland, N.H.
- Exhibit Graphics: Conference Booth Display (2015)
A sharp image, rich content, and quality graphics build your "brand" and boost your credibility. An organization's graphic image should reflect the level of professionalism and commitment to mission it represents. This project is a booth display for an exhibitor at the 2015 New England Regional Genealogical Conference.
- Seminar: Helpful Graphics Tips for Do-It-Yourself Designers (2015)
Helpful Graphics Tips for Do-It-Yourself Designers is an illustrated lecture presentation, with digitally-projected graphics illustrating the presenter's key points. The program content is based on The Cranky Typographer's Book of Major Annoyances: Helpful Graphics Tips for Do-It-Yourself Designers, by R.W. Bacon. The presenter's entertainingly cranky persona, combined with the humorous examples of malfunctional typography and design, ensure that attendees remain awake and alert --- and more importantly, that they retain and use the information presented.
- Seminar: Helpful Writing & Style Tips
So You Won't Look Stoopid (2015)
Helpful Writing & Style Tips So You Won't Look Stoopid is an illustrated lecture, with digitally-projected graphics reinforcing key points. Program content is based on The Cranky Editor's Book of Intolerable Fox Paws (Oops! Faux Pas!): Helpful Writing & Style Tips So You Won't Look Stoopid, by R.W. Bacon.
- Museum Exhibition Map Project (2014)
In 2014 the Newburyport Preservation Trust, a preservation education and advocacy organization, wanted to graphically illustrate 50 years of change in the city for a Preservation Week exhibition at the city's Custom House Maritime Museum, and engaged designer and graphic production specialist R.W. Bacon to create the map from compiled data.
- Early Families of Middletown, Conn., Vol. I - 1654-1700 (Book, 2012)
The recipient of the 2013 Brainerd T. Peck Award for History, this book presents profiles of the 23 families who established the Connecticut River settlement first known as Mattabeseck, plus timelines, land grant maps, and chapters on locally-focused historical and cultural context.
- Historic Site Exterior Interpretive Panel (2010)
This new interpretive panel was completed and installed in a weatherproof frame at the rear walkway entrance in 2010 --- just in time for the 300th anniversary celebration of the 1710 Weeks Brick House, a designated property on the National Register of Historic Places. Because the house is tenant-occupied and not open for public tours, explorers of the grounds and gardens are eager for history and context --- and this interpretive panel delivers.
- Permanent Exhibition: Paramount Center, Boston, Mass.(2009-2010)
During Emerson College's massive redevelopment of the Paramount Theatre in Boston, a project that spread across the footprint of several earlier theatres that formed the cradle of the vaudeville in the 1880s, plans included exhibit panels throughout the center's public spaces to interpret the arc of Boston's theatre history --- a permanent exhibition to also include the history of vaudeville. Vaudeville historian and interpreter R.W. Bacon was engaged as consultant on interpretation of this topic. In addition, project curators elected to feature a selection of vintage photos and ephemera from the Vaudeville Retrospective Collection.
- Tour Development Project - Historic House Architectural Tour (2009)
This architectural house tour of the 1710 Weeks Brick House & Gardens in Greenland, N.H. was developed so that volunteer docents could present an informative, logically-structured, fact-based tour of the house without a architect or historian present. Because most tours are exterior only, the information on the interior is especially valuable to docents unfamiliar with the evolution of the house.
- Presentation Graphics (2008-present)
A sampling of presentation/exhibition graphics suitable for digital projection. (Selections are from the illustrated lecture presentation, "A Vaudeville Retrospective" by R.W. Bacon.
- Traveling Exhibition: "American Vaudeville 1880-1930" (2008-present)
"American Vaudeville 1880-1930" is a portable exhibition that amplifies on the content of the illustrated lecture/performance, "A Vaudeville Retrospective." Conceived as a compact theatre lobby exhibition, it is comprised of five connected display panels (each 2' wide x 7' high) plus a vaudevillian's upright wardrobe trunk (44" high x 18" x 22" when closed) filled with artifacts and reproductions for hands-on inspection. Also included are parallel time lines of Vaudeville history and U.S./world history.
- Family History 101 (Genealogy Guide, 2006)
This concise introduction to genealogical research was introduced at Historic New England's Family Genealogy Day in 2006, and has since been adapted for similar events at other venues.
- Family Genealogy Day (Historic New England) (Public Program, 2006)
Family Genealogy Day, conceived by R.W. Bacon and executed by the stellar team at Historic New England's Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, offered participants the opportunity to view the saltmarshes, breathe in the salt air, and quite literally walk in the footsteps of ancestors at all five of HNE's Newbury, Mass. region properties. The event was a collaboration with local libraries and genealogy organizations, including the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Registrants not only enjoyed an out-of-library experience, but also left with an informative bundle of maps, charts, and interpretive materials prepared by R.W. Bacon. The program has since served as a template for the collaboration of historic house museums and genealogy organizations.
- Sign System
Typographically consistent sign system for education programs.
- Book Designs
Book cover designs and text composition.
- Digital Photo Restoration
Before-and-after example of sensitive digital restoration of a damaged 1890s photo. (N.B.: This approach is for aesthetics and presentation only, and is not appropriate for archival or historical records preservation.)
- T-Shirt Design
T-shirt design for a history & genealogy organization.
- Large-Format Poster Design
24" x 36" poster-size full-color photo montage (reduced for easy viewing).
- Poster Design
Whimsical motivational poster. (Reduced for easy viewing.)
For those interested in the finer points
of the editorial & design professions ...
R.W, Bacon's books & seminars on writing, editing, typography, & design,
plus helpful editorial & graphics tips.
- Society of Professional Journalists
Professional organization for journalists.
- The Slot
A blog on the finer points of copyediting by Bill Walsh, author of Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style.
- American Institute of Graphic Arts
Professional organization for graphic designers.
- Society for News Design
Professional organization for publication designers.