Quick Look at the Consumable Textbook Prototype Process

Starting Point

Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) acquired Harcourt Religion Publishers and its popular K-6 textbook program, Call to Faith, in 2009. I joined OSV the following year.

The debut original OSV textbook series was Alive in Christ (2013). It needed to be:

  • a major visual overhaul to Call to Faith (at left)
  • six grade levels (grades 1-6)
  • consumable (students would interact with the printed book, drawing/writing directly in it)
Previous Program
Original Call to Faith Design

Research and Analysis

I analyzed competition's use of:

  • Type families and sizes
  • Color palettes
  • Icons
  • Text to image ratio
  • Photo to art ratios

Additionally, I:

  • researched developmentally-appropriate type families
  • kept track of iterations of iconography, style libraries for charts, activities and reviews

These efforts were invaluable to our decision-making process.

  • Chart comparing competition font usage
    Competition Font Analysis
  • Chart tracking icon iterations
    Icon Iterations
  • Chart comparing possible type familes
    Available Developmentally-Appropriate Fonts

Initial Design Concepts

An external design studio submitted 6 initial design concepts.

Our internal team of 3, including myself, reviewed each concept, discussing big picture likes and dislikes for hierarchy and design elements.

I consolidated these discussions, and communicated to the studio the direction they should go in, combining elements from multiple concepts.

  • Initial Design Sample 1
    Initial Design 1
  • Initial Design Sample 2
    Initial Design 2
  • Initial Design Sample 3
    Initial Design 3

Molding the Pages

With each iteration, our internal group collaborated, discussing stakeholder comments, to improve the visual design and instructional methods.

Then I directed the design studio on increasingly detailed refinements to reflect our vision, balancing editorial and stakeholder needs with design and product usability. For this, product usability refers to age-appropriate typography, visuals, hierarchy, writing space, etc.

Final Design
Two Iterations Later

Creating Graphics

Sometimes, I created pieces of the prototype. The graphic, whose process is shown here, is an example. The parameters were:

  • use of the color orange
  • use of the initials O.C.T.
  • emphasis on the page number
  • compact size

I presented several options, received feedback, and adjusted the design. I presented the refined graphics, placed in the layout, and one was selected. I sent it to the design studio to add to the prototype.

  • Set of Graphics
    First Graphic Ideas
  • Refined Set of Graphics
    Refined Graphics
  • Final Graphic
    Final Graphic in Layout

Final Grade 2 Design

Once our internal team and stakeholders sign off on the final designs, the studio is tasked with creating specifications (style guides) and templates.

I review and sign off on these documents, which are used in the production process by editorial, design, and vendors.

But we're not done yet, this was just the Grade 2 prototype...

OCT Graphic Roughs
Approved Design

Adjusting for Grades 1, 3-6

The design for all grade levels remained relatively unchanged, except in instances that required change to be developmentally-appropriate:

  • single column only for primary grades, double column occasionally for secondary grades
  • writing space and depth between lines students write on
  • type size and leading
  • type families vary but remain similar between lower and upper grades (problem characters are I, l, 1, a, q, g, 4)
  • Grade 5 final design
    Grade 5 Approved Design
  • Grade 1 Sample Design
    Grade 1 Sample
    Grade 5 Sample Design
    Grade 5 Sample
  • Chart comparing primary and secondary level font selections
    Primary vs. Secondary Typeface Selections