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Back to Basketball

The Daily Orange

About the Project

Every year, The Daily Orange produces a preseason guide for the Syracuse football, basketball and lacrosse teams. I worked as Presentation Director of The D.O. for the 2015-2016 school year, and had the opportunity to work with the sports staff to produce all three of the guides.

Working on the 2015 Basketball Guide was my favorite project at The Daily Orange. Coming off a self-imposed postseason ban and NCAA sanctions, the stories surrounding the men's basketball team had focuses that were largely off the court. The D.O. decided to call the guide "Back to Basketball," a fitting theme for the start of the new season with a program hoping to reshape it's reputation.

I art directed and designed all the pages and graphics for this 20-page guide. The full project took about three weeks to complete. The final product placed first in several student SND competitions and was praised highly by judges. Scroll down to see my process and role in the creation of this guide.

Modeling for the lighting checks

Media Day

I attended Syracuse Media Day with our photo editor, Logan Reidsma, to assist him at the photo shoot. In the weeks leading up to Media Day, Logan and I spent time researching and brainstorming ideas for the style of photography we wanted. We were really inspired by the work of Walter Iooss and his usage of shadows in sports photography. With so much behind the team from last season, we thought that shadows would be an appropriate metaphor to use in the guide's photography.

During the actual Media Day, things move quickly, and papers are only given a few minutes with each of the players. Because Logan was new to this style of portrait photography, we wanted to make sure we had time to figure out the correct way to set up lighting and shoot the photos to get the intended effects. 

Our solution was to have Logan bring all his photo equipment to my apartment. We proceeded to set up a make-shift photo studio in my living room. The backdrop was so tall that it hit the ceiling.

Creating a Style Guide

The next step for me was to create a style guide for the publication. Having a style guide was really useful in making sure we had our ideas nailed down before the actual production night. I used the guide to pitch my ideas to the sports editor and I gave a copy to our web developer so that he could work to match it as he created a special landing page for the guide.

For guides, we still use D.O. style, but there's a bit more creative freedom. I wanted the guide to feel more like a magazine. I did a lot of sketching and used Pinterest to narrow my ideas and gather inspiration.

The Final Product

Despite all the planning, we faced several obstacles when it came time to produce the guide. With last minute changes in ad sales, I had to redesign the template for the guide several times in the final hours before our deadline. Making the guide as I had originally planned it work with new color ads wasn't possible. In order to make a profit on the paper, we could only print 16 out of 20 pages in color. I made the decision to turn all the portraits to black and white so that we could fit the color ads while keeping the guide's clean and consistent feel. I was actually really happy with how this choice affected the design as a whole. It made the cover and doubletruck spread stand out more, and emphasized the orange design elements.


The Daily Orange entered Basketball Guide in two Student Society for News Design Competitions. Below are the awards and comments from judges:

SSND Mizzou College News Design 2016 

Overall Design of a Special Section
1st: Chloe Meister, The Daily Orange   

Special Section Cover
1st: Chloe Meister, The Daily Orange
The judges applauded the crop of the cover photograph.

Overall Design of Photography
1st: Chloe Meister, Logan Reidsma, The Daily Orange
“This is amazing, this is beyond,” Joe Greco said. The judges agreed that some of the photography could easily be in the ESPN magazine. They gave a shout out the photography editor.

Sports Design
Honorary Mention: Chloe Meister, The Daily Orange, “40 Years of Boeheim”
The judges were impressed with the planning, detail and execution and thought that overall the page was fantastic.

2016 MSU SND

Sports Page
1st: Chloe Meister, The Daily Orange, "40 Years of Boeheim"

Special Sections
1st: Chloe Meister, The Daily Orange, Basketball Guide

Using Format