GC student design process: TAGA journal

April 9, 2020

Every year, a contingent of graphic communications students compete in an annual competition hosted by TAGA, the Technical Association for the Graphic Arts. Students are tasked with designing a one-of-a-kind printed journal comprised of technical articles and usually incorporating some innovative technology.

We asked Teresa Clancy, student team president of the Clemson chapter, about this year’s competition.


Sonoco Institute (SI): What were some of the innovative features of this year’s design?

2020 TAGA student president , Teresa Clancy

Teresa Clancy, GC senior

Teresa Clancy (TC): One of our most innovative features of this year’s design was the inclusion of the 3D-printed loupe. As far as I know, the Clemson chapter hasn’t incorporated 3D-printing in any of our previous journals. The capabilities of the Mimaki 3D printer in the Sonoco Institute is really impressive. Another innovative feature was the use of HP Mosaic, which allowed us to create a unique cover for each recipient of our journal. Along with the unique design of the cover, we incorporated a soft-touch lamination that gave the journal a tactile aspect.

SI: Tell us a little about the production process.

TC: The fall semester focused on planning and designing the journal. This included deciding themes, color palettes, size, orientation and features of the journal. The fall semester also included tours of Godfrey Hall (GC) and the Sonoco Institute as well as demonstrations of various tools and machinery available to us at each facility. This allowed us to decide what technologies we could incorporate to show off Clemson’s vast production resources. Design of the journal was developed and finalized and substrate decisions were made. Production planning began in terms of which presses we wanted to use and what type of binding we wanted to use. In the spring semester, the research articles were collected and submitted to judges on January 31. From there, final touches were completed on the InDesign file and format of the journal. In March, final production began with the covers while the final loupes were being printed. We decided to 3D print some loupes and cut the remaining loupes out of acrylic to reduce expenses. Once we laminated and cut the covers, we perfected our binding strategy. Next, we printed the content and perfect-bound each book. While this was happening, the slip case prototypes were being finalized while awaiting delivery of the slip case substrate. After 148 books were produced, we moved operations over to the Sonoco Institute to produce the slip case on the FujiFilm Acuity digital press and the Esko Kongsberg router. The final products were completed that Thursday, ready to be shipped out on the Friday before spring break.

SI: What Sonoco Institute resources and capabilities were used?

TC: Haley Appleby was a huge help with 3D-printing the loupes as well as routing the acrylic loupes. Graduate student Himanshu Rana was also a huge help when it came to operating equipment at the Sonoco Institute. Garrett Powell, Sonoco Institute intern, was a member in the spring semester and was very helpful with the Acuity press and Kongsberg router when creating the slip cases. Equipment used included the Fujifilm Acuity flatbed press, Esko Kongsberg router and their corresponding software. These machines were used for both the slip case and the acrylic loupes. Also, the Mimaki 3D printer was used for the 3D-printed loupes. For a full list of production notes, see the PDF of the journal.

SI: What did you learn through this process?

TC: Through this process, I learned a lot about project management and the process of leading a team through a year-long project. The hardest part of this project was how interconnected each aspect of design and production were and the overlapping timelines included in completing the project. This process taught me the importance of planning and problem solving in larger scale projects like these.

SI: Tell us a little about this year’s team dynamic.

TC: Clemson’s TAGA student chapter is a Creative Inquiry, so our team can change from the fall to the spring semester. For a full list of members, visit our website at In the fall, some leaders of the design of the journal included Vice President Lauren Robinson, Creative Director Trey Bowe and Assistant Creative Director Nicole Clamp. In the fall, Amanda Parker and Clay Woodfield led the 3D printing prototypes. In the spring, Amanda was away on internship and Clay followed through the completion of the loupes with a lot of help from Haley Appleby at the Sonoco Institute. Bethany Wheeler, Production Manager, headed the implementation of HP Mosaic in the fall and into the spring, as well as much of the production as the Production Manager. I was the President for both semesters, leading the team throughout the planning, design and production of the journal, as well as ordering supplies and substrates. I also headed the design and prototyping of the slip case. Final touches were a team effort of Bethany and I, with help from Garrett Powell, Kelsey Kirkland and Himanshu Rana. James Weaver headed the e-publication of the journal. Each team member chipped in throughout both semesters and the journal was really a group effort that required a lot of support from our advisor, Dr. O’Hara, as well as the TA’s and instructors in Godfrey Hall.

SI: Any other interesting experiences/features you think we should know about?

TC: Graphic Communications majors have a wide variation of experience and interests, which allows us to incorporate a lot of unique skills our students have throughout the process. We are open to all majors and would love to have some Packaging Science majors join us so we can incorporate their knowledge and experience in next year’s journal.

SI: What are the ‘next steps’ for this year’s competition?

TC: The in-person conference got cancelled due to COVID-19, so each school sent in their journals to a central location. From there, they will be collected and sent to board members for judging. In addition to the journal itself, we sent in a video explaining some aspects of the journal design and production:

Click here to learn more about the TAGA student chapter competition.

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