64 Off to Print

On February 14th, we sent Volume 64 of Toyon off to print. It was a bit wild at the end. At the last minute, we heard back from the printer that the file size for our cover image was printing too softly. We had to come up with a solution quickly. For me, it felt like a blessing in disguise. I was not happy with the format of our original cover. In my opinion, the title was not enough noticeable. However, it was not my job to design the cover and I wanted to respect the decisions and work of our Visual Arts editors. Below, is the front of our original cover spread.

toyon 65 cover

However, this time around, neither of them were still on the staff. It became the responsibility of myself and our Proofreader, Chris Bailey, to make the decisions that would usually belong to the Visual Arts editors. Together, we decided to do a total resign, while still respecting the primary desires of the original editors. During the original design, they wished for the color of the spine and back cover to be pulled directly from the cover image. Originally, they had pulled the soft yellow that appears in the sky portion of the image. They also wished for our most recent logo to be adjusted from gold to green, as to not clash with the yellow tones.

Adjusting the logo was the first task I set on. For this task, I used Adobe Photoshop. From here, I had to make bigger decisions regarding the overall design of the cover. For this, Chris and I decided to draw inspiration from previous volumes of Toyon. I took a few minutes in our office to pull my overall favorite volumes of the journal — 1985, 2005, 2014, 2017 — and laid them out on the table in front of me. I looked through and touched the journals, trying to find a design that could pair well with our previous Visual Arts Editors’ wishes. Funnily enough, I found that the design from our 2017 edition, Volume 63, fit best with the wishes of our previous editors while still maintaining the integrity of the journal.

toyon 63 cover

While I pulled inspiration from Volume 63, I wanted to make this design my own, rather than just copying the work of another editor. Working in Adobe InDesign, I started by reducing the image onto a background of the originally selected soft yellow. However, the image against appeared washed out against the yellow background.

I chose to pull one of the darker shades in order to make the image stand out. I used the dropper to pull directly from the fence sinking into the water. I then replaced the black bar from Volume 63 with a black border around our selected cover image. For our title text text, I used Bodoni Old, to match our headers throughout the journal interior and Garamond for the smaller text, to match the body text throughout. Lastly, I added our Sustainability Statement to the back cover, a mission I’ve had since September, hoping this would gauge more interest from the university’s environmentalist community in our Environmental Justice genre.


Once our cover was finished, we had a handful of final adjustments given to us by our contributors. Chris and I split this workload and were able to get the cover and the proof off to our printer a day before our deadline.

As we conclude this season of editing, I cannot help but be excited for what is to come. With this being the first journal that I have designed myself, I cannot wait to hold a printed copy in my hands, to flip through its pages and smell the fresh (sustainable) ink.


Toyon Multilingual Literary Magazine accepts submissions in all languages, in genres including Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Playwright, Environmental Justice, Literary Criticism, Spoken Word, and Visual Art. We welcome unsolicited submissions from all creators, regardless of national or institutional affiliation, or lack thereof. We accept submissions all year. However, submissions for each volume close on September 30th at 11:59PM PST. Any pieces submitted after, will be considered for the following volume. All contributors will receive a notification decision in December. The release of Toyon occurs in March, along with our Launch Party and Award Ceremony.

If you would like to submit to Toyon, you can do so here.


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