The magazine reboot felt like a low point design-wise for me as well as a breakthrough project. Early on in my first version of the layout, I worked covering the living things with fire such as the firefighter on the first spread and the sunflower on the second spread. I never felt like this design had gotten there. I had spent almost 3/4 of the assigned time on this version and had a very unsatisfied feeling about the layout.
I decided to try something completely new and started with the new red/white title for the story. I then continued the red/white look and feel with the headlines as well as some of the quotes. I played around with the figure-ground idea on the titles (funny enough when I printed the layout the person printing asked if the figure-ground look was a mess up). It adds a level of visual interest that draws your eyes throughout the layout. This second layout started to take shape and feel a lot more cohesive overnight whereas I spent weeks on the first one.
My first version of the second layout (which I wound up turning in for a grade) had black and white imagery in the background. I wanted it to feel like an old documentary but the problem was nothing really reached out and said fire. My next pass at the background achieves this feeling of being right in the fire with the firefighters. This was achieved by finding the right images and then using the image trace feature of Illustrator so that you can make out figures and trees on fire. the imagery has no actual clarity beyond the dread of the fire which ties to the emotions being invoked in the article itself.