A Terrifying Start

What is the scariest part about creating my first feature as a graphic designer at Milwaukee Magazine? How about upsetting one of the states most unsettling politicians.


The focal issue of this feature was the then current political figure, Wisconsin State Senator Leah Vukmir. Not only was the Senator notoriously quiet, but she was shockingly tough. Her stances were often times so rigged that it seemed as though things couldn't add up. Her demeanor was nothing like what she chose to be when seated at her chair under the rotunda. So thats what I ran with, the idea of mimicking Leah's soundly rigid yet extremely hushed sense of being.

So thats what I ran with, the idea of mimicking Leah's soundly rigid yet extremely hushed sense of being. 

Her stances and actions are all under the microscope in this feature. Even while in the midst of chaotic dealings that had plagued our state's government, where one would hope for the most transparency, Leah had become known for running out on enraged public forums. Which is what was amazingly depicted on the opening illustration. Her twisting motion was in turn mimicked in the headline typography. The type is meant to feel as though it runs away from the spectator.

Illustration: Michael Marsicano


The typeface used throughout the design, PT Mono, was originally created to be legible at a very small point size. After having learned that bit of knowledge, I decided it would be a perfect match for Ms. Vukmir's profile–a person who is often times thought of as absurdly silent. Why not show said font insanely large–more often then not Ms. Vukmir's views sway to the undeniably exaggerated. I also added a bit of dispersing 3D to the type, with the intention of adding a bit of noir to the story, and with it a sense of moral ambiguity. 

The type is meant to feel as though it runs away from the spectator.

The phrase ‘A Silent Scream’ was what I came up with while in the midst of reading this feature. The color then had to be pink. I have often times think of pink as the color that is about to change. I think of it as verging on red. The kind of fleshy red that is often times the color one turns when filled with rage. The color one is when they scream. This along the muted and dull tone of this specific pink makes it reminiscent of pebtomismol, enough so it would make ones stomach turn.


Quiet and Spooky, are the words that many around her use to describe her. She along with her close allies are depicted as tight knit and very secretive. The unique structure I used was an overlapping two columns layout. To me, it looked like what stacks of paper would look like when on a desk. It felt as though you were reading official documents you shouldn't have been. It was my intent to make it as though the reader could be at one of the said politicos office, reading something not intended to be read.


It shouldn't come as a surprise that images of Leah were hard to come by. In fact it was almost impossible and nearly ran without an actual photo. In the end it, though, it all worked out. One image was properly procured. Everything more then worked out, issues of the magazine were purchased by the senators office.

Follow the link above for a closer look at this project