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Health Student Review

UCD Health Student Review

Two UC Davis Medical Students, John Paul Aboubechara and Hammad Khan, wanted to start a health publication because Davis did not have one. It would be for students by students and help "provide tomorrow’s healthcare leaders with an opportunity to develop the skills they need today.” They sought out four design students to help them with this task.


As it is a magazine for research and opinions regarding health, the magazine needs to be formal so that it would be taken seriously. It needs to reflect the layout of existing publications so the reader will be familiar with the style. In contrast, John Paul and Hammad didn’t want the magazine’s design to be visually dry—they wanted it to be more intriguing than most health publications. 



Our team met about once or twice a week, leaving most time for individual work. We would sketch and do mock-ups alone and then come together to discuss and revise. I had worked in our campus's library for three years and most of that time was with the Bio/Ag periodicals. I referred to these during our project for inspiration. We looked into font readability, scientific article layouts, printing and binding options, etc. None of us had a strong background in editorial work, so we learned a lot as we went.



The first issue of the magazine had content for four separate sections: reflections, opinion, case report, and primary research. We decided a simple and engaging way of dividing these sections would be to use icons in bright, distinct colors. Each icon would relate to that section, so the final icons are a head with cogs, quotes, a magnifying glass, and a microscope, respectively. Each icon is found at the beginning of its respective section as well as the bottom of each page in that section. This makes it easy for the reader to flip through them or know what section they are in at a glance. As shown, I proposed various ways of displaying the icon on each page.


Along with the development of our article layouts, we had to come up with layouts for the contributors page, table of contents, and letter from the editors. We brought in the icons to the table of contents to separate the sections. I did some quick drafts of these, and one of my contents pages was the direction we went in for the final.

Icon Sketches
Table of Contents Sketches
Reflections Icon



Case Report Icon

Case Report


Primary Research Icon

Primary Research


Opinions Icon



Drafts and mockups

Final Magazine


Lessons Learned


1. Making something from scratch is difficult, but you learn all the nitty gritty about what you are making along the way. 

2. It’s super important to keep track of all drafts and elements of the process. You’ll thank yourself later.

3. When a team can’t meet for long periods of time together, each work session needs to be used wisely.

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