“I thought that was a good play on words for her being a contestant on “The Voice” and also being such a positive force out there representing the Guard.”
Rob also had a vision in mind for what he wanted for the cover: he wanted to show Angie in uniform while depicting the World Series in the background.
So, he relayed that to photographer Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III. He coordinated a photo shoot with Angie and gave plenty of photos to Rob to use.
“So, I improvised in Photoshop with the photos that Davis shot and some stock baseball photos.”
“I was then able to crop her out and Photoshop a more visually appealing background to use for the cover.”
See more photos of the making of this cover on Behance.
As a finishing touch, Rob added a touch of Air Force navy blue to the cover to make it pop and give it more of an “Air National Guard feel.”
“We were getting a lot of great feedback about the Angie Johnson issue and the redesigned magazine as a whole,” Rob said. “People were talking about how beautiful the magazine was.”
“I feel like that kind of response to your work is the ultimate reward for an artist.”
Other feedback Rob received:
“Wow, that’s a beautiful magazine. Exceptionally well done! Excellent article and photos on Angie! We would like to also share this article on ang.af.mil (Nationwide Air National Guard website). Thanks so much!” — Maj. Mary L. Harrington – PA advisor to the director, Air National Guard
“What a most wonderful story of TSgt Angie Johnson. Many kudos for her fortitude. A big voice, indeed.” — Laura Marbut Marino
Takeaways and lessons learned
When asked to redesign the Volunteer State Guard Magazine, Rob was technically “just a web developer.”
He was new to Adobe InDesign, but eagerly jumped in to learn the program as much as he could.
“I always laugh when I hear someone say, ‘That’s not in my job description,’” he said. “Being a multi-faceted creative professional makes you an invaluable resource. By branching out and learning new skills, you help yourself and your organization.”
His advice for creative professionals like himself in government agencies: “Take on as many projects as you can. You never know who might see your work and that can lead to other opportunities.”
Since taking on design duties for the magazine, Rob has received several awards which he says “wouldn’t have happened unless I jumped in and broadened my artistic horizons.”
Special thanks to Rob Pennington at the State of Tennessee for his contributions to this article.
Read Angie Johnson’s story in the magazine.
Follow Angie Johnson on Twitter.
Learn more about the Volunteer State Guard magazine. See all issues here.
Or visit the Tennessee National Guard website.