We are the independent student magazine of the Students’ Union at Norwich University of the Arts. Made by students for students, all under one roof.
Showcasing the diverse range of creative talent our university has to offer, we have tried to reinvent the traditional student magazine and turn it into our own platform to promote and inspire future creatives.
Storehouse, made by students for students. All under one roof.
-Hannah Murray, Storehouse Editor-In-Chief (March 2019)
Recap: Storehouse in Year 1 of university (Issue 16)
Storehouse magazine played a huge part of Year 1 for me. To me, Storehouse is more than just a magazine or a coding project – it is currently the only university society that I am part of and it is how I made almost all of my friends at university. Needless to say then, it is a massive part of my university life. My course (BSc User Experience Design) is very small – just three people, in fact – so when I started university in September 2017 I knew that I was going to have to join societies to broaden my friendship circles and Storehouse is one of the societies that I joined.
I joined the Storehouse team in October 2017 when I was approached by my friend Callum Brown who was the head of the new Storehouse Online department, devoted to taking Storehouse off the pages and onto the screens by making a website version of the magazine. Storehouse Online was formed in October 2017 after Issue 15 had been released and the Heads of Storehouse wanted there to be a parallel website made for the release of Issue 16 the following March. Between October 2017 and March 2018, the Storehouse Online team worked together to produce the first version of the Storehouse website, which you can read about here. Callum appointed me as Co-Head of Storehouse Online due to my interest in the project and my development skills. Current Head of Storehouse Online (and fellow friend!) Ameer Ashhab was also involved in the original Storehouse Online team for a short period.
You used to write about Storehouse all the time – what’s happened to it?
A lot of my reflective journals from Year 1 mention the development of the Storehouse Online website because a lot of the code that I wrote for Storehouse Online ended up being used in the Nellie’s Nursery website prototype (my Year 1 final piece). I found that often I’d ‘test’ code and ideas on the Storehouse prototypes and then it would be refined for my university project work. A lot of the code written initially for Storehouse Online also went on to be used in commercial websites that I produced over the course of 2018, such as the NB Aurora website (read about this website here) and then later my own portfolio website (at the time of writing this post). Over the past year or so, the code that was once part of Storebase 5.5 (which the Storehouse website was built on) has evolved and changed and become much better and is even beginning to become obsolete, but the Storehouse website’s code has barely changed at all and has been ‘patched’ over the past year to rush out changes.
My reflective journals from Year 2 do not feature Storehouse as much because after Issue 16 was released in March 2018 and the four graphics students who made Issues 15 and 16 happen graduated, I started to take more of a ‘managerial’ role within Storehouse and begin to run the society as part of the new team for Issue 17. This meant that I was doing less coding and less work specifically for Storehouse Online and more ‘managing people’ and ensuring that tasks were completed and basically making sure that the magazine as a whole was going to be produced. A lot of the work that I’ve done in Year 2 has also not been directly relevant to Storehouse, asides from perhaps team management/collaboration in BSc2b.
‘Between Storehouse Issue 16 and 17’
There was one of these ‘awkward periods’ between Issue 16 and 17 where not a lot happened with Storehouse, asides from one project that I was working on: Storehouse VR. In April 2018 I envisaged creating a VR version of the next version of Storehouse, just to prove that it was possible more than anything. A very beta version of Issue 16 in VR eventually went public on June 6th 2018. Built on the A-Frame framework, it was fully compatible with Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox when it launched and did offer a very interesting VR reading experience, but the project hasn’t been touched since June 2018 and like the online version of Article Creator (read on), it is now likely firmly in the past.
The idea behind Storehouse VR, besides being a technology demonstrator, was to provide a platform for students producing VR content (notably VFX and Games Art & Design students) to showcase their work on and also to try and create a VR magazine. At the time we believed that we might just be producing the world’s first VR magazine. However, all that came of it was a VR version of the first 48 pages of the Issue 16 magazine and no student has ever attempted to submit VR content to Storehouse. The print version of Storehouse did not translate very well into VR and we never got around to designing a fully VR-compatible version of the website. It would have been interesting to see how a VR version of the proper Storehouse website would have looked.
Perhaps one day when there is more of a need for Storehouse VR the project will be reborn, but for the time being the focus of the Online team is on other areas.
We got as far as recording a few demos of it and even a fully-fledged promotional video for it, which you can watch below. The VR beta is still available to use here.
Storehouse Issue 17
Production of Issue 17 began in May 2018 and the magazine and accompanying website was delivered on October 5th 2018, with copies of Issue 17 beginning to appear around the NUA campus on October 8th. The theme for Issue 17 was ‘generation’ and the magazine was developed almost entirely over the summer holidays. This meant that the team worked remotely, communicating through Facebook Messenger, Skype calls and the occasional visit cross-country to produce the magazine.
This style of working was very different to the production of previous Storehouse magazines. Issue 15 had been created a year earlier and also over the summer holiday, but the team was much smaller and Issue 16 had been produced during term times with weekly meetings to discuss progress. Remote working did introduce its challenges, such as some people having to work harder than others and not being able to directly see what was being done, but Storehouse Issue 17 was launched in the new academic year and was well-received upon launch.
There was no direct handover between the old team (who completed their studies in May 2018 and graduated in the July of that year) and the new team, so no new ‘Head of Society’ was appointed. It became clear over the course of summer 2018 that myself and Year 3 Fashion, Communication & Promotion student Hannah Murray, were passionate about Storehouse and naturally began to lead the team to create the magazine. It was therefore accepted in August 2018 whilst Issue 17 was being produced that Hannah and I were the new Storehouse leaders and in October 2018 (shortly after Issue 17’s launch), we attended the society officer training day where we learned how to run a society at university and officially became the heads of Storehouse. Together we managed the team, delegated tasks and also worked hard to motivate the team to make sure that the magazine launched in October.
Issue 17 Cover Art, Theming and Promotional Material
The cover art was designed by Year 2 Architecture student Olivia Elsey and the theming for the magazine was generally a black and teal design. Article spreads looked similar to that of Storehouse Issues 15 and 16, following the guidelines set by the previous Storehouse Heads.
Issue 17 Distribution
2,000 copies of Storehouse Issue 17 were produced, half the number of Issue 16. We chose to print 2,000 because 4,000 copies of Issue 16 had been ordered and at the time of writing, well over a year after Issue 16 was launched, there are still hundreds of unopened copies remaining. Issue 17 distribution began on October 8th 2018 with around 950 copies being placed around university. Issue 17 was restocked on December 14th 2018 with an additional 700 copies being distributed. The magazine was advertised on a banner outside of NUA’s Duke Street building. The edition was also sent to local businesses and sponsors, as well as my friend Ghina in the Middle East (who also received Issue 16). It was amazing seeing far the magazine spread! At the time of writing, there are approximately 300 remaining copies of Issue 17 that have not been sent. These are being sent to local businesses and high schools over the summer of 2019 to save them being recycled.
Issue 17 Article Creator
The missing text formatting options were added in June 2018, but by August 2018 development of the web version of Article Creator had ceased as the focus was shifted back to the C# version which was updated in August 2018 for Issue 17 and subsequently all of the article pages for Issue 17 were created with this updated version of the software between August 23rd 2018 and October 4th 2018. The web version was restricted in that it was going to be complex to allow the user to upload custom images for the articles and it was decided that the Storehouse Online team should be creating the articles, not the students submitting work, so the need for this software to run on students’ computers was no longer.
Issue 17 Website
The Issue 17 website was created by myself over the summer of 2018 and launched with the magazine in October 2018. It featured several bug fixes such as improved mobile views and more refined animations, otherwise it is the same as the Issue 16 website but with Issue 17’s content on it. It is possible to switch between the Issue 16 and 17 content easily through the use of a toggle button on the home page. 24 articles from Issue 17 were published online, an increase from the 17 that were published from Issue 16. I was able to choose which submissions and articles from the Storehouse Content team could go online, for the Issue 16 website this had been selected by the Heads of Storehouse. I would have published all of the articles online if I could, but:
- Storehouse Online was still a relatively new platform and many people on the team were still hesitant about putting Storehouse articles online.
- The design of the site accounts for this and thus does not support large quantities of articles well – the menus would not fit more than 24 articles on any device.
Issue 17 was the first issue that I was involved with running, but as time went on I found myself doing a lot more admin work and delegation tasks than running the online team, so in October 2018 after Issue 17 had launched I gave up my role as the head of the online team and gave that to my friend Ameer, whom hadn’t been involved with Storehouse for around 8 months. I wanted to get Ameer back onto the team and I felt that if he could lead a team and produce a new website then his interest in Storehouse would be reignited and he’d feel that he had a key role in the society.
When the Issue 18 website launched on March 25th 2019, the Issue 16/17 website was archived and is now available to view here.
Storehouse Issue 18
Storehouse Issue 18 production began on October 31st 2018 and finished on March 19th 2019 when the magazines were delivered to NUA. The magazine and its new website were launched on March 25th 2019, with copies beginning to appear around NUA on the same day. Production was much more like the production of Issue 16 had been, with structured weekly meetings to work on the magazine. Storehouse Issue 18 featured an (almost) entirely new team, (almost) entirely new editorial guidelines and branding, a brand new website and a clever ‘flip’ magazine with two sub-themes: ‘light’ and ‘dark’, under the main theme of ‘contrast’ for Storehouse’s 10th anniversary edition.
Planning for Storehouse Issue 18 began even before 17 had launched! Having evaluated how Issue 17 had been produced, Hannah and I made some key changes for the production of Issue 18, starting with recruiting a new team. Some of the team members who had contributed to Issues 15 and 16 either didn’t contribute at all to 17, or contributed very little and left the society. It’s normal for people to want to move on and do new things, so we needed to recruit fresh blood!
We attended the NUA SU Society’s Fair on September 26th 2018 and recruited over 70 people for the Storehouse 18 team. We were amazed at how popular Storehouse was (despite not having a brand new issue to show, as Issue 17’s printing was delayed by several weeks) and soon realised that it was not realistic to take 70 new people onboard. We had to run a small application process and in the end got the team size down to a more reasonable 29 members.
The unexpected application process that we had to run delayed the initial Storehouse meeting, which we had hoped would have been on Wednesday October 3rd 2018. Instead, it didn’t happen until October 31st 2018 since we had to give candidates a week to apply and the heads of department several weeks to look at who had applied.
With the previous team long gone now, the team was able to be much more creative with Storehouse and take it more in the direction that we wanted to go in. The Editorial team removed the branding guidelines initially set in 2017 for Issue 15 and made the magazine spreads look a lot bolder. With the branding guidelines for the magazine removed, the branding guidelines for the website could also be improved and so the resultant redesigned website looks a lot bolder and more creative than the previous, ‘Swiss design’ site. We noted that March 2019 would be Storehouse’s 10th anniversary and that Issue 18 was due to launch in March 2019, so we decided to make this edition special by allowing students to submit for two themes: ‘light’ and ‘dark’, under one main theme of ‘contrast’ (the title of the magazine). One side of the magazine would be devoted to ‘light’ and the other to ‘dark’, printed on opposite ends of the magazine.
Storehouse 18 was also printed on silk paper as opposed to the matte used for 15, 16 and 17. The silk paper is thinner and cheaper than the paper used in previous issues, but improves the contrast and colour saturation, making this edition of Storehouse really ‘pop’ in comparison to previous issues.
Issue 18 Management
Although I did start to manage the running of Storehouse in Issue 17, 18 was when I really got involved. At one point Hannah and I were messaging every day about Storehouse-related matters and liaising frequently with the other heads of department to discuss the direction of the magazine and make key decisions such as:
- Timescales for submissions, production and the launch
- Managing submissions and sorting them ready for Content, Editorial and Online teams to use
- Answering any kind of emails or social media messages
- Talking to heads about their roles and telling them what they needed to do next
- Offering support for anybody struggling in the society
- Managing the Storehouse budget
- Deciding how many issues to print and how to distribute them
- Liaising with sponsors and externals
- Arranging events such as societies fairs and the parties
Essentially, it is like running a small business. There was an awful lot of work that went on behind the scenes that Hannah and I did that not even heads of department know about or were involved with.
I found myself sticking mainly to the Online team, and Hannah found herself sticking mainly to the Content team (her ‘Storehouse background’), but we both found that we were slightly detached from our teams and were focusing more on ensuring that everybody knew what they were doing and that they were keeping us updated on what their respective departments were doing.
Hannah Linsdell became the SU President in August 2018 and was reelected in March 2019. Part of my new role involves a lot of liaising with her to manage things like the Storehouse budget and organise events. Hannah Linsdell has been fantastic in supporting Storehouse and really understands how important the magazine is for us, the students and the Students’ Union.
In Issue 17, Hannah and I are credited as the heads of our respective departments. In Issue 18, Hannah is credited as the ‘Editor-In-Chief’ (the one who is responsible for the final outcome) and I am credited as the ‘Technical Coordinator’ (the one responsible for strategising the development production of the magazine). Initially we called ourselves the ‘Co-Editors’, but just before the magazine went to print we assigned new titles to ourselves.
When people ask me if I preferred being ‘on the front line’ coding the website or prefer being management and overseeing everything, I find it a hard question to answer. Management has been a great thing for me and I’ve enjoyed the transition from head of one team to head of the magazine as I have learned to trust people, delegate better, manage a large project and also learn skills along the way which has improved my group work skills – essential for my university work in BSc2b. However, I do sometimes miss coding the website and having more of a say about that, hence why I still manage the Article Creator software.
Issue 18 Cover Art, Theming and Promotional Material
The cover art is a mix of work. The ‘light’ side features the work of Year 3 Graphic Communication student Patrick Smith placed behind the Storehouse Issue 18 ‘sun’ brand mark and the ‘dark’ side features the work of Year 1 Graphic Design student Luke Taylor behind the Storehouse Issue 18 ‘moon’ brand mark. Initially both covers were going to feature Patrick’s work, but in February the Promotion Tea suggested that their brand marks should appear on the magazine covers to keep the branding consistent.
The theming is based around a ‘sun’ and a ‘moon’ which are typically pink, red or orange against a dark blue background to depict the theme of ‘contrast’, whilst also showing a ‘light’ and a ‘dark’ side. The theming was first publicly announced on November 29th 2018 when the theme for Issue 18 was announced.
Promotional material for Issue 18 followed these colours and featured these brand marks.
Issue 18 Submissions
Submissions for Issue 18 opened on November 29th 2018 and closed on January 25th 2019. Initially, it was planned that submissions would close on January 15th, however I decided to extend the deadline by a week or so to accommodate for Year 3 students who were extremely busy at the time with their dissertations and unit 3a which were due on January 15th. Extending the deadline was definitely the right decision. In the deadline extension the majority of the Issue 18 submissions were received, with a total of 90 or so student submissions received and combined with articles produced by our in-house Content team, we had over 100 pieces of work to select to put into Issue 18. This was record-breaking – by comparison Issues 16 and 17 received around 40 submissions from students. Students really connected with the theme for Issue 18.
In the end, 47 pieces of work were selected for Issue 18 – the most there has even been. However, despite this, Issue 18 is the same length as Issue 17 (96 pages) and 20 pages shorter than Issue 16.
A video demonstration of the form in action is below.
I am unsure if this will be used again – perhaps with some modifications it would work well, but we still received a large number of submissions via email which this system aimed to reduce and we had several students say that they didn’t understand how to use it. From a content management point of view, this system was excellent, however.
Issue 18 Article Creator
Modification of the Issue 17 Article Creator to create Issue 18’s began on March 4th 2019 (after the website templates had been fully coded and tested) and was completed on March 23rd 2019.
A video demonstration of it is shown below.
Issue 18 Website
The Issue 18 website is completely new and shares absolutely no code at all with the previous Issue 16 and 17 website. As mentioned earlier, I got Ameer back onto the team in October 2018 and between then and March 2019 he and his team worked on creating the new Storehouse website. The Online team was the only team to be completely different between issues 17 and 18, Ameer chose to have Corrina Mark and Michael Christodoulou (both Graphic Communication students) to assist him with designing the new site.
The website was designed by looking at the existing website and considering what we didn’t like about it:
- It was too ‘dull’ – didn’t look very exciting
- Article pages often looked empty
- Animations were few and far between
- Navigation was poor – on the desktop website it was not possible to switch between articles without going back to the home page
- The hamburger menu on the mobile site was crowded and the text was very small
- Articles were not easy to find – they were labelled only author name and not by article title or course or year group
- The comments facility was not being used and was taking up room
- It was slow to load due to all of the images on the home page
- The home page didn’t have obvious links to information about Storehouse or the team
- Some hero images appeared very large on the article pages
- The site did not support more than around 24 or 25 articles very well, due to its poor menu design
With these in mind, the team spent several months designing new prototypes on paper, then on Sketch and finally got the new design into code.
Many of the issues with the existing website were rectified with the new website:
- The appearance was given a complete overhaul with strong yellow and black branding applied (to fit NUA’s colour scheme), even on the scrollbar
- It was explained to the team that Storehouse articles tend to be very short but contain a lot of imagery, so the default design is to have just a paragraph of text and then lots of big images
- The new carousel menu helps to reduce the number of links shown on the page at any one time, thus making the hamburger menu less cluttered
- Articles are always present in the hamburger menu, no matter the page or device you are on
- Articles are now arranged by course and the year group of the author is displayed next to the link
- The home page features far fewer images than before, so load times are massively improved
- Hero images are deprecated from the article pages, resolving the sizing problem
- Thanks to the new carousel menu, the site can easily support 50+ articles with no problem
In addition to the above, the following improvements were also made:
- The ‘Team’ page is now far more detailed with images of the team members and their names
- The ‘About Storehouse’ information is displayed on the home page directly beneath the page header
- Instagram links on article pages are now shown as a button
- A footer was designed and is present on every page – it contains the social media links and a link to the ‘legacy website’ (Issue 16/17 website)
- Added the year group and course to each article
The following features were deprecated between Issue 16/17 and Issue 18:
- Hero images on article pages – all types: standard, slideshow and video
- Slideshows in articles
- The ‘Thanks’ page
- Images of the articles on the home page or menu as you roll over the article link
- Loading screens and loading animations
- Light and dark mode
The light and dark mode was removed from the website because to fit the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ themes of Issue 18, articles with a ‘light theme’ have a light theme (white page background) applied to them and those with a ‘dark theme’ have a dark theme applied (dark grey page background). Those that fit both themes start off with a white background, but as you scroll the background becomes dark grey.
A demonstration of the new Storehouse Online website is shown below.
The website for Issue 18 is the first one ever to feature every single article in the printed edition of the magazine and also features four additional articles, bringing the article count to 51.
Ameer’s creativity and coding skills were certainly very impressive. His leadership of a small team was good as well. I trusted him to do a good job on the new site and he did – it meant I could sit back a little whilst he and his designers made this and do managerial tasks for Storehouse instead.
Issue 18 Launch
Issue 18 was launched with great fanfare on March 25th 2019. Hannah and I spent the day sat in the Gunton’s Building of NUA handing out copies of Storehouse 18. The magazine was exceptionally well-received and on our first day we managed to give out around 450 copies – unheard of! The hype surrounding Issue 18 was much bigger than that of Issue 17, possibly because of all the new changes we had made and that Issue 17 was made ‘under wraps’ over the summer holiday, whereas Issue 18’s development which was more in the public eye. We also had far more support from the Students’ Union for promotion this time and we had a beautiful display of balloons made for Issue 18’s launch which was displayed in the Gunton’s atrium at NUA and attracted a lot of attention. We also had 100 cupcakes made up in the Storehouse Issue 18 colours which went down well.
Further to this, on March 29th we held a launch party at Louis Marchesi Crypts in Norwich which was free to NUA students (we paid for this out of the Storehouse budget) which was another success. 22 magazines were taken to the party and these were marked with a special stamp to note that they had been distributed at the party.
By comparison, the Issue 17 launch was extremely underwhelming with no party or major launch event at all.
Issue 18 Distribution
1,800 copies of Issue 18 were printed, with around 200-300 of these earmarked for the NUA Degree Show and Graduate Fashion Week, meaning that approximately 1,500 were distributed around university and sent to businesses. On the first day, 450 magazines were taken to the Gunton’s Atrium for the launch event and all 450 were distributed. After the event, an additional 450 were placed there and an additional 600-650 or so were also distributed. Approximately 40 were sent to businesses in early April and that left a few hundred remaining.
Storehouse Issue 18 was very well-received and was distributed quickly, hopefully there will not be many copies of 18 remaining around university when the next issue is released. Reducing the print run not only saved money, but made it easier to distribute.
Storehouse 18 is the first Storehouse magazine to also be sent to prospective students. NUA’s marketing department bought and send around 2,500 copies of the magazine in March 2019 to potential NUA students across the world.
Issue 18 has also been distributed to local schools as well, most notably Wymondham High Academy where I studied and later worked before coming to university. Remaining copies of Issue 16 and 17 are also being distributed to local high schools.
Issue 18 in the community
Hannah, Charlie (Chief Spread Designer for Issue 18) and I visited City College Norwich on March 26th 2019 to talk to GCSE Fashion Communication students about creating magazines and give them some insight as to how we do it at Storehouse. The students and their teachers were interested in what we do at Storehouse and would like to stay in touch more going forwards.
The next chapter in the Storehouse Story: Storehouse Issue 19
WOW! What a crazy year or so it has been! So much change, so many new people, two new Storehouse editions (that are completely different from each other) and two new roles for me. As the final few copies of Storehouse 18 are distributed around university this week, it’s time for me to step up and lead the team for Issues 19 and 20 – my final two issues.
It’s difficult to say what my favourite things about being involved with Storehouse have been: the coding opportunities, the way it looks on my CV, the friends, the laughter, the giggles, the drunken parties (oh dear!), learning to manage a team or the immensely proud feeling I get each and every time the boxes with magazines arrive at university and I unbox them for the first time and go ‘wow!’ I guess it’s a combination of all of those things, but thinking about it, it’s actually the fact that running this is completely different to anything I have ever done before. Magazines, editorial design, printing and so on historically aren’t my thing. I’m a tech enthusiast, spending most of my life on a computer and I practically talk in code. But now I’m about to take over and run this very popular and well-respected magazine. I guess it proves more than anything that project coordination and team management is all about leadership skills and employing the right people to do their jobs and trusting them to get it done – and not knowing the subject areas inside and out.
I can’t say I’m not just a bit nervous about taking this forwards, but I can say that I am bloody excited! I can’t wait to get in the driver’s seat and just take Storehouse for a drive and see where we end up!
My first task will be working out how Issue 19 is going to be produced, based mainly on how we did it for Issue 17 (the last ‘summer issue’) and evaluating how that went and then I’ll need to get recruiting,
And from there, Storehouse will continue to grow and prosper.