Despite a lack of experience, junior Ethan Schreiber moves from writing and technical theater to design

Annalissa Houser, co-Editor-in-Chief

Sitting in his dark bedroom, his glasses reflect the colors and shapes of a yearbook design from his bright computer screen. Junior Ethan Schreiber switches between font size 11 and 12 for a yearbook spread.

“I’ve spent hours moving the headline around, changing its font size, changing a gradient, italicizing it,” Schreiber said. “There’s a million tiny things to change but you know when you get it right.”

During his freshman year, and even most of sophomore year, Schreiber had no idea he would be taking on the role of design editor by his junior year. He first joined yearbook staff as a writer, like most first-years, then became assistant copy editor his sophomore year. He first joined because of his older sister Kaleigh, who became Editor-in-Chief her junior and senior year.
“All throughout middle school, I heard her yearbook stories and all the crazy, stressful, fun things that were happening,” Schreiber said. “I wanted to follow in her footsteps, so I joined. I found my love for it in ways she never saw.”

Schreiber applied for the position of design editor after only doing one spread during his sophomore year when someone else didn’t finish a design. He knew the basics of the InDesign program from his background in designing posters for theater productions. This is where he truly got his start in the design world.

“I didn’t think I was gonna be a designer if I’m being honest. My plan was always to write and copy edit,” Schreiber said running his hand through his blond hair. “But my freshman year, during Harvey, a show that I was assistant directing for the Thespian Troupe, I kind of slapped together a poster and everybody seemed to like it.”

Since his freshman year, Schreiber has designed eight posters for the theater department. However, even in theater, design wasn’t a focus at first. He started out doing technical work and performed on stage a few times. Although he still loves technical work, design holds his heart.

“There’s something about being the person who brings theater to the outside world that makes me feel really accomplished,” Schreiber said with a smile.

Outside of Northwest, Schreiber also works on both design and technical theater with a children’s theater company based in Shawnee. Yet again, he started out doing technical theater without being paid for the experience, but when they discovered his knack for design, the company offered to pay for Schreiber’s work.

Design flows naturally to Schreiber. He innately understood yearbook style design after only working on posters and graphics beforehand, according to yearbook adviser Susan Massy. Since Schreiber was never a staff designer, he was never truly taught the “rules” of design.

“He understands it, he gets it. It isn’t something that he has to work at understanding,” Massy said. “It flows from him. It is him. Design for him is a reflection of who he is.”

Every tiny piece of a yearbook spread is important to him.

“He loves the detail of it,” Massy said. “He is constantly creating iteration after iteration of the same thing, pushing one element just a little bit one way or another, making one element larger and the other smaller just to see if it improves the way it looks. He is constantly coming up with new ideas to try.”

After spending all of this time working to perfect every detail, seeing his designs printed is extremely rewarding, Schreiber says.

“I am a visual person. I like seeing something come together,” Schreiber said. “Design is permanent, it gets printed, it’ll be on a page in front of me in nine months. You can always look back and say ‘I remember spacing that three picas to the left.’ You know all the work you put in to it.”