Criminal Justice / Editorial / Book Design

ROLE: Designer

COMPLETED: December 2019  

TEXT FROM:  “Dr. Yusef Salaam of The Exonerated Five Speaks at NAACP Convention”

PRINTED ON:  Mohawk superfine smooth ultrawhite 70lb paper; newsprint; silver cardstock mirrored paper 


An editorial adaptation of Yusef Salaam’s speech given in July 2019 at the NAACP Convention. 

"I Stand Accused" is an editorial project focusing on The Central Park jogger case, the Exonerated 5, and more specifically, Yusef Salaam. He speaks of his life as a black man wrongly convicted in the United States and the injustice that is the American criminal justice system. His words are put into contrast with newspaper articles from the 1990's which horrifically accuse him of a crime he did not commit.

When I started this project, it was around the time of Rodney Reed’s hearing in Texas, where yet another innocent black man was being put on death row. At the time, all of the court proceedings were sealed and he had not made any public speeches as he was in jail. Growing up in New York, I had heard about the Exonerated 5 many times. Additionally, that fall i had the pleasure of hearing Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam  speak. Around the time I heard them speak, Donald Trump stated that he still thought they were guilty and should have never been exonerated.

Click through the full book here →


Included in the research for this project was researching and finding images and newsclipping from the time their trials were being held. I worked with my school’s librarian to find high resolution images, and went to the New York Public Library where they have an archive of newspapers from every publication. Many of the initial images that I found were extremely low resolution, which I could not work with. In the end, I could not find a high resolution image of his mug shot, so I manipulated the image in Photoshop to make it less grainy.

When starting this project, I knew I wanted my book to look editorial. I wanted it to resemble an exposé in something like the New York Times Magazine, for example. It was to look be in conversation and response to the incorrect allegations against the Exonerated 5 and give Yusef Salaam, Steve Lopez, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise a voice.
I used Impact for my display type and Meta Serif as the body text in my book. I used impact because I wanted a heavy weighted text that was more condensed. I chose Meta Serif because it resembled typefaces like Georgia (used by the New York Times) which are used in newspapers and publications. In the end of his speech, Yusef Salaam starts rapping, so in the back of the book I only used impact to indicate a shift in tone. In the book I used black, white, and yellow. The high contrast book visualizes the polarization of this topic and the power of it.

Three initial covers for the book

Isolated iterations of text on one page

The mirror on the last page invites the reader into the world they just read about. It makes them get close and uncomfortable with the messages and ideas portrayed in the book. Readers see themselves imbded in the story after they read the words “but who protects us from you?”.