|General Design Notes
- Longer text sections of the book were designed using a
two-column format, notably to accommodate the design of text
reprinted/reworked from earlier history books. Those text sections
contained many short paragraphs, which rendered better on pages with
two columns insted of one.
Four pages, printed on end sheets
- For the department's centennial anniversary, a web-based "roll
call" was created based on data compiled by the department's
- The roll call represented a list of all known members of the
Raleigh Fire Department.
- The format was a solid section of text, instead of line or
paragraph breaks. Entries were separated with commas.
- The roll call originally included only full-time members. During
the production of the book, it
was expanded to included current and some part-time members. There
was not enough time, however, to research and add all former
- Criteria for roll call inclusion was either (a.) successful
graduation of the recruit academy or (b.) worked one day or more, if
they did not attend a recruit academy (earlier-era firefighters or
- During the production process, a "running list" of contributors
was maintained, to ensure that the acknowledgements were as
comprehensive as possible.
- Specific areas of expertise and project management were cited,
notably to recognize those who contributed or led some of the
project's major components. Such as the crew photos from each
station, the portraits taken of all personnel, and the work done by
Paragraphs and portrait included in visual history section.
- These biographies were created for this project.
- The process started
with newspaper clippings and other biographical
information from the researcher. These were reviewed
and compiled by an assistant into a list of
biographical data points.
- These were expanded by the
researcher using a variety of sources, including
Google searches for age, birth, and death
information; local history library newspaper
archives for obituaries and biographical information
therein; and oral histories, from the chiefs who
were still living.
- Where needed to fill space on the pages, shorter
biographies were expanded with details about the
fire department during the time of the fire chief's
|History - Visual
- The visual timelines were intended as an alternate to a simple
collection of historical photos. Visual content over text narratives
was emphasized. Non-photographic images were also included, such as
newspaper headlines, fire protection report covers, and paper
certificates. The format was influenced by a design used by the
Greensboro Fire Department, in their 2001 commemorative book.
- To conceive the timelines, half-size Word
documents were created, using a landscape-oriented page to
represent a two-page book spread. The margins of the
document were adjusted to replicate the proportions
of the 9 x 12 book size. Images, photos, and text
elements were placed, but at "half-size." A master
text file was kept separately, with the "finished"
text always copied from that document onto the
mock-ups. (And corrections to the mock-ups repeated
in the master copy of the "finished" text.)
- To create the timelines, the graphic designer created full-size
versions of each page, based exactly, partially, or
in the spirit of the mock-ups. As needed, the
designer suggested changes, ranging from removing
elements that overcrowded a page to requesting
additional text, to fill space on the page.
|History - Text
- In addition to a collection of historical photos (repurposed as
a visual timeline), a narrative history of the fire department was
also desired. The project timeframe did not permit an all-new
"beginning to end" history text. Instead, the text sections from the
1984 and 2002 books were repeated, and extended to 2012.
- Thirty pages were planned for the complete section,
which was estimated to require between 30,000 and 40,000 words.
- Preceding the pages was a one-page historical chart, created in
a prior year by the department's historian.
- The project's writer/researcher had already revised the 1984
text as an earlier project, with extensive annotations and
corrections. The 2002 text require revisions and some rewriting, to
match or evolve as a narrative style from 1982 to 2012.
- For the new text, from 2002 to 2012, some existing text was
utilized from Raleigh Fire Department newsletter stories of the past
six years. Other seed text was generated from web content created by
the department's historian.
- Once the text was completed, pictures were chosen, one per page.
They were intended to match the historical era of the narrative.
- After the first proofs were created, some adjustments were
requested to the spacing and positioning of the text. This required filling space with two more images. These
were 20th century images inserted into the 19th century narrative
sections. Captions were written to tie the newer pictures to older
and similar events.
- These pages consisted of current action photos, plus captions of
- This section continued a tradition started in the 2007 book,
which presented incident and event photos from the date of the
previous book (2002) to present (2007). Thus, for the centennial
book, photos were chosen from 2008 to 2012. .
- Photos include an incident from December 26, 2012. No content
was included in any book section that depicted or represented the fire department after
December 31, 2012.
- These pages consisted of a current facility photo, the station
address and assigned units, photos and names of the crews on each
platoon, two or more current or historical photos, and a text
history of the station.
- New facility photos were taken for the project, using a pair of
photographers over a couple month's time.
- The facility photos from 2007 were used in
the book's visual timelines, where
station photos were shown during the decades
they were built.
- For former fire station buildings still standing, new photos
were taken of those as well.
- Crew photos, one per platoon, were taken by
the station personnel, or arranged by the
station personnel. This was a change from the
2007 book, which used a team of photographers to
visit and photograph all stations. The process
was not necessarily improved, and still proved a
challenge on a number of fronts.
- Though the station personnel were sent
guidelines for their photos, no restriction on
"landscape format" was communicated. As a
result, one portrait-oriented photo required
very tight cropping. A couple other portrait
photos required the use of alternate takes.
- Toward the end of the submission period, the
photos were shared with the stations, including
those "gaps" waiting to be filled. This resulted
in a couple crews submitted newer/alternate
- One or two of the crew photos was taken at
least month past the deadline.
- These pages featured a "grid" of posed apparatus photos, plus
one long caption per page.
- This section replicated the format and even
some images from the 2007 book. Some of the same apparatus was featured, but
with either newer images or newly found (and
better) historical images.
- One additional apparatus page was added, showing "after they
left Raleigh" photos of apparatus in various states of post-Raleigh
service or disposal.
- Apparatus accident photos were largely
omitted from book, however, except in a couple instances as shown or
referenced in the visual timeline and history text pages.
- Two rounds of portraits were done. One at the start of the
project, with all members of the department requested to have their
pictures taken. The photographer was Strawbridge Studios, also the
book printer. About ten months later, as the project concluded, a
second set of portraits were made, also by Strawbridge. These
permitted promoted or retired personnel to have newer pictures made,
and included in the book.
- Portraits were ordered in the book by division, which replicated
all earlier history books. Operations portraits, however, were
subsequently ordered by name instead of rank. The exceptions were
the Asst. Chief of Operations and the Administrative Assistant, who
were featured on an introductory page.
- Portrait names were generated from the internal records
management system, then reviewed by committee members for accuracy.
- Proof pages of the portraits were created by the printer, and
made available to the department as low-resolution PDF files. All
members of the department were requested to view their pages. An
internal online web application was created to track portrait
reviewing, and collect feedback on name or data changes.
- Portrait changes were submitted, and new proofs were created at
the very end of the project. Personnel were given two weeks to
review the pages again, and communicate any remaining errors.
- Though the department has some part-time and temporary members,
their portraits were not included. One division head chose this
direction for their section, and the other sections were brought in
line, in the interest of consistency.
- The committee set an ambitious goal of featuring portraits of
every retiree since the since the start of the system in 1949.
- A portrait format was required for inclusion. Cropped snapshots
would not be allowed, in the interest of consistency.
- This represented some 360 members, but most of whom had been
photographed in prior history books. Many of
these had already been scanned, and even
featured on a web site of retiree portraits, so
the uphill climb wasn't nearly as step.
- The retiree portraits from the three prior books were scanned,
which produced moderate quality images.
- The source photographic prints were located for the 1984 retiree
portraits, which improved the quality of those scans.
- An additional number of portraits were created using cropped
snapshots. The backgrounds were removed and replaced with a gradient
- Short gaps in service, for military duty, were not noted in the
start and stop years for retiree portraits. However, they are noted
in the book's roll call section.
- Once the proofs were made, low-resolution
PDF files were placed on a web site, and
retirees were contacted to review the names and
faces and dates.
- Corrections to the proofs were made using
PDF editor annotations, such as arrows and
circles and squares.
|Gone Too Soon
- These are photos of personnel who died off-duty.
- Portraits were created for a number of these members, see above
in Retiree Portraits.
- The families of some of these members were also contacted, and
which resulted in additional photo submissions.
|Special History Sections
- First Responder/EMT
Some of the initially chosen photos
were removed from consideration because they either
(a.) showed a patients face (and thus revealed their
identity) or (b.) showed incorrect technique in
depiction of patient care.