Designing QUEST: Building a Luxury Travel Experience in Print

Amy Willis is the in-house graphic designer for Texas-based Ker & Downey, a leading travel design company dedicated to crafting individually inspired global adventures. Every day she sets out to create visual experiences for the luxury tour company’s bi-annual print travelog, QUEST, that are so compelling even the most diehard armchair travelers consider packing a bag.

Perfect Bound Binding

Taking A Whole New Direction

“Originally,” Amy explained, “Ker & Downey offered its customers an editorial style travel magazine called BESPOKE.” Like many traditional newsstand leisure mags, its glossy pages were filled with the usual interviews, travel stories and fashion and accessory spreads but had very little news about K&D or the trips they offered. So, the decision was made to change direction, to give it a new name, a new look and a new reason for being.

Full color on matte stock

The Editorial Journey

Like anything, transforming the travelog was a process. And one a premium online printer like Smartpress could help with. “We started by slimming it down – going from publishing four times a year to twice, narrowing our circulation to 1,000 from 5,000, making it more portable by downsizing from 8.5″ x 11″ to 8″ x 10” to give it a book-like feel, trading the glossy stock for matte and focusing on trips rather than fluff,” Amy said.

Once those things were done, the real work started. According to Amy, the new mix of editorial, coming from a multitude of global partners, not only demanded a critical eye but a deft hand. “For me, the challenge was, and always is, how to fit it all together and make it look and feel cohesive,” she said.


It’s a challenge that Smartpress’ online printing services are up for. With custom booklet printing options like perfect bound and saddle stitched bindings, plus coated and uncoated stocks and UV coatings, there’s no online printing project Smartpress can’t handle.

She’s Got the Whole World in Her Hands

For nearly six years as Ker & Downey graphic designer, Amy has been laying out spreads that beckon travelers to step inside the frame and globe-trot from one page to the next.


“I’m lucky,” she said, “our team is small – me, three writers and our editor and we’re used to working together. We touch base every week, even when we’re 5 to 6 months out from the final proof, making sure the narrative and visual stories we’re developing answer the question I always ask myself, does it make me say, ‘I’ve got to go there?'”

Photography is a mix of stock and custom imagery

Packed with Inspiration

“When I first started working on  QUEST my boss told me not to think of it as a travel brochure but as the Ker & Downey travel experience in print. It’s advice I haven’t forgotten,” Amy said. “From that day on, I made it my goal to design pieces that inspired people to travel, to discover the unforgettable.”

Print Details

Perfect Bound Book

100# Coated Matte White Cover, 80# Text Coated Matte White Pages, Flat Matte U/V Coating, 8 x 10 Portrait Format

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