IT’S OVER.

Everyone, Election Day is over. There was drama, success, a meltdown. Rules were broken, dreams demolished, plans screwed — and all just in the newsroom.

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Honestly, for us in the design studio, the day would have gone about the same if Obama OR Romney had won, or if it had been too close to call by the final deadline (at 2 a.m., a wincing three hours after our normal typeset time). I had three covers ready, four years of Diamond Joe material and a fab sidekick. It was a fantastic night, actually, and for various factors:

Victory #1: The St. Cloud Times planned extensively for this night, and it showed. They were sending me updated budgets at least 10 days ahead of time. I had coworkers who were not so lucky with their newsrooms. Their preparation was key in ensuring a smooth night, and everyone on the Heartland team noticed.

Victory #2: Also, they let me smash that front-page budget way up. First there were four story starts, a big-ass refer and a three-column standalone local photo set for 1A. We ended up with three story starts (one above the flag aaaw yeah), a six-column presidential election photo and a slightly smaller-ass refer.

Aesthetically, it’s not my favorite page I’ve ever done. But for what it represents for my former newsroom and current “client,” so to speak (let’s call them “friends in news” instead), it’s a symbolic break from their normal setup and an accomplishment for me in making a case for alternative story forms, bolder layouts and prominence where it’s warranted.

If I could do it again, I’d use a gold color instead of gray for the refer screens and smack an “Election Day 2012″ ribbon above the flag. Luckily, I’ll probably do it again.

I really appreciate the editors’ flexibility. Again, my coworkers were not as lucky. Furthermore, I appreciate them taking a step toward bolder design and a look they claim to want but often turn from.

Victory #3: Praise. I got it. I reveled in it. Whatever. I felt awesome. For the first time, I felt confident in the possibility of a positive reference from all of my design studio superiors, should I need it.

Victory #4: There was so much food. I ate so many feelings. As Joy the Baker might say, I YOLO’d pizza like it was my job; that night, I was convinced that might have been part of it. We could have made a substantial fort with the number of pizza boxes delivered to the Register on Tuesday night. And I absolutely vultured cookies that probably weren’t meant for our department. I’m not sorry.

Victory #5: I had Wednesday off. I went to lunch with a former classmate from UNL who has been working in Des Moines since 2008, took a deluxe couch nap, made this super delicious pumpkin cake as cupcakes (but got too lazy/eager to make the brown butter frosting — this time), cooked some knockoff Centro tomato-basil soup and went to bed a happy Madeline.

It was only one day, but it dominated my week. People are still talking about it. But I guess that one day dominated the news cycle for the last 18 months, so I shouldn’t be surprised. As happy as I am it’s over, I’m content with the work I did and entirely grateful to have imaginative, trusting, big-thinking colleagues in St. Cloud.