FOR MONTHS, I had been looking forward to spending a few days with Kevin Slimp at his Institute of Newspaper Technology. I’d heard about the institute for years and was flattered when Kevin invited me to be one of the speakers this year. It all took place at the end of last week in Knoxville, TN, and I was delighted to be a part of it. Why am I telling you all this? Because this is a HOLLER and not just a hint! Mark your calendars now for next year’s INT. It’ll be during the fall break (early-mid October) on the campus of the University of Tennessee. If you want a taste of what this year’s institute was like, check it out here. …And get ready for more information-packed workshops next year. It will be an experience you’ll never forget.
DANA HAS BEEN a longtime follower of Ed’s blog. And now she offers this page for our review and comment.
FROM DANA: Here’s a little summer road trip page I did for the New York Outdoor News on trips to combine fishing and baseball. We are every-other-week newspaper that covers hunting/fishing in New York. Outdoor News is in 6 other states as well, including a Minnesota weekly.
FROM ED: Although the page is a bit busy, I like the design thinking I see here. Some specifics:
1. I’d like to see a bit more negative space from the frame to the type. This appears to be only a pica inset. It really needs two to three picas so the page can breathe.
2. I’m not usually a fan of script fonts, but I think it works well here.
3. The map is really a help and the overlaid photos lend additional visual interest.
4. Nice thinking on placing the story above the map, because it helps to move the map to the center of the page. Otherwise, there would be a lot of gray there.
5. I like the use of the photo at the top…but not sure about the sand around the bottom edges. Just a bit too much, perhaps.
6. Glad you used flush left type for the text.
I think it’s a good page…perhaps a contest entry. Now. let’s see if others have any thoughts!
MICHELLE OFFERS us her first submission for review and comment. Michelle and I exchanged emails about the lack of rules on the page and, well..read on.
FROM MICHELLE: I’ve been following the blog for a while, and trying to implement some of your suggestions. I don’t get a whole page to work with very often, and I have no design training other than what I’ve picked up from you. One of my limitations is that I’ve been told not to use any dividing lines. Here’s an Autumn Section cover I put together recently. I’m guessing I should have more variety in the headline sizes. Any other implementable tips for a design newbie? We use InDesign, but I don’t yet have the InDesign skills of most of the talented folks who submit pages to you.
ED’S RESPONSE TO MICHELLE’S NOTE: I’m curious: Why have you been told not do use dividing lines? What’s the rationale behind that? I think that’s something to be addressed in my comments. And, yes, I know that sometimes the answer is “…because he/she is the boss!”
AND…MICHELLE’S REPLY TO ED: Besides your most obvious (and totally correct) reason, the explanation that I was given is that they just “junk up the page” and white space is more appealing, and that the headlines serve adequately to separate the stories…
ED’S THOUGHTS ON THE PAGE: There’s a lot to talk about here, but let’s start with some comments about the rules:
1. I believe rules between packages are essential. They do not just “junk up the page.” Rather, they help readers to distinguish between packages on the page. Yes, white space (I prefer the term “negative space” for space that is deliberately placed into a design) is more appealing but part of using rules between packages means placing negative space adjacent to or above/below the rules. So, you get both: rules and negative space.
2. You’re right about the headline sizes being too similar.
3. Another problem with the headlines is that they are all Palatino Bold. And…Palatino isn’t very good as a headline typeface. It’s been overused. Let’s look for something classier and more contemporary. You’re also using Palatino for text and I know you can do much better with other typefaces there, too.
4. More space is needed between packages all around.
5. If this is a feature front, it needs fewer but larger photos and a better focus. I’d start with fewer stories. This is crammed. Let’s restart…from scratch…and give this a much more feature look.
6. It’s hard to find the beginning of the studio tour story. A drop cap would have helped.
I’m sure others have comments that will help. Let’s see what they have to say.
I MET ANDREW ALEXANDER just a few days ago while I was doing design workshops at Kevin Slimp’s Institute of Newspaper Technology 2012 in Knoxville, Tn. During one of those workshops, I mentioned this blog and encouraged those attending to submit photos, quotes and pages for comment.
Andrew, from the Independent Appeal in Selmer, TN, jumped right in, submitting the photo below. As we broke for lunch, he offered me some background.
He explained that while he was taking the picture of a “haunted house,” some of the smoke from his cigarette drifted into the top right corner of the photo. “Cool,” I said—but I had no idea just how interesting the photo would be until I had the time to take a close look.
I see a “ghost” in the smoke. Yes…really. Can you see him? If you do, send me a screenshot of this photo and show me the face. Next week, I’ll show you what I see.
Thanks, Andrew! Here’s the pic: