Someone thought this was creative. Nope…it’s just bad design.
“THINK DIFFERENT.” It was a slogan developed in 1997 by the advertising agency working with Apple Computer, Inc. (now just Apple).
Apple dropped the slogan in 2002 when it shifted to a new advertising approach. But the slogan worked well then.
Apply that slogan to news design today and it still works.
We have to think different about news design—or risk having no design at all.
Here are some particulars:
SOME THINK design is about creativity. It’s not. It’s about using our creative skills to design packages that attract readers—and make sense to them.
SOME THINK design is about typography. It’s not. It’s about using text type that’s highly legible in a format that’s highly readable. It’s about using display typography that’s clear, classic and straightforward. It’s about using type to communicate, not to “prettify.”
SOME THINK design is about scattering odd column widths throughout the newspaper, on some pages using a different text width in all four stories on a page. It’s not. It’s about using a text width that works well throughout the entire newspaper, giving readers a stronger sense of structure.
SOME THINK design is about giving readers something new in every issue. It’s not. It’s about giving readers a sense of consistency, taking special care to anchor content where readers are used to finding it.
SOME THINK design is about creating new labels, new logos, new standing elements. It’s not. It’s about creating a format for standing elements that will last for the long term—and then fitting any new standing elements to that format.
SOME THINK design is about putting more things on the page. It’s not. It’s about taking things away.
To create newspapers that work better for our readers, we need to take a closer look at how our design is—or isn’t—working.
We need to think different.