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Presentation IS Content

“I am not the editor of a
newspaper and shall always try
to do right and be good, so that
God will not make me one.”
                -- Mark Twain

 First, let‟s learn some design
vocabulary. These are mostly
newspaper terms, but there‟s
some overlap on magazine and Web

GLOSSARY handouts.
Page design is another form of editing. In designing a page, as
in the editing of a story, you have to make a number of decisions
(often under intense deadline pressure). Whereas the writer
-- and headline writer -- assigns a value to the facts to be used in
a story, and what quotes will be used, the page designer assigns
a value to the importance of the stories to be used on a page
and what art elements will be used.

 Just as a writer selects what lede device will be used (feature or
straight news), the page designer selects the treatment for the
play story. The first paragraph of a story isn't always the
lede, the story placed highest on a page isn't always the play.
And sometimes, on slow news days, you actually have a “no-
play” story page. But you always have to have a cover, a Page
1 or a home page on the Web site. (The naked Pentecostalists)
   Design: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Design can be the light in the darkness that helps readers
either reach understanding, or it can hide the very
content you've worked so hard to compile. Here's a quick
and dirty summary of what design, at its best, at its least
and at its worst, can accomplish:

AT ITS BEST ... Design takes part in the overall storytelling

AT ITS LEAST ... Design should get out of the way and
allow the information to serve its purpose

AT ITS WORST ... Design becomes a hindrance to the
reader -- a hurdle that most readers won't take the time to
try to climb over.
     When design
      goes awry
This is an example of a
design that sends the
wrong signals to the
reader. The photo of the
cheerleaders has nothing
to do with the story on the
shooting. There needs to
be some sort of device
that (a rule perhaps? a
caption head for the
photo?) makes it clear the
elements are distinct.
In layout, the decision-making process expands and gets
more complicated. You are not only concerned with the
content and form of individual stories, but also how those
stories fit into the "Big Picture.” Like editing stories, you
have the get acquainted (finding stories, photos, etc.),
janitorial (sizing photos, writing heads) and cerebral stages
(is it worth Page 1?). Some other questions to ask:

 Should it go high or low on the page?
 Will a graphic, lift quote or mug shot aid story-telling?
 Are there other pictures? Related stories to refer to?
 If not a photo with story, what will my main art be?

Why is a good, clean
design so important? To
draw attention to a page
and to make it easier for the
customer to navigate it.

You can compare design to
going to the grocery store …
            Design: Like a grocery story
 A pleasing display makes the product more eye-catching
    -- and more likely to be purchased (or read)!
   The grocer and the editor also want to help the customer
    locate things, so they have to be conscious of packaging
    and product placement
   The store aisles will often have signs telling what
    products are available. Newspaper pages have
    headlines as “traffic signs," and most newspapers will
    often have an index of some kind.
   Related stories are packaged together or refer lines are
    used to direct readers to related stories.
   And just like you find “impulse” items at the checkout
    counter, editors offer brites and other nuggets that you
    might not have known were there.
These are all devices to make the processing of
information easier and more convenient for the reader.
Someone once said that "people and puppies both must be
trained to use a newspaper" -- so make it as easy for them
as possible. Utilize the KISS method -- keep it simple,
stupid. But simple doesn't mean unattractive.

Page design is part science and part art. You have to have
some math skills to make everything fit -- and you have to
have some creativity to make an eye-pleasing package.
Designs from
  the past
Designs from
  the past
             Design: Forms of layout
 Vertical: Prime examples are the NY Times, LA Times
  and Wall Street Journal. Stories run vertically down the
  page with multi-deck heds. Known for “dog legs” (see
  previous page). Photos are seldom more than 3 columns
  wide. Newspapers with vertical layout generally have a
  high story count on the front page.

 Horizontal: Columns of type flow across the page with
  few if any vertical elements. Photos often go the width of
  the page. Can look “stacky”… like laying bricks.

 Modular: Combines vertical and horizontal. Modular
  layout is a design system that views a page as a
  collection of rectangles. You can compare a modular
  page to a bookcase or an entertainment centre.
Some vertical layouts
Vertical with an awful doglegged ad … and one that is mostly horizontal
 Design: It‟s a mod,
  mod, mod, mod
Why use modular layout? People
have become accustomed to
looking at rectangular shapes. We
have color TVs, computers; stereos,
VCRs -- and guess what: those are
all rectangular shapes.

Modular layout is generally more
flexible -- and because type is fluid
you can create variety with differently
shaped rectangles. Here‟s what you
can do with a 12-inch story …
A page with a
modular design

Note that every story,
even those accompanied
by a photo, makes its
own distinct retangular
Comparing modular designs
Comparing modular design
                      Design elements
   Body type. Usually 9 point or 10 point (around an eighth of an
    inch tall)

   Display type: headlines, fancy refers

   Borders: The rules that divide stories (tops, sides). Boxes.
    Bordered photos

   White space, open space: adds emphasis

   Visuals, art: includes photos, info graphics, illustrations

   Color: on type or visuals

   Audio and video: for Web sites
            Where things go on a page

It‟s helpful to learn a bit about how people view the printed
page. This is America, and we read left to right and top to
bottom. But the eye is also drawn to bold colors and

So where do you put things on a page? A lot of these
decisions seem like common sense. You wouldn‟t put your
TV at the bottom of the entertainment center, or put the
VCR too far away. But there‟s some science and research
involved as well. Here are a couple of concepts:
                  Where things go on a page
Prime optical areas. This school holds
that the eye flows in a somewhat of a Z
pattern, although that path can be
interrupted by optical magnets (display
type, visuals). If you divide the page into
quadrants from the optical center, then
the northwest quadrant is the prime
optical area. That‟s where your good
stuff – dominant art? -- should be
placed. The southeast quadrant is the
terminal area, where the reader‟s eye
leaves the page. It therefore has strong
visual attraction. The northeast and
southwest quadrants are the fallow
areas and may require optical magnets
because the reader‟s eye doesn‟t
naturally go there.
                Where things go on a page
Center of visual impact: Times
change, and people‟s viewing
patterns change – thanks
largely to Web pages, etc. The
new school, relying on eye-
tracking research, feels the
prime optical and terminal areas
don‟t have to be in the corners;
they can be anywhere on the
page. The CVI – usually the
dominant art or the boldest
display type – become the
reader‟s point of entry into the
page. Let‟s compare a color
page with a B&W page …
              Where things go on a page
Generally, the most widely used point of entry on a main display page
is the dominant art, whether color or black and white. The second point
was type above the flag and then the largest headline on the page.
Readers do not necessarily look at the traditional top right position for
the lead (play) story.

The researchers also studied secondary movement -- where the eye
went after the point of entry was recorded. Note that on the black and
white page, readers in the group who entered the page through the
main photo actually were a bit more likely (44%) to go to the off-lead
story on the upper left that the lead story (38%) on the upper right.

Important for ad folks -- on two-page newspaper and magazine
spreads, the dominant visual on the righthand page generally draws
attention before the reader enters the lefthand page, again through a
dominant visual or headline.
                       Design principles
   Know your canvas: Broadsheet vs. tabloid
   Be fold conscious. Less than 4 percent of folks use the below-the-
    fold area as a point of entry.
   Anchor a page: We still read top to bottom. Every Page One has a
    bottom, so put something decent down there.
   Hand rule: Use your hand as a gauge to determine if an area is too
    gray. To gain a good balance between visuals and text, an open
    page should be one-third art.
   Packaging: Related items should touch or be boxed.
   Dominant art: The dominant art should be at least twice the size of
    any other art element on a display page.
   Use contrast: Attract the reader‟s eye either through use of color or
    typography. With color, try to play a primary color (red, blue, yellow)
    off against its opposite secondary color (orange, green, purple) or
    tertiary color (peach, lime, aqua, blue-violet, red-orange, red-violet)
    on color wheel. This makes the primary color stand out.
   Consistency: Try to keep standing items (lotto numbers, comics,
    index, weather, etc.) in the same area each day. Helps the reader
    finds things. Like puppies, people can be trained with papers, too!
            Design principles

• Questions of Design
• A page checklist (on back)
            Design: Rules of thumb
Every paper has its own philosophy. That philosophy is
most visibly reflected in its Page One design. The front
page is a newspaper's face (generally the first thing we see
is a person's face), and page makeup is much like putting
makeup on a face. You can use a little makeup or quite a
bit and still be very attractive -- USA Today would be like
Madonna and the Boston Globe is more like Sandra
Bullock. The New York Post is like Marilyn Manson.

Newspapers reveal much about themselves in the number
and tone of stories on Page One, in the typeface that is
used and how color is used. The Page One design helps
determine newspaper's voice.
         Design: Page 1 Rules of thumb
Here are some basic tips to get you started on a
Page One layout (for a broadsheet page):

 Place the dominant art first -- placement is determined
  by the news value, whether it is connected to a story and
  by the physical shape of the art. But generally the
  dominant art will be at least 3 columns wide and be
  located near the center of the page with some portion
  above the fold. A square is generally the weakest shape.

 Place the play story -- the play story is above the fold but
  not always at the top of the page. It starts in one of the
  prime optical areas. It is nearly always 2 columns or
  more wide and takes a 48-72 point or larger headline.
        Design: Page 1 Rules of thumb
 Place secondary art elements and stories: again
  determined by shape of art and news value. Headlines
  generally decrease in point size as you move down a
  page, subconsciously telling the reader the relative
  importance of those stories.

 Number of stories is usually 5-7. You want the main
  news of the day while also achieving a mix of stories that
  will appeal to a wide and diverse audience.

 Stories should run only about 6-10 inches on Page One
  – remember, you have a jump page.

 Avoid gutters going the length of the page
 Watch out for bumping headline or art problems
           Design: Page 1 Rules of thumb

 How Page One decisions are made at the
    Chronicle. Show BUDGETS

 NEWSPAPER EXAMPLES. Note differences in
    dominant art, teasers, indexes, play stories etc.

   Also visit
    Or visit and the Page One Today link

 Next class:       Form groups, design a Page 1
    More on Design

What you learned about design
       Use of contrast
  Page 1 Beauty Contest
Design: What‟s wrong with each of these?

(Judge according to the design principles, etc. discussed last time)
Design: Which one is the best layout?
        Contrast: An instant eye magnet

 Any variation in the physical characteristics of one
  typographic element when viewed in relation to another:
  letter to letter, word to word, line to line, sentence to
  sentence, paragraph to paragraph, story to story or from
  any one of these elements to any one or combination of
  the others.

 Contrast also results from the positioning of any type
  element on or near any other visual element -- photos,
  illustrations, graphics, rule lines, dingbats, white space,
  color blocks or shapes, etc. These relationships are
  critical to the success or failure of a given design and will
  affect the readability of both the typographic and
  illustrative elements.
       White space as a contrast tool
White space is often referred to as negative space; it
is the area of the page left unmarked, the space
between type and visuals. White space should not be
considered merely “blank„ space” - it is an important
element of design. Judicious use of white space can
give a page a classic, elegant, or rich appearance. A
page crammed full of text or graphics with very little
white space runs the risk of appearing busy,
cluttered and is typically difficult to read.
The good …   … the bad and ugly
                         Contrast: Examples
If it happens in Houston, it‟s news to the Chronicle.
(An actual advertising slogan at one time)

Same slogan, with some contrast added:

If it happens in Houston, it‟s               NEWS to the

Contrast handout, examples
           Design: Now you do it

 Get into your groups, hold a news meeting
 Create a Page 1 from the elements you‟ve
  selected. Sketch your Page 1 on the page
 Write a headline on the play story (only)
 Deadline is 2:10
 Prizes to the “winning” team

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