Thoughts from a design judge

READERSHIP INSTITUTE

MARY NESBITT, managing director of The Readership Institute, offers some thoughts on newspaper design after just having helped judge the annual design contest for the Society for News Design (SND).

Some of her comments:

“Isn’t that the ultimate test of design – does it attract people’s attention? Does it cause them to stop and spend some time with a story, a package, a page, a section? Does it help them extract the most value in the limited time they have?

“If you asked readers directly what constitutes good design, most would not be able to articulate it. But indirectly, in conversations and observed settings, they leave lots of clues.

“For instance, design works for them when it clarifies and enhances the meaning and import of a story and helps them understand something they care about.

“Design works when it makes it easy to find what they are looking for. It works when you can guide them to content of interest elsewhere in the paper – or in the information universe, for that matter.

“Design aids graze-ability. Practically everyone, even heavy readers as Poynter has demonstrated with its Eyetrack research, uses visual cues…”

Check out the entire piece when you have a moment. I believe it helps all of us think more clearly about what we do…and why.

[Thanks to fellow consultant John Peterson]

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