Design is not an “extra”: The rant!

OK, I’VE HAD IT.

I recently received an e-mail from an editor who was excited about the prospect of doing a redesign.

We had reviewed an issue of her newspaper together and the paper very much needs design work. On top of that, she’s struggling just to put the paper together every week—her company switched her to InDesign a few months ago. Oh, yeah…they gave her some training to handle the new software. Four hours. With someone who knew nothing about how newspapers are put together, much less how newsrooms function.

z DESIGN NOT EXTRAHer e-mail read, in part: “…the company won’t fork out any money for any ‘extras’ at this time.”

I am tired of design being written off as an “extra.” And—honestly—it’s not because it means less business. It’s because thinking of design as an “extra” is so short-sighted, especially nowadays when publishers are jumping through hoops trying to gain and retain readers.

What is the first thing a person sees when he looks at your newspaper? The design. And that design speaks volumes about the product as a whole.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is credible. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is careful. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is planned. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is professional. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is polished. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is organized. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is consistent. Or not.

But, for far too many publishers, design is an “extra.”

Yeah…

Like accurate reporting is an “extra.”

Like good writing is an “extra.”

Like making deadline is an “extra.”

Like selling ads is an “extra.”

Like good sales training is an “extra.”

Like hiring the right people is an “extra.”

Like checking your P&L regularly is an “extra.”

Design is not an “extra.” Not in the least. It’s one of the key ingredients you need to create a newspaper that’s worth reading—and worth advertising in.

But it’s your choice. You can continue to discount the value of design…you can keep thinking of design as an “extra.”

Here’s a quote you may have heard before, but it certainly applies:

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done…then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”

If you keep thinking of design as an “extra”…then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

And eventually, even that P&L won’t matter.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Other

2 responses to “Design is not an “extra”: The rant!

  1. willfranklin

    Thank you. I could not have said it better myself. It seems like each and every day, newspapers are losing staff and things get thrown out the window, like design. It’s ok, because the concern isn’t about circulation numbers or rack sales, but about Web hits. It wasn’t too long ago that a good designer was worth their weight in gold. Nowadays …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s