LIKE SO MANY OTHERS, Wyndi and her colleague are being asked to do design—without any idea if they are doing it right or not.
At the end of her note, Wyndi includes this quote: “Journalism is the ability to meet the challenge of filling space.” – Rebecca West, English poet. Some might say that design also is the ability to meet the challenge of filling space. Some might say that…not me.
Hi Mr. Henninger,
My colleague and I are staff writers and page designers for our papers, The Farmersville Times and The Princeton Herald. We are wondering what, if anything, we are doing right and what can be improved. Spending so much time writing stories, it becomes difficult to be objective when laying out our pages. We’d appreciate your expert and unbiased eyes and your readers’ opinions.
Thanks for your time,
Wyndi’s page submissions follow, with comments from Ed.
1. Centered heads are a plus…but they don’t have to fill the line like the heroes and gas can heads. Leave a bit of space on the sides.
2. Nameplate needs some punching up. There are some better Old English faces from which to choose.
3. Too much ancillary type below the nameplate. Two lines is a line too many.
4. Good lead photo.
5. Boxing the poem makes it seem that it does not go with the heroes package.
6. Short heroes story doesn’t give readers enough to decide whether they want to jump.
1. Photos aren’t very interesting.
2. Bad wordspacing in type next to mug shot.
3. Widow at top of fourth leg in lead story. Ouch!
4. Instead of boxing off stories (election), I’d advise restructuring to get more space between every package, then use rules to define packages.
1. Larger fireworks photo would have had some strong impact.
2. Could you have used a pull quote to break up the gray of the cafeteria text?
3. Bottom photo is dull..tho necessary.
1. Glad to see you tried for something different in the face-off package. Unfortunately, the headline over the arm does more harm than good. Otherwise, it’s an interesting feature design.
2. Top and bottom two stories make the page seem like a stack of pancakes, with the feature stuck in the middle.
Overall, there’s really little wrong about these pages. Problem is, there’s not really much here that’s exciting. Perhaps you’re trying too hard to give all the packages equal play—and that never works. Pick a strong lead and make it stronger with your design. If everything is special…nothing is.
End of Ed’s rant. How about the rest of you. What thoughts can you share with Wyndi?