MONTHS AGO, I PROMISED to send pdf copies of my two books to the 100th follower on Twitter. It has taken a while, but I now have 100 followers…and Kyle Stephens at The Times-Leader in Grifton, NC has the books. Good for Kyle. Good for me. Good for this blog!
Monthly Archives: November 2010
FOLLOWING UP ON A RECENT COLUMN of mine in Publishers’ Auxiliary, Kasia sent a note about photo pages, especially on pages with ads. I wrote back, asking her to send along some examples. Kasia’s note follows, then her pages…and some thoughts from yours truly
Ed – I enjoyed your article in the PubAux about creating good photo pages. We are a small tabloid paper and I find it a challenge to do a good photo layout on one or two pages, especially when there also are some ads on the pages. I like to run one photo large as a focal point, and I do try to vary the size of the other photos, but I still feel like my pages could stand some improvement. Do you have any suggestions?
1. Most everyone who reads this blog knows I don’t like funky fonts. Find ways to make pages like these work using your standard headline typefaces.
2. Cluster the photos, pushing the caption/copy block to the right edge of the page.
3. Avoid grouped captions. These make the reader go from caption to photo to caption to another photo to caption to another photo…its confusing and time consuming. Do a separate caption on each photo and use the copy block to offer a more general description of the event.
4. Work to give the reader a bit of negative space around the edge of the page. There’s no law that says you have to fill every square centimeter of space. The space at the top right helps here.
1. Perhaps the most visually interesting photo on these facing pages is the shot of the small boat running through the waves. Too bad it got such small play. I’d have put it at the bottom of the left page, running it full across and trimming the story as necessary.
2. There’s just too much type in the jump. Without a pullout or some other element to break it up, it appears daunting.
3. The photo at the top right of the second page is lost above the ad. I’d have placed an unrelated story here then made the best use of the module at the top left of the page.
4. Again, the grouped caption is difficult for readers to follow.
5. The best photo on the right page, I think, is at the bottom right. I like the way you framed the ferry between the backs of the people on shore.
6. Needs some negative space.
1. The best photo here is at the bottom. I’d have shifted it to the top. I like the photo a lot.
2. Please get past the practice of running grouped captions. Make it easier for your readers to navigate your photo pages.
3. Move the caption to the right edge of the page so it doesn’t separate the photos.
4. Without any negative space around the outside edges of the page, the entire package appears crammed. Open up!
I hope this helps you, Kazia. Let’s see what others have to say!
FREQUENT CONTRIBUTOR Michael has submitted three more pages for review and comment. Check back next week for another trio from Michael. His note follows, then pages…with comment from Ed.
Hi Ed. Here’s three more pages for the blog. I’m particularly proud of the A1 with the football banner and reversed nameplate.
The A1 with the voter turnout centerpiece was my solution for not having a lot of art to work with.
Lastly, I hope you don’t mind the “funky font” on the feature package on Halloween haunted trails. Like Kristin Coker, I made an editorial judgment to bend the rules because it’s a fun story and festive time of year (Halloween). As always, however, I fight ads when it comes to the rest of the section front.
1. The top-of-page treatment is excellent. Were I to suggest any change, it would be to try to make the nameplate just a bit larger.
2. It’s unfortunate that you had to place the postal patron box and the edition information to the right of the story, but I don’t know where else I’d have put it. Like you, I would not have wanted to trim the width of the photo. Perhaps a .5-point rule to the right of the story would have helped.
1. Nice work with the voter package. Did you consider darkening the red on the curtain? The red here is very aggressive and it’s hard to read the other material against such a bright color.
2. When you have only a very shallow space for text (voter turnout story), consider moving the byline up. Here, you could have placed it to the left of the voter’s shoes.
3. Widow at top of third leg in voter story.
4. Have you experimented with making the UPC code shallower? Most scanners would be fine with a code half this depth.
FROM ED: OK, the only worse thing than the funky font is the design of the pizza ad. Or…maybe the restaurant ad. Or…maybe the executive offices ad. Other than that, it’s OK. Did I ever mention how much I really, rrreeeaaallllllllllyyyy dislike funky fonts?
What do the rest of you think of Michael’s pages? Time to chime in!
SO…HOW DO YOU DO A TEXT WRAP that’s so bad it makes your teeth hurt? Thanks to my colleague Doug Fisher, here’s a look at one example. This comes from The State, in Columbia, SC.
A widow…really bad word spacing…well, not something I’d wanna put in my portfolio.
I begin to despair that page assembly people (no designer did this!) will ever get the idea that really bad word spacing makes the newspaper look sloppy.
Does anyone out there want to try to defend this?
SCOTT SENDS US A LOOK at the progression in the design of The Cherokee One Feather front page over the past couple of years. Quite a bit of difference between the first and the last. I’ve numbered them, with corresponding dates. I have no evaluation here…just offering these for you to take a look, with thanks to Scott for sending them along.
Dates of the pages:
1) JAN 2, 2008
2) JAN 7, 2009
3) DEC 15, 2009
4) JAN 7, 2010
5) NOV 4, 2010
6) NOV 11, 2010
So…any thoughts to share with Scott?
SCOTT OFFERS THESE PAGES as his first submission to Ed Henninger’s Blog. He asks Ed not to hold back. Now…when have you ever known Ed to hold back?
Hello Ed, I received notice about your blog from a fellow designer at the SND News Designer website. Your blog is awesome!! LOVE IT!! I am a reporter/photographer who’s been thrust into the world of designing in the past two years. I must say that I really, really enjoy design…probably just about as much as writing and shooting. Now, I just have to get good at it LOL.
I’ve attached several pages for you to comment on if you will. I value your opinion and trust that you’ll be honest with me so don’t hold back :)
Thanks again for your time.
FROM ED: Ouch! There’s a lot to fix here.
1. The nameplate takes up too much space and really needs to be redesigned. Too busy and too big, and all that ancillary type below it needs fixing.
2. There are some Bodoni display faces that work well, but the ones you have here aren’t among them. The Verdana also needs rethinking. It was designed for the web and I’m not sure it works as a print display face.
3. I don’t get the rationale for the color blocks behind the teasers. They’re too heavy and ten to draw too much attention to themselves. These may just be the most dominant elements on the page.
4. The top right teaser is way overwritten. Teasers need to be short, with catchy writing. This is long and dull.
5. Why place the parade headline in the photo? ‘Cause you can?
6. I like the apple art with the shadow.
1. Great lead photo…and you used it very well.
2. I don’t get the reason for using the “V” drop initial when it’s really just the first letter of the dateline.
3. Bad widow at the top of the 3d leg of the story.
Even with those criticisms, I like the general approach of the page.
1. The Bodoni and Verdana really have to go. Have you checked out your fonts files to see what you have available that ma work better?
2. Did you consider placing the apples in front of the headline instead of behind it? I’d have tried that. Maybe one in front and the other behind. I like to work on those and see what they do. Notice, I said “work on those”…not “play with them.”
3. Glad to see you’re learning that negative space can be a good thing.
4. Strength of the shadows behind the art differs. The shadow on the top left apple is much lighter. I know: it’s a detail…but I believe that getting the details right is the hallmark of a professional.
1. I like the photo, but not the placement of the credit. What’s the reason for putting it there? Couldn’t you have placed it below the bottom right corner of the photo?
2. Good headline! It’s OK —even preferable—to take some chances in the headline writing on features pages.
3. You could have run the text a bit higher and a bit shorter and had it fall against the blue sky, instead of having to place it in that white box.
But, again…it’s a good effort. I think you have promise as a designer.
So…did Ed hold back? What would you tell Scott?
KRISTIN GIVES US A SCARE with her latest submission.
Sorry that it’s been so long. Well, anywho, I thought I would send one of my latest pages along and see what everyone thinks. I probably overdid it, but I think my Halloween page looks exactly as I would have wanted it: SCARY! Hopefully, in a good way.
Our photographer took some great photographs of the city’s Haunted House for Halloween. One photograph had all this web in the frame and that was my inspiration for the page. I wanted it to look dark and web like, just like a haunted house would be. I Photoshoped the edges a little for more texture too. So, did I go overboard? Lemme hear what you think.
1. Can’t tell form the pdf just how readable the text is through all that gray/white background. Did you up the text size at all to make it a bit more readable?
2. I like the approach overall but would have tinkered with the size of the two bottom photos so they don’t go edge-to-edge across the page.
3. Bottom swath of gray/black/web seems a bit much, almost like wasted space. But…really like the top of the page.
4. No comment on the funky font.
That’s the quick-and-dirty from Ed. What are your thoughts?