7 responses to “Page from: Marcus Fitzsimmons | The Daily Times

  1. WHOA! I wish I had thought of the smoke treatment. N-I-C-E!! And the drop caps are the icing on the cake. WOW!
    I’m like Ed, the hand is too big and takes away some the impact from your Civil War story. But the hand is a nice element.
    And Ed, it’s not the Civil War; it the Civil “Wa-ar” – two syllables. And The “Wa-ar” of Northern Aggression must be the title used in Georgia. People in Atlanta still take it personal.

  2. I can say our local writer went along with my rewrite of her lead and what AP doesn’t know, wont hurt them. :)

    In hindsight, I really should have brought the hand down in size. Igot carried away on trying to convey reach with the flag text.

    Karen, the residents of Atlanta take it so personally because—judging by my continual adventures on I-75 and the various loops—they are still rebuilding.

  3. I agree about the hand, and really like all the nice touches – the smoke, the drop caps, etc. I’m curious about whether you considered moving the Clinton, Gore story inside and dedicating the whole front page to the Civil War package. The Clinton, Gore story seems out of place. Also (really minor nit) wondering about the photo used with the Masters teaser. I like the bridge but the feet seem disembodied. Or is it just me?

  4. Wow, afraid I’m going to be the dissenting voice here. From the top down:

    Agree with Marie that the Masters photo is cool but the disembodied feet are not.

    Agree not only that the hand is too big but think it’s out of place. If it goes with the Reaching Hands Ministry tease, it should be MUCH smaller — not much deeper than the gradated strip — and situated so that it’s obvious what element it goes with.

    The smoke? Sorry, I think it’s badly misguided. As designers, we must never allow our love/appreciation for the visual aspect of the news to trump our sensitivity to the clarity of the presentation. What the smoke tells me at a glance is that the photo and the story to the right are related, since the elements are comingled. The confusion is exacerbated by the headline, and further exacerbated by the lede graph. It’s not until midway through the second graph that I realize, “Oh, this story has nothing to do with the photo of the cannon.” We do our readers no service by confusing them. In fact, this may likely annoy some.

    Another side effect of the smoke is that it discredits the hard news value of the elements. It looks like a feature presentation.

    The ellipsis at the beginning of the Civil War package also is not a good choice. An ellipsis tells us that something came before. What? Although the lede headline is to the right, because it’s higher on the page and mixed with the smoke of the story to the left, a reader could understandably connect the headlines and read, “As the smoke clears, they are not forgotten” (especially since “they” is lowercase.) The deck head on the lede cuts down this possibility, but the point is, the ellipsis isn’t needed and indeed is confusing. As is the capitalized “Forgotten,” as Ed mentioned.

    The “N” and “S” drop caps are a nice touch — very subtle, as Ed says — but coloring them blue and gray gilds the lily, diminishing if not altogether doing away with the subtlety. I am not a fan of literal color uses. Too obvious. If the drop caps are the same color , the smart reader gets it anyway, and there’s a certain self-satisfaction to “getting” subtlety that the color usage also diminishes. If the not-so-smart reader doesn’t get it, no harm. (There was a package on the blog a couple of weeks ago where the letters of the word “color” in a headline were each a different color. Same objection times five. In a kids’ book, maybe. Never in a newspaper.)

    This comingling I mentioned is an overall problem, with the giant hand invading the nameplate and the smoke obscuring — both figuratively and literally — the lede headline.

    I do think elements of one story may invade another, but it must be subtle — a cutout element extending just over a vertical rule can add to visual dynamism without confusing the reader.

    • Marie – I left two holes for hard news in the right chimney when I finished Friday night. The shutdown lead came Sat morning and thus the smoke was reworked. If space had allowed we’d have an analysis of shutdown winners and losers run ragged right where the funeral went, but when Clinton showed up it jumped up the priority scale and the analysis was killed.

      Tim I like dissenting voices and you hit on a thing or two that concerned me. Promo wise it didnt work out the way I wanted. On the comingling, it was intentional on my part to do so, and let readers draw their own comparison of the fate of things when political debate degrades to a point where there is no debate but only ‘I am all right and you all are all wrong.’ Which is where some of the comments we got back led to. Our community is long-time resident conservative with a small but growing base of liberals mainly moving back home or retiring to the mountains. Tack that to this area was pro-Union in a Confederate state and I thought they’d get it.
      That said I’d agree with you 99.6 percent of the time on it.

      The headline, in fact, was a mistake on my part. I should have googled the lyrics to ‘Dixie’ rather than trusting the way my grandmother sang it to me 30-plus years ago. “Old times THERE are not forgotten” not THEY. Was going for a double word play and got sloppy.

  5. Scott M. Brings Plenty

    Hey Maryville, Tenn…just over the mountain from us :)

    I like this page and the smoke part…forget about it…that’s just an awesome touch! The space provided between packages on this page is very, very well done in my opinion…this is one aspect of design I still really stink at LOL

  6. Kristin Coker

    Just one word. AWSOME!
    Please let me know if you have a portfolio on a website somewhere. Would love to see more of your work.

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