14 responses to “Pages from: Jeanette Kendall | Times Newspapers

  1. I like the promo cutouts, especially placing them to play off the line in the flag, sliding along with baseball and jumping over.

    The lack of a grid bothers me. If there is one, you can’t tell from front because no two stories seem to be on the same one.

    There doesn’t seem to be agreement between designers on when to use a rule and when not to and how much space to allow when you do. Make Ed confess why he boxes rules and let that put some consistency on the spacing between content.

    The Bass Pro shops package leads me to ask a few questions (and one pointedly to see if it starts a discussion)
    Why is there no byline on left hand story?
    Is there an inside space limit that would have kept them from jumping to same page?
    Is the box above dropping deeper down than story on right standard?
    Last, I’d say Ed has a point on logo there BUT, is it better to cut it out and float it evenly between legs, not cut it out and float to top of second leg or incorporate it into another element added in the leg(s)?

  2. Mary Kincy

    So Ed (or someone else who hears my cry) … I hear what you’re saying about aligning to the baseline, but we’ve never done that before. How will doing so affect our ability to use leading to “fit” text to a certain space. Of course, we have certain guidelines for how we allow our paginators to do this. Am I showing my ignorance here?

  3. Times-Courier:
    — Need a baseline grid.
    — Photos need to be cropped better, and color corrected.
    — Stories are justified, caps are flush left – I’d prefer the reverse.
    — Light sans subheads add to the grayness of the page – no impact.
    — Boxed sworn-in story: if you’re going to box, then center the elements inside the box.
    — First In Print – I take that to mean this story is a scoop – but I really don’t know that, and perhaps no one else does either. I see the First In Print blue box before anything else on the page. I think it should be First To Go.
    — Not enough space above heads/between packages.
    — Bass Pro Shop logo – it’s too big and of you’re going to put a round peg in a square hole then center the hole with the story and set the story flush left, but even so, never make legs that narrow. Forcing insets into narrow justified copy creates way too many rivers and bad word spacing. Better bet here would have been to use an oval runaround.
    — What’s with the narrow columns in the gas prices story?

    — Photos need to be cropped better.
    — Layout is too tight.
    — “Family Back” and “Classroom space” heads are tombstoned.
    — Subhead “The beginning” followed by just one line of copy … cropping the bottom of the photo (I assume the people have legs, I don’t need to see them) would leave room for more lines of copy under the subhead.
    — Michelle Bernier box … is this a style that has precedent? The Q&A is strung in 3 cols, then in the 4th col is a “More about” in yet another box, then her photo takes up the entire right column, but it’s short vertically, then her title and the byline are tossed in the upper right … needs to be revisited. On first quick glance from a distance, I see “Liz Rice” and the picture of Bernier and think it’s the same woman.

    — Like the teasers.
    — Fire Dept. photo is way too small.
    — Hyphenated orphan at the bottom of the 2nd leg of the lead story, another orphan at the bottom of the 3rd.
    — “He is my refuge” almost tombstoned with “Parking” – Why not ditch the inset photo and put the headline in reverse in the large expanse of grass?
    — I’m seeing boxes, column rules, horizontal rules, too many lines – the “refuge” package doesn’t need a box at all.

  4. Cynthia

    Page is very gray with too many elements and not enough white space. There should be at least 3-6 picas between packages – more is best. It looks crammed.

    Headlines shouldn’t run above pics that run caption underneath. Best to put headline with text – in every case.

    Italic headlines don’t look right and mugs seem really big to me.

    What if “Morton” were upper and lower case in the nameplate? Maybe sans serif heavy – something completely different from TIMES-REPORTER.

    AGAIN – White space is your friend! You can’t over do it.

  5. Cynthia

    Oops – one more thing. I would move nameplate to left and leave some white space on the right. Perhaps reduce ALL about 20%. It’s too big.

  6. East Peroria: I love the baseball player sliding on the nameplate. The “First In Print” blocks the headline. If it is a repeating element, make it one column and embed it at the beginning of the story. I feel the city commissioner photo should go upper right on page with the photo of the CEO lower on the page. That way the photo action (yawn) is pointed inward. Bass Pro Shop logo should have a text wrap, not a boxy white space. Story seems to be going all over the place.
    Morton Times: The Black Hawk Down story screams for a pull out quote or something to draw the reader into the story. Crop the photo. (I’ve heard this man speak before – he has a compelling story. Personally, I would have dropped the background on the photo, made a text wrapped, and found a quote to pull out and feature or make a subhead.) The captions in the center of the page are too close in size. Family photo is too big. Why does Michelle’s photo garner such a large size? Is this an ongoing feature in the paper? Liz’s story is – well, it’s stopped too short – it looks like it’s gasping for air. If it is important enough to be on the front page, give it some space to grab the readers.
    Washington Times: Love, love the track jumper – good graphic. Needs a bigger photo for the fire department story and downsize the National Day of Prayer story – maybe imbed the caption into the green grass. Use either a box or a dividing line; not both. How many column widths are on this page?

  7. Jack

    I’m going to risk showing my young curmudgeonly nature here (*you durn kids get off a my lawn!*), but I’m going to take a guess that they are very young designers? Fresh out of college?

    There’s nothing wrong with that, and we all had to start somewhere (and how many of us don’t hang our heads at things we once thought looked good?), but more and more I’ve seen kids come out of college Journalism or graphic design programs, then get a job at a print publication, and have NO IDEA what a pica is.

    If I had a dollar for every time I met a new employee who came up to me holding a pica ruler (which is standard at everyone’s desk) and asks me, “What’s this funky ruler for?” I’d have enough to buy myself an iPad. (Note to self: Start a “You asked a stupid question and now must put a $1.oo in my iPad fund” jar)

    Anyhoo, point being there doesn’t seem to be any use of pica spacing here. Some spaces between elements look like about half a pica, some about a third and some spacing is almost non-existent.

    It could go a long way to open up the spacing just by clarifying the unit of measure of a pica, and insisting on something the first editor at the first newspaper I worked for told me. “Everything — EVERYTHING — should have at least a solid 1 pica spacing between elements.” Aligning to a baseline grid helps this out immensely — it basically just helps you set elements evenly and spaced accordingly. Symmetry is our friend. Although, I freely admit I’m so anal retentive about aligning things that I don’t have a baseline grid set up for most of my pages (and I know many of you are probably just as zealous).

    I agree, the cutouts are well done. Those can be a pain to do, so kudos to your designers for giving them a shot. The one of the baseball player sliding, though, it looks to me like they tried to cut out a cloud of dust from the forward shoe, and in the process cut out part of the shoe — his foot looks oddly angular. Suggest in a similar cut in the future that you actually cut out the cloud of dust (or part of it) with the rest of the CoB image. This helps to avoid cutting out pieces of limbs hidden by shadow, dust, smoke, and give an added sense of action. Trail the cloud of dust behind the masthead, over the masthead, whatever.

    Perhaps setting up some rules for consistency could be helpful. Why are some stories justified and others set to the left? Why is the box for the main art a hairline line in one paper but apparently a one point (thicker) line in another?

    The teacher story: I would avoid a box within a box, whenever possible. Try setting the sidebar off differently.

    I agree, that “First in print” was the first thing I saw. It needs to go. Give your readers the benefit of the doubt that they are smart enough to know if they’ve read something before.

    Last, but not least, more waffles. Every front page could use more waffles. And bacon … and eggs! Or maybe I just didn’t have breakfast this morning.

  8. Kristin Coker

    Definitely could use some negative space around your stories. Let the stories breathe and I’ll bet you will like the outcome.

    Make sure your artwork is dominant and all other photos should be less than half that size. If you have good art, use it to your advantage.

    Always have a dominant headline, something that says look at me first. Right now, many of your headlines are blending in with one another.

    Not sure the point of putting a box around a story and then ruling it off with another line. You don’t need it.

    Why are some of your stories flush right and some justified? Set paragraph styles for your paper and have everyone adhere to them or it will just look like a jumbled mess.

    I do like your promos. Good use of the cutouts.

  9. Cynthia

    A little off topic here. But speaking of young designers, this job was just posted on Craigslist in Nashville. Is it just me, or is the pay/respect/value for newspaper design diminishing? This job is to design a weekly, 24-page paper for $210 per week? IMO, you’d make more at McDonald’s!

    What is the median pay for a seasoned designer (not beginner) these days? I have no idea.


  10. To add to what Jack said there a few standard things we’ve done (and are doing again right now) with training folks fresh from school or fresh to a newspaper where there are styles and guidelines.

    Pica pole and dummy sheets — Draw it for me first before you put one element on the page. It can really helps new ones grasp that you have to account for all element and their respective space which may help loosen up designs. It also begins to put in the head that pages don’t just happen, you have to plan.

    In reverse of that, I do encourage folks to find a few pages they think are good pages (online, other print editions in area). Then with a little prodding break it down to: what’s the main story? how do you know? what grid is it on? why? where did your eye go first? why?

    It doesn’t handle everything of course, but it can occasionally get the motivated started on learning the craft.

    And to reiterate myself, boxed rules in the library are especially good crutches for those starting out as well as convenient for the more seasoned.

  11. Jeanette

    Thanks for all the comments! To answer Ed’s question about why some stories are ragged right and some are justified … we justify hard news and leave features ragged right. A wise guy (not in the maffia sense) once told me that you should have a rule to follow when using justified or non-justified text and stick to it. Ring any bells Ed? Another thing to note is that we, probably like most other newspaper operations these days, have a slim staff. Our editors are a one-man or one-woman show. They do it all. They write stories, take photos, type in obits, answer calls, cover events, keep the website up-to-date and layout the paper. So, we don’t have a professional photographer or designer, per se. I don’t want you all to think I am being defensive; I just wanted to give a little explanation. Thanks again for the feedback! It’s much appreciated!!

    • Kristin Coker

      Jeanette, just wanted to ring in on the justified/non-justified conversation. I agree on using flush-left on features stories that are in the feature section, but, when you’re talking about the front page, everything should be justified. Only exception is if your centerpiece is a feature. The reason being is that you have no cohesive statement to your page. It ends up looking like a jumbled mess and that your paper, forgive me for saying this, looks cheap. Having a strict stylebook of rules and guidelines will help. You may look into having Ed do a redesign for your paper. It wouldn’t hurt.

  12. Jeanette

    P.S. The First in Print logo is an initiative of our parent company that is mandated.

  13. Jeanette

    What kind of rules do others have concerning justified text and when to use it vs. using ragged right?

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