THANKS TO SCOTT for his patience. These pages came in some weeks ago, but 1) Ed lost them the first time around, and 2) they were held for the 9.11 tributes.
Hello Ed and blog:
This time I’ve submitted two pages that I hope everyone will tear apart as I hate them. I feel that, overall, my design skills have improved (much kudos to this blog!!!), but I just can’t seem to do a letters page that I like.
I know not every page can be artistic or “neat-looking”, but I literally hate just about every single letters page I do. There’s got to be a better way…so, in short…HELP!!
1. Letters pages don’t have to be “designed.” They DO have to be clear, concise, consistent. And having a piece of art or two on the page doesn’t hurt. You can use a mug shot, a photo of a building or whatever that someone is writing about—the possibilities are usually there if you look for them.
2. Headlines should also be consistent in size and usage. It’s OK to have a larger headline on your lead letter, but not necessary. But all other letters should have the same size headline and the same number of lines.
3. Headlines should be about the letter, not addressed to certain people, like “Thank you Yellowhill voters” or “To the People of Big Cove.”
4. Capitalization in these headlines goes all over the park. In some, “You” is capped, others not. Be consistent.
4. I tire of “thank you” letters. Have you considered asking readers to buy thank-yous as ads?
5. Placing a space between the letter and the signature separates the signature from the letter. I think they should be contiguous.
6. Drop the “Sincerely,” Respectfully” and “Signed.” These add nothing but another line of space and they really mean very little.
7. As a reader, I want to know where these letter writers are from. Give me a line below their names with the name of their community.
8. Allow more space between the page label and the headlines and copy. I like two picas.
9. There’s excessive space between the Chief Hicks lead headline and the text of the letter.
10. Also, your indents are excessive. You need no more than a pica, sometimes less depending on your text type face and size. And…the indention seems greater on the page with the lead headline than on the other.
To me, the key here is not to “do design,” but to get the details right.