Category Archives: Design

Best of College Design—Front pages

RECENTLY, I WAS ASKED to judge three categories in a Best of College Design contest.

I’m delighted with the entries I saw. Narrowing those entries down to only five winners was difficult.

The following pages are in order, first place winner to fifth place. I’ve asked for a link to the contest web site and I’ll update when that comes.

In the next two weeks, I’ll show you the magazine and opinion page entries.

This week, page 1 entries.


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Go figure…with thanks to Doug Fisher

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?


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“OK, OK, folks…let’s just move along. Stay calm…nothing happening here. Move along…”

EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, something comes down the pike that makes you just kinda shake your head and wonder: “What were they thinking?”

A mini-storm blew through the design trade about a month ago, with the introduction of ready-media, a set of page design templates that promises “Quality design, now accessible to all.”

And the design community has reacted—more like over-reacted. Comments range from “no, thanks” to “you gotta be insane!” to “what’s all the fuss about?” to “it’s Armageddon for design!”

Frankly, I don’t have a dog in this hunt—but it is fun to sit on the sidelines and watch the “dezyneurs” and the dilettantes have at it.

Occasionally, I will prepare a set of Page 1 models for clients. I purposely call these “models” and not “templates” because  I suggest to my clients that they use these to generate ideas, not follow them precisely.

If you want to read more about the ready-media dust-up, some links follow. But then, you might just have something more productive to do—like picking coins out of the sofa.

The links:

And…thanks to blog contributor Lauri Shillings for sending along her alert on this a couple of weeks ago. I had read about it just a day or two earlier, but it’s good to hear from others on issues like this!

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My turn in the barrel

OK, HERE’S YOUR CHANCE to get even with Ed for all those nasty things he’s had to say about your pages on this blog.

Just for fun, I’m posting one of my recent designs here. I thought you’d like to give me some feedback. Like? Don’t Like?

Have at it!


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Pull quotes: some options

TAKING A WEEK OFF from commenting on pages. But we need more pages for comment…so send yours in!

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that I think pull quotes with oversized quote marks are dated. They still feel v-e-r-y 1960s-1970s to me. I’m not as turned off by them in magazines but I think they’re distracting in newspapers. Perhaps I’m a bit to persnickety about that but it’s not a look I recommend to any of my clients.

My “dated” comment was focused on a quote I saw on a page from Jeanette Kendall of Times Newspapers. When she responded with more pages, Jeanette later wrote: “You made the comment on one of our papers that the over-sized quotes were outdated for a pull quote. I am wondering what an updated design would look like.”

Here’s the quote, lifted from Jeanette’s page:

Following are some options I designed recently. They’re all set in fonts of Formata and Arno Pro, two typefaces I’m using in a current redesign project.

You can like ’em…or not. That’s up to you. But I think they’re clean and contemporary…and, yes, I did mean for F to be flush right. Someday, we can do a whole ‘nother post on that!

Certainly willing to hear your feedback—especially from you, Jeanette!


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Photo pages: Two looks

THIS WEEK’S POSTS FEATURE a look at photo pages, two from Marc Stumbo and one from Josh Dewberry. To put my comments on those pages into context, I thought I’d show a couple of photo pages I just created for a client.


1. The photos are clustered. There’s no copy block or negative space between the photos.

2. With only one exception (can you find it?) the space between the captions and the photos above/below them is identical.

3. Every photo carries a caption below it. The copy block tells the story.

4. Except for the three photos along the bottom of the left page, there’s no attempt here to make photos the same size.

5. The lead photo on each page is clearly larger than any of the others.

6. The photos don’t completely fill the space. Some are a bit narrower, some a bit shorter so the page has some odd negative space to the outside. That’s because the photos are “right-sized,” not sized or cropped to fill every square inch of space.

What are your thoughts? Would you rearrange? Why? How?


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Just for fun: The Secret Design History of 12 Famous Brands


The Tiffany box.

FAST COMPANY MAGAZINE’S web site carries this fascinating slideshow that briefly describes “The Secret Design History of 12 Famous Brands.”

Among them:

The FedEx logo.

The Campbell’s Soup can.

The Playboy cover.

The blue Tiffany box.

The Coca-Cola logo.

The Toblerone box.

No, it’s not news design. But it’s fun to look at . Think of it as eye candy.

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Creation of a cover



DESIGNER WILL FRANKLIN shares with us the creation of a football tab cover. Will admits he’s no artist, so his sketch isn’t a thing of beauty. But it was enough for him to show others his idea and get them to work to bring his concept to life. The final cover? I think it works very well. Your comments?


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Video: Can design save newspapers?



And here’s a designer who delivers that message loud and clear. Jacek Utko is an award-winning designer in Europe and his video about newspaper design delivers a powerful message—briefly and to the point.

Utko’s designs are compelling.

Can we expect to see his kind of design in community newspapers here in the US? Perhaps not tomorrow. Eventually? Yes.

The video is six minutes long. Got six minutes to open your mind and expand your horizons? Then go ahead and take a look.

Then…please get back to me with your comments.


Filed under Design, Video