Category Archives: Poll | survey

Poll: Your page design software




Thanks to all who voted.

ADOBE HAS INTRODUCED Creative Suite 5! As in the past, the new software has a whole new set of capabilities. For those still on QuarkXPress, it will be another disappointment—knowing that there’s something much better out there and that they will have to continue to plod along with Quark. I know some who are still on Quark 4!

So, here’s our poll. Let us know what you’re using at your place—and don’t forget to leave a comment or two!


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Poll results: My pet peeve as a designer is…

THE RESULTS ARE IN. A total of 53 votes in this poll, with no clear-cut-absolutely-runaway response. The comments tell some tales.

Here’s the breakdown:

Comments and “other” entries were fascinating..and fun:

Two major peeves of mine:

1) A shoulder-lurker micromanaging a project (down to the font size).

2) Those certain 2 or 3 people that will come to you with 10+ sets of changes on any given project instead of figuring out what they wanted before they brought it to me to work on.


Being told to re-do something: duh, if it’s not already perfect, why?


Hovering “customer.”


Being a “living mouse” for a publisher who micromanages design work.


Graphics or files of insufficient quality.


Sales reps.


Being asked to redesign a finalized page.


Doing a nice, clean design only to have the advertiser or editor fill it up!


Someone standing over my shoulder, micromanaging a project (poorly).


Not having enough space for the art, or any good art.


Having so many other duties, I don’t get to design much.


Being told: “We’re producing a 56 page tab…in two days.”


Getting a centerpiece that’s pre-designed by the people at the budget meeting.

If you didn’t get your vote in…sorry, Charlie…the poll is closed. Another one coming in a week or two.


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Poll: Your pet peeve as a designer

IT’S BEEN A WHILE since we’ve had a poll here, and I think I have one with a topic that will get your juices flowing (or your blood boiling!).

Here’s the question: What’s your pet peeve as a designer? Now, there are all kinds of possible responses to this one, but I’m going with my favorite four. You can offer something different, if you want, under “other.” I don’t think this is going to be a tough one for you to answer. Unfortunately, you can only pick one.

Have fun!

If you have any ideas for poll topics, please pass them on. I’d like to try running a poll every couple of weeks or so.


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Poll results: All-cap headlines

z POLL ALL-CAP HEDLINESTHE QUESTION WAS “All-cap headlines: do they work,” and it’s clear most of you who responded (41 total votes) think “Sometimes…on the right feature package.” That response drew 20 of the 41 votes, for about 49%

The negative response, “Nope…they’re just another design fad,” drew the next-highest number of votes, but halved the winning response with only 10 votes.

“Sure…what’s the fuss about” and “Yes…to bring special emphasis to a news story,” each drew five votes.

The one “other” response? “All caps are hard to read, they say.”

What’s the point? Well, for those of you who responded, it seems you’re just not all that concerned about the use of all-caps headlines.

The next poll? Not sure. What would you like to see? Type? Color? Structure? I’m open to suggestions!

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Poll: All-caps headlines—Good or bad?

PREVIOUS POSTS have mentioned concern about all-caps headlines. That is: most of you don’t seem to like them. For my part, I’ve never really understood why designers use them, except for use on a special features package.

The one advantage to all-caps heads is that they have no descenders—and that can occasionally make a difference in a design. Other than that, all-caps heads seem to add undue emphasis to a package.

Here’s the poll. Cast your vote.

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Poll results: Are contests worth it?

A VERY CLOSE FINISH in this poll, both positive answers. Of 43 total votes, 11 said “Absolutely! They let us know how well we’re doing.” There were 10 votes for “Yes. They help build newsroom morale when we win.” Together, those two categories totaled 49% of the votes.

POLL | CONTESTSThe most negative response, “Not worth a flip. We hardly ever enter” received only 4 votes.

Interesting “other” responses were:

“I think it’s a great way for made-up institutions to create revenue for themselves.’

“Yes, but they’re a pain in the butt.”

“We appreciate feedback.”

“Not worth a flip, but management makes us enter anyway.”

“We rarely win anymore. When we do, it doesn’t boost company morale.”

So, despite the negatives, it’s safe to say the sentiment is pretty much for keeping those contests going.

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Poll results: Free form ads—the work of the devil?

MOST OF YOU (11 of 29 total votes…38%) think “Yes! We’re selling our souls” by running free form ads.

POLL | FREE FORM ADS 07.26.09Another 21% felt “Yes, but as long as they’re not on page 1…” That result was tied by another 21%, who wondered” “Sheesh! What’s all the fuss about? It’s just another type of ad.”

There was only one “other” answer: ” I think they are a unique form of advertising. Just not for everyone.”

Looks like the “aginers” win this round. Still, 29 votes isn’t that many. Perhaps there’ll be another poll on this one as the use of free from ads increases. Oh, yes, I think we can be on seeing more of them.

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Poll: Are free form ads the work of the devil?

FREE FORM ADS (check one out just a couple of posts down from here) are becoming more common. And some advertisers seem to prefer them—because they see the impact their design (there’s that word again!) has on the page.

z LA TIMESMost newsroom purists, of course, will gasp whenever they see one. At the LA Times recently, the news staff circulated a petition claiming a free form ad on page 1 had “caused incalculable damage to this instition.” Perhaps the damage is perceived more because the ad was dressed to look like a news story.

But free form ads that are clearly advertising: Are they a danger? Do they cross any ethical lines? Or are they just another opportunity for us to make a few bucks in a weak economy?

What are your thoughts? Take the poll below.

And, while you’re at it, please vote in the poll on newspaper contests: Are they worth it? Just a waste of time?

Cast your vote here:

And here:

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Poll: Are contests worth it?

IN RECENT WEEKS, two of my clients received strong recognition for their efforts. The Western Catholic Reporter was named best-designed by the Canadian Church Press. And the Hood County News in Granbury, TX, won General Excellence and Best Page Design from the Texas Press Assn. Both are good newspapers and their design makes me look good, too.

But I know there’s always some question about awards and contests and how they’re run and who the judges are and categories and the like. I’ve judged quite a few contests myself and I understand the difficulties involved in the process.

Nevertheless, I know there are quite a few journalists out there who think that contests are a waste of time, effort and money. Even though they may have won their share of awards, they don’t place much stock in contests.

What are your thoughts? Are contests good for the industry? Do they help your newspaper? Do they make you a better journalist?


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