KRISTIN’S PAGES ARE ALWAYS a joy to look at—and they often win kudos from visitors to tEd Henninger’s Blog. But even the best of us need some advice now and then. When Kristin was designing this page, she sent me a note asking me to take a look. The page follows, then some notes on our conversation.
1. Would like you to look at this and tell me if I need to move the mast (section flag) to the left center over the story? Right now it is in the dead center of page but looks off kilter to me with the headline being over to the left. Tell me what you think.
2. Would you keep the flames in front or put them behind?
1. Move the section flag to the left, over the story.
2. Keep the flames in front.
What struck me was Kristin having the design license to move the section flag to the left. At many, many newspapers, such a move would be forbidden. Actually, not even open for discussion…ever.
What are the rules at your place? Can you move the section flag to make a page design work better? How about art going over the flag, like the flames here? Are you allowed to take those liberties? Or would you be denied that opportunity? Who makes the rules? Who enforces them?
Oh…and…I like the page. What really turns me on here is the “half-cutout,” with the runner’s arm coming out of the body of the photo. Nice touch!
KRISTIN’S GONE AND done it again! Offering us a look at a new page. This time…a special section front for college football.
No note from Kristin this time, so we’ll just get right to the page.
1. I love the “locker room blackboard” background for the design of this page. Really works for me because it just fits the topic so well.
2. Good use of the cutout photos and the namelines.
Overall, I think it’s a winner…but I think I’m being too easy on Kristin. How about the rest of you? What are your thoughts?
EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, a page comes along that proves to us we’re still learning—always learning. This page from Kristin proves the point. Her note follows, with Ed’s comments below the page.
I did this page for this past Sunday [Aug. 1]. The story is about “Orangeburg’s Got Talent . . . Kids” talent showcase that is upcoming. I had to make 20 mug shots look somewhat decent in about an hour-and-a-half. I really kind of winged it on this one, just trying not to make it look like 20 mugshots on a page if you know what I mean? I liked the keyboard effect that I made and I think it made it look better but I would love to hear some feedback.
1. The undulating keyboard doesn’t do it for me, though I’m guessing you had not much else to work with—if anything. This just feels too “clip arty” for my taste.
2. The head sizes vary too widely in the mugs. I’d have taken the time to make them similar in size.
3. There’s no order to placement of the mugs, unless I’m missing something. Is this the order in which they will perform? And…how come some of them get “special” placement in the bottom right corner?
4. Placement of the Online box in the center of the story is distracting and seems like an afterthought.
5. The background screen seems gratuitous.
In all, Kristin, this is not a page I’d put in my portfolio. Sorry.
How about the rest of you? Am I being too harsh? What are your thoughts?
KRISTIN COKER WAS IN TOUCH by e-mail recently, agonizing about the design of her front page for a September 11 section. Kristin had designed two similar pages but couldn’t seem to get a consensus from folks at the Times and Democrat. Some like one front, others liked the other.
Krsitin had even e-mailed me, asking me to break the tie.
The saga continued for a couple more days but eventually, the decision was made.
FROM KRISTIN: “We Will Not Forget is a series that our paper does to remember those fallen soldiers who gave their all and those who still do. For our 9/11 edition I used a stock cloud photo (that I had to Photoshop a few more clouds into) as a background. I added the Statue of Liberty as well. She looks as if she’s shining through the clouds. In front are two representations of the twin towers. I was trying to go for subtle and reflective. What do you think?”
FROM ED: I like it a lot. I think it is subtle. And it’s quiet. And it’s respectful.
One point I’d like to add: Though it’s always a good idea to get input from others on your designs, sooner or later ya gotta go with your gut. And, as I reminded Kristin: A camel is a horse…designed by committee.
What’s your reaction to Kristin’s front? Like it? Don’t like it? Why? What other approaches would you suggest?
I’VE PROMISED that each month I’ll give a pdf copy of 101 Henninger Helpful Hints to the designer of the best page submitted to Ed Henninger’s Blog and to the person who offers the best comment on submitted pages.
July’s best page—without doubt—was submitted by Kristin Coker of The Times and Democrat in Orengeburg, SC. The page is a standout.
Comments by Will Franklin on a couple of other pages by Kristin (clocks and Harry Potter) were thorough and helpful.
Congratulations to Kristin and Will!
KRISTIN LEIGH COKER, lead designer at The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, SC, sends along this page for your review and comment. That’s “comment” as in “let us know what you think!” As Kristin suggests in her note “…just be nice.”
“I didn’t know that you wanted us to send you samples of our work. Great idea!
“I’ve sent you our annual July 4th We Will Not Forget poster that ran this past Saturday. We Will Not Forget is a series that we put out on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Fourth of July and September 11th to remember our soldiers who have fallen and who still fight for our freedom.
“For this poster I downloaded a copy of the Engraved Delcaration from http://www.archives.gov. I took a stock file photo of fireworks and a United States flag and configured them into one background. Then I took a stock picture of the Statue of Liberty and set her foreground. At the bottom are the mug shots of our local fallen soldiers since the beginning of the war in Iraq.
“Would love some feedback. Good, bad…just be nice.”
FROM ED: I like this page very much, Kristin. It has spirit and it demands to be read. It shows planning and excellent visual thinking. I might have done a few things differently (I’m still not sure about the script headline…a bit too soft for my taste), but overall this is an excellent page. I’d offer it in contests.
How about the rest of you? A winner? Pretty good? Could be better? Let us know your thoughts!