Tag Archives: rant

A rant from a friend: One word or two?

BREADLINE

Is this a breadline…or a bread line?

LIKE MOST OF US DESIGNERS, Marc Stumbo also wants to do right by the words. Marc, who’s the Production Editor at The Beacon in Paterson, NJ, writes:

Hi Ed,
I just had a small rant at our production meeting this week and thought you may want to use it for your blog or your hints. It’s about writers who combine two words to make a word that isn’t a word. For instance:

coalmine
breadline
commonsense
afterall
schoolteacher
ditchdigger

The list goes on–obviously there are a zillion examples. Usually I see it come from young writers, but one of the columnists we use who’s probably my age and writes for CNS (Catholic News Network) came up with “commonsense” in his column this week. Sorry, that’s not English.

Marc

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Design is not an “extra”: The rant!

OK, I’VE HAD IT.

I recently received an e-mail from an editor who was excited about the prospect of doing a redesign.

We had reviewed an issue of her newspaper together and the paper very much needs design work. On top of that, she’s struggling just to put the paper together every week—her company switched her to InDesign a few months ago. Oh, yeah…they gave her some training to handle the new software. Four hours. With someone who knew nothing about how newspapers are put together, much less how newsrooms function.

z DESIGN NOT EXTRAHer e-mail read, in part: “…the company won’t fork out any money for any ‘extras’ at this time.”

I am tired of design being written off as an “extra.” And—honestly—it’s not because it means less business. It’s because thinking of design as an “extra” is so short-sighted, especially nowadays when publishers are jumping through hoops trying to gain and retain readers.

What is the first thing a person sees when he looks at your newspaper? The design. And that design speaks volumes about the product as a whole.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is credible. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is careful. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is planned. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is professional. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is polished. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is organized. Or not.

It tells readers yours is a newspaper that is consistent. Or not.

But, for far too many publishers, design is an “extra.”

Yeah…

Like accurate reporting is an “extra.”

Like good writing is an “extra.”

Like making deadline is an “extra.”

Like selling ads is an “extra.”

Like good sales training is an “extra.”

Like hiring the right people is an “extra.”

Like checking your P&L regularly is an “extra.”

Design is not an “extra.” Not in the least. It’s one of the key ingredients you need to create a newspaper that’s worth reading—and worth advertising in.

But it’s your choice. You can continue to discount the value of design…you can keep thinking of design as an “extra.”

Here’s a quote you may have heard before, but it certainly applies:

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done…then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”

If you keep thinking of design as an “extra”…then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

And eventually, even that P&L won’t matter.

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