|Chapter 17 - Publication Design
Design is an extemely important, and often highly controversial, part of journalism. Any news organization (including broadcasting) projects much of its personality and attitudes, as well as its content, through its design. People who design publictions and lay them out on a day-to-day basis must be highly skilled professionals.
The basic concepts of visual logic must be understood completely by a good designer. A good designer must also have some knowledge of the traditions and practices of the medium (newspapers, magazines, newsletters, web sites, etc.) in which he or she is working. For instance, a newspaper looks a certain way because the design is fulfilling a purpose for the publication. In the newspaper's case, this purpose is the efficient use of space in presenting news and information. A good designer has a sense of these purposes.
Understanding the concepts of publication design is also a requirement for an effective designer. Balance, contrast, focus and unity are the things a publication designer must keep in mind. The designer should also be able to work creatively within the confines and guidelines that a publication has established for itself.
A designer should have a good sense of news and should know what his or her publication believes is a good news judgment. A design editor makes many important decisions about the presentation of news for a publication each day.
Finally, a designer should know how to use the hardware and software available for producing the publication. Confidence in that knowledge allows a good designer to work creatively.
Multi-tasking in your mind. Publication design requires the ability to think at many levels at the same time. To put together a good page, a layout editor has to consider the following simultaneously:
Design terms. The figure on page 319 of the book shows the terms used for some of the elements on a newspaper front page. This web site takes that illustration further by offering definitions for those terms. Click here or on the image to the right. The figure will appear, and you will be able to click on various parts of the image to see definitions and explanations of those design elements.
Finding a newspaper's graphic personality. Select a newspaper in your area. What makes that newspaper look different from other newspapers? (Have some other newspapers on hand for comparison.) Consider what typeface are used, how pictures and graphics are handled and what uses the paper makes of white space. All of these will give you clues about the newspaper's graphic personality.
Key concepts and terms