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Five decks over one leg?

Discussion in 'Design Discussion' started by forever_town, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    My paper doesn't have specific guidelines, but we sometimes will run one line headlines over a three column story.

    We also would never do a three-line headline on a column story and I'd be wary about a four-line headline on a one-column story, but that's just me.
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Yes, but these types of deck rules do not limit "innovation". Only cringe-worthy design.

    Two decks over four legs? Five over one? That's not creative; that's lazy.
  3. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Uh huh.
  4. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Five over one is usually iffy, although I have seen it a couple of times where it's worked. I guarantee you two over four is used every day in many newspapers, especially with lead headlines. And with the trend toward smaller papers, combined with certain styles' fonts, if you never break from something like the one over four rule, you end up writing shitty headlines, or at least headlines that don't say anything. Of course, most design rules never take the reader into account. It's fine if people want to squeeze every design and page into a set of guidelines without ever trying to tweak things, but that's assembly line work to me, and I'd rather work the night shift at Walmart than do that. I'm certainly no great designer, but I do undertsand that the key to being a good designer is being able to work within style and design rules most of the time, while understanding the rules well enough to break them effectively on occasion. Otherwise, you're just a trained monkey.
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Fair enough. Thank you.

    I certainly agree with you on understanding the rules so you can break the rules.

    That said, I've seen five over one too often, and I don't think it works except in extreme circumstances. I think that's a "rule-breaking" trick that is a consequence of bad design -- if your design is so tight, or the story is so complex, that you can't write a good 1-col hed in four decks (with a subhed if needed), then you need to design the page (or at least those elements) differently. The page needs to reflect the story, not the other way around.

    Same with 2-x-4 heds. Doesn't matter how big your font is, if you can't say what you want in four columns (with a subhed if needed) without breaking it over to a new line, you're not writing a very good headline. Or your design needs to be tweaked, because it doesn't fit the story.

    Maybe, maybe, a snazzy design once in a while can get away with it. But 98 percent of the time, it looks awful.
  6. pallister

    pallister Guest

    I've never seen five over one AND a deck; that is too much.

    I used to be a style and design Nazi, but I found that you have to give people a little freedom. And, as I alluded to, without having some sort of creative outlet, I go a little stir crazy. Sometimes trying new/different things backfires, but I'd rather a designer learn from an occasional mistake than be afraid to break the occasional rule and never learn anything outside the pages of the stylebook.
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Yeah, contrary to how this thread may seem, I don't think I'm a design Nazi or anything. But there are good rules for a reason, and if a designer breaks those rules without a good reason or without an idea of why s/he's doing it, I don't think that helps in the creative process.

    I've found far too many young designers (young, he says 8)) don't really have the rules instilled in their heads, and make mistakes because they don't know the rules, rather than being in an environment where their creativity is stifled. Or maybe I've just been lucky, I dunno.
  8. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Agreed. Some places where I worked had written style guidelines and others did not. One that I hated was Gannett's seven-column section front and the idea that I couldn't split columns (make an item, say 1 1/2 column wide).
  9. pallister

    pallister Guest

    No bastard measure?
  10. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    I love me some bastard measures on agate pages.
  11. sadmemories20

    sadmemories20 New Member

    I've bent over backwards to follow them. I think I slipped up and used three decks over three columns once since then. After my reporter changed a hede around, it became four decks over two legs instead of three decks over two. I mentioned it to her when we had our staff meeting.

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  12. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I disagree with some of the rules.
    Four decks max over one leg.
    Two decks over two.
    One over everything else.
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