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Learning page design

Discussion in 'Design Discussion' started by MNgremlin, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    If you know what looks good and what doesn't, you'll be fine. If not, it doesn't matter how many books you read and papers you look at. Having said that, if you have an eye for design, you'll quickly pick up the "rules" and eventually learn to bend them. This means nothing to you right now, but the secret is being able to be creative and innovative WITHIN a newspaper's specific style and design.

    Good luck.
  2. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Actually, very little is written in stone. There are exceptions to nearly every rule, and you learn after a while which rules to bend and which rules to break.

    Although I would argue the final line. A pet peeve is to see two players in a sports photo, from opposite teams, with uniform numbers CLEAR in the photo, and the cutline reads, "John Smith applies the tag to a Podunk player ..."

    Rosters are easy to find. So is the telephone. Call the school and ask. The word "unidentified" should occur in a cutline in rare, rare instances.
  3. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    I guess my biggest thing early would be worrying too much about the rules that good design is sacrificed.
  4. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Nah. The rules are there to MAKE the design look better and to make things consistent. And you'll learn to vary column widths and such to mix things up as you go. It will help if you have a good eye for it and a good teacher. You will have a lot of questions initially.
  5. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    What he said.

    Avoid running six columns down on your page. Practice changing column widths. You don't have to follow the column guides on the template -- you can make your own.

    Also, I always double gutter between stories. It creates just enough white space to make the page more readable. I created a gutter template from a photo box and stored it in my library.

    Speaking of which ... down the road somewhere, you're going to want to learn how to create a library and how stylesheets work, especially when you get into scoreboards and agate.
  6. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Learn the general rules first. You need that foundation from which to build on.
  7. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    Which ones would those be?
  8. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Start with your paper's style and design. Does the paper have a style guide? If so, study it. If not, start up conversations with some of the better designers you work with. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions regardless.
  9. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    One misconception I had early on was that you had to plan perfectly. That you had to do a layout sheet, size all the headlines perfectly, etc. Even if that were true, it wouldn't be practical on live sports pages against deadline.

    Many times, you can leave your final package as a modular hole, say 4 columns by 10 inches or something like that. And then you adjust to the story by sizing the art to fit (within reason, of course).

    I guess my message is, don't be intimidated by designing news pages. There are a good many people doing it, and doing it well. Not all are rocket scientists. I'm not.
  10. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    But don't be one of those guys who hacks a photo to within an inch of its life just to make it fit. The reader doesn't know what the original image looked like, so you can crop photos to fit pretty easily. But don't hack off guys arms or legs just to make it fit. This is also where adjusting the column widths can come in handy.
  11. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    I want to thank everyone for all the tips and advice. It would've been easy to just say "find a new job" but I'm glad you guys are classier than that. I'm excited to put some of these things into practice.
  12. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Also, try to make sure people are not doing things "off the page."

    For example, if you have a pitcher throwing to the plate, be sure he isn't throwing the ball off the page.

    If you MUST use a photo in this manner, you might be able to cheat by putting a vertical cutline next to the pic so that the cutline keeps the kid from throwing the ball off the page.
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