God doesn’t give with both hands and I can’t turn in both of these covers. Which cover should we run this week in our entertainment tab?
God doesn’t give with both hands and I can’t turn in both of these covers. Which cover should we run this week in our entertainment tab?
I’m also obsessed with this page. Can you imagine?
EDITOR: “This entire page is going to be about Aliya Moustafina and Aly Raisman.”
E: “The story is only about 8 inches though.”
And then bam, this beautiful page happens.
The Times of Oman consistently put out in depth graphics that you can really dive into and this Olympic season has provided for lots of great content for them to dissect and explain.
The difference between the Times and other places is the cool and funky ways they deliver the information. Take this page for example.
The information presented here isn’t new or really that exciting - it’s just a breakdown of the final medal count after the games. But instead of just showing us a big number or creating a bar graph, the team created this awesome Hryulian-looking centerpiece that really engages the audience. Add in five smaller sidebars that are clean and well-executed and you have an entire page dedicated to data reporting and a two sentence lead in.
Check out more of their work at their NewspageDesigner page.
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I kind of have been killing it at work lately.
It’s so great to be able to do work that I’m proud of.
We had some issues with our local coverage of Support Chick-fil-A Day. I took some quick pictures as I was told to change the hed throughout the night.
The first hed on the left was suggested by our desk chief, but another editor thought it wasn’t appropriate. She thought it was too negative and suggested the second one in the middle, which definitely put the event in a more favorable light. Both to me seemed kind of spinny and putting an editorial slant on the subject.
On a personal level, there were some butting emotions involved. It wasn’t crazy or anything, but you could tell underneath all the conversation there were touches of personal feelings. Some people in the office had been talking shit about Chick-fil-A all day (myself included) while others had their waffle fry boxes proudly displayed on their desk.
In the end our editor suggested the final hed, which kind of just neutralized all of it. I’m not sure if it was the best or right way to go, but it definitely was the safest.
Full disclosure: I’m huge homosexual.
On Saturday I started working on the centerpiece for Monday. The editors had planned a certain layout and wanted me to work my art with it. It looked something like this.
Now I wasn’t too happy with this because my art just didn’t work well horizontally - the entire centerpiece is being pushed awkwardly under the fold. I talked with the presentation editor and city editor and convinced them to shuffle some things around so we can really give this package a nice ride. After lots of tweaks I came up with what I thought was a great page. I even printed it in color…
My editor said we needed to pump up that hed for the rail story and that was fine. I was placing the skybox after I came back from dinner at around 8 when the news broke that there was a major accident in our coverage area.
We didn’t know too many details, but the city editor called and we went over a couple scenarios. At first we thought it wouldn’t be too big of a deal and our reporter had a way’s to drive to the scene so we didn’t think we’d get much anyway. In that case, we’d just push down the rail story and stack it on top of the rail (you can see my markings on the page for that situation). If things got crazier we could kill the skybox and push the flag up and shove a strip headline across the top with minimal reworking to the centerpiece.
Then we got the big news around 10, at least 10 people were dead in a one-vehicle wreck. It was at this point where the newsroom went to hell and I had to start over again.
I was more than a little flustered because the story came in at about 6 inches and we only had one handout photo from DPS. More concerning than the front for me was figuring out how to fill all the jump space that opened up because we pulled the health care centerpiece. Everyone of course wanted to help with the front, but I really needed help on the inside. It was about 11 at this time.
Information slowly trickled in and I was told to hold the page until we got every last drop of it. More photos also came in and since we were going to bust deadline anyway I added a drop cap to the story since it was so far away from the hed and dek. Here’s what finally went to print at an ungodly hour.
I’m a young designer, and I’ve had news break on my while working on an A1 before, but nothing like this. It was definitely a learning experience on what to do not only with design, but just working with others in a stressful situation.
The story is still developing and you can read the latest here, but I’m sure tonight will be another interesting night of designing.
The opening ceremonies for the London Olympics is this Friday and so lots of papers used today to centerpiece any and all local angles they could find on the games. I’m sure there are lots more great pages out there, especially on the Sports pages or special sections (Plain Dealer I’m looking at you), but here are 12 pages that stood out to me, courtesy of the Newseum of course.
First we have the Orange County Register with a story that claims if the OC was its own country, it could be a strong contender on the global scale with 79 athletes heading to London this year. The main art, however, is this package of cutouts of past athletes from the area. I’d argue for some of the current athletes, but I like the art as a sidebar. I also think that gold medal is a little random, but it’s a cool story.
Next, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, with a very cool story on Ryan Lochte and his huge marketing push before the games. Personally, I’m a Phelps fan, but I like this story. Even though I’m not a fan of photos fading out into gradients, I like the four different magazine covers he’s been on and think the package overall is pretty successful. The entire thing kind of just shows you right away how big of a deal people are trying to make Ryan Lochte.
Over at the Baltimore Sun we have Lochte’s rival, Michael Phelps, on the cover with a great headline and photo showing how Phelps isn’t done winning. I like the focus on this package. You’ll see later lots of papers trying to squeeze every local olympian on the cover with varying degrees of success. My only quibble here? That sure is a lot of text on that photo. I’d have liked to see the main hed lowered maybe just a little bit more.
Back in Florid at the Tallahassee Democrat (sidebar, that Gannett website is one of the worst I’ve ever seen) we have a very cool poster page highlighting track stars coming out of Florida State University. I love all the colors and am praying that all that white text printed well for them, because this is really a fun and gutsy page. We have these three cutouts, but they all work together as one piece of art. Very different, very cool.
Down in South Florida at the Sun Sentinel we have one of those collage(ish) front pages packed with athletes representing the area in London. I guess the short story is just saying how cool South Florida is for having lots of athletes in the Olympics, but really the whole thing is just a huge refer for all of their coverage inside and on the website. It’s a shame, because some of those pictures look really cool and, honestly, are Andy Roddick or the Williams sisters really a story people interested in? Danell Leyva is a huge breakout star already heading to the games and my eyes went straight to that awesome yellow picture. I dunno, I guess I just would’ve gone a different direction with the story and design. My guess is that a big picture of Leyva would’ve looked better and also sold a bunch more papers. EDIT: My friend and old colleague from the Syracuse Daily Orange, Michael Cohen just pointed out to me that he, in fact, wrote that centerpiece! I’m pretty sure he’s a sports intern at the Sun-Sentinel right now so good for him getting awesome play of his story.
I think the Journal & Courier out in Lafayette Indiana knows what a big deal David Boudia is going to be in London, so I’m glad they decided to centerpiece this story on him with that gorgeous photo. And as you can see, they also have more Olympic coverage, but instead of trying to smush it all in, they just put all of that in nice refers. Simple, yet effective.
The Detroit Free Press has a great package focused on gymnastics star Jordan Wieber, who is one of the buzziest athletes heading to London. I’m kind of, um, freaked out on the crazy photoshop/gradient/overlap/whatever is happening with that main art. Why do we have a small Jordan seemingly kicking her huge face? Throw in that refer across the top of the picture and then with the hed tucked in there, it all just feels too tight and crazy. The Freep also is giving us an awkward secondary picture, and just for fun, another small cutout with the refer to online. I think this is one of those less is more situations.
I wanted to show the Belleville News-Democrat not because their design is so great, but they have such a unique angle for the games. The story focuses on a local chiropractor who is one of 75 Americans going to London specifically to help athletes with back pain. Isn’t that great? What’s funny is below that story we have a refer to a story about local athletes in London. I’m betting that story was the Sports centerpiece.
The Salt-Lake Tribune cover leaves me with lots of questions. Why that headline? Paired right next to that volleyball picture it makes me think the story is about volleyball team, or that player, but it’s not. Am I the only one who didn’t know that Utah was the Beehive State? Also, do people actually say Utahn? Is the kerning in that skybox weird to anyone else?
The Elmira Star-Gazette cleared the entire front page to play their local athletes story. Even though the page is pretty bare, I kind of like it. I certainly like it over some of other tight and frantic pages. Where is the credit for that main art though? Also, check out that nameplate. Did anyone else know that the Star Gazette was the first Gannett paper? If your paper was the first Gannett paper, would you proudly display it as such?
I also really like how the Richmond Times-Dispatch approached their centerpiece. They chose one piece of art to be nice and big and then mugged a couple others. Such a simple concept really. Those floating Olympic rings are kind of random and crazy though. What are they doing?
And finally, my favorite front for the day, comes courtesy of the Las Vegas Sun. Nothing makes me happier than seeing an illustration on the cover of a paper running so big and beautifully. It’s different enough, yet we all get it. The color use is great, and it shows great editing and restraint to only put a small copy block and a couple graphs from a local columnist on the cover. The entire cover feels so welcoming and like it really has a pulse on the local community. They don’t need every mug and picture of all the local athletes competing. The newsroom already knows everyone is excited and cares. Here, they show that they are too.
Designers I like: Luke Knox
There isn’t any other word for Luke’s work - it’s just plain sexy. His work is so sharp and grounded, nothing ever feels like a gimmick or forced. He’s a beast utilizing all the tiny pieces that come with working in a sports department and utilizes everything. His graphics are clever, easy to read and hold a wealth of information. I can’t believe how much he gets to fit on the page and still makes it feel nice and airy. His Boston Globe pages are out of control good and I just want to live in his pages forever.
Check out his entire portfolio here.
There’s always one thing
Last night I thought I had put together a solid front page. “This could go in my portfolio,” I thought to myself.
I woke up today, picked up the paper and while my eyes scanned over the page something threw me. Just beneath the flag, there, on the black bar, “locally owned since 1846”, why is it so off center?
I looked at the PDF on the screen and back to the page I was holding. Certainly I didn’t let the page go with that obvious error. But yeap, I did. I must have moved it while adjusting the skybox – the skybox that I love.
These little things seem to be happening more and more and I hate it. I don’t think it ruins the page, but definitely puts an asterisk next to it. What a stupid error.
Unnecessary drop caps are probably my biggest design peeve ever.
I don’t mean to pick on the Laredo Morning Times (my hometown paper) but I wanted to see how their front page today because they had huge awful news today. A man shot two children in a hotel room and their mother’s body was found in a shed in their hometown.
Anyway, unfortunately the Times doesn’t send their pages to the Newseum, but they posted this picture on their facebook and what do I see? AN UNNECESSARY DROP CAP.
Drop caps are meant to be used as a way to help readers know where a story starts. They can be really helpful if there is art in between your hed/dek and the story or whatever. But if you have a story that is starting right underneath your hed/dek and there is nothing unusual about the story placement, a drop cap is totally not needed!
Look at this front for example. The story starts just where anyone would think it would - the drop cap just looks like a distracting flourish, especially because it’s so close to that large dek.
Also, I just realized that headline sucks. South Texas Hotel Tragedy? The story is a local one, the hotel, a very well known hotel, is in Laredo. The mom’s body wasn’t found in Laredo, so I could see maybe that angle trying to worked in the “South Texas” thing, but then why put hotel tragedy at all? I’d argue they used the most shocking, newsy stuff, in their red sub hed stuff.
Moral of the story: Drop caps have a purpose and shouldn’t be used to make your page look “more designed.” And headlines are important and hard to write, especially in complicated stories like this one. Take the time to make them good.