Okay, here is my first design for West Side Story! This was made during my first year on staff as Assistant Design Editor, for the September issue.
Back in these days (2014 !!) I only designed one or two pages per issue. It amazes me how I spent an entire cycle just designing that much! However, I lacked two important things at that time:
- Experience- so important to becoming faster at designing. Some keyboard shortcuts and tricks on inDesign just come with practice.
- A version of inDesign at home- the school computers are VERY slow and I didn’t have a version of inDesign at home during this cycle, so I had to just work during class. It usually takes 5-ish minutes for the computer to log on, and another 5-10 minutes to open all your files (if the design is a small file!)
In 2014, lots of things were different aside from these two points. Our publications used to be nearly all black and white with four or five color pages. Usually, those pages were assigned to more experienced designers and it was a huge privilege to be assigned one. Furthermore, our publications didn’t have any glossy pages. Now, we have four: the cover, the inside page, the second-to-last page, and the back page.
This page was usually fairly straightforward: there was a template in the Design Library for “West Side Word,” “By the Numbers,” and “Twitter Talk.” However, I remember messing around with this page a lot to try and make it different. Unfortunately, since it was only one page that largely consisted of these pre-made factors, that didn’t quite work out. The best I was able to do was add a couple photos on the page, but that didn’t go well either.
There are a few things wrong with this page:
- It’s very difficult to tell there are two photos
- The photo extends past everything else on the page
- The photos are too small so it’s hard to tell what is happening
- There are too many different values
- The text is overwhelming
To fix these solutions…
- Create some space between the photos- even if it’s a very small gap
- Cut the photos off or extend everything else on the page so it all lines up
- Decrease the size of the “By the Numbers” to create more space for the photos, also add captions to clarify what is happening in the photos!
- Choose three values (levels of grey) and stick with only those three. Generally, one only wants a max of three colors on the page. Even if the page is black and white, this rule still applies. I should’ve stuck with 25% black, 60% black, and 100% black to create some clear contrast.
- There are too many fonts on this page. The rule of three also applies to fonts, so I would’ve cleaned things up to stick with Nanami, Nanami Bold, and Minion Pro (the body font). This would’ve made the page look less busy and text heavy, making it more reader friendly.
After this design, the next news brief I did was actually just this year! You’ll be amazed to see how much has changed.