All my designs are extremely time consuming, but during my first year on staff, they were unnecessarily time consuming. What’s the difference? Well, first off, there were a lot of tricks, tools, and keyboard shortcuts I was unaware of at the time. Those speed up the designing process quite a bit! But most importantly, over the years I’ve learned how to really plan a design before I execute it.
Page sketches were always required in newspaper, so designers were always supposed to think about what they wanted on their page. But usually we would all draw some lines to indicate text and a circle where we would want our dominant element to be, then call it good. Because I didn’t thoroughly think about what I wanted my design to look like, I ended up doing a lot of unnecessary work and scrambling to find a way to use it.
For instance, in this spread I initially made that graphic of Flash (behind the text on the left page) with the idea that it would be the dominant element. However, then I realized there were lots of statistics, photos, and a sidebar that also needed to fit on the page. In the end, I stuck the graphic behind the text because I didn’t want my hard work to be for nothing. However, because of my poor planning, this page turned out to be way too busy.
I think a big part of why the right page looks so messy is because the graphics don’t line up properly. Also, had the graphics been a lot smaller and next to the header for each blurb, it would’ve looked a lot cleaner. Speaking of blurbs, I should’ve created a header for those that did not already have one. Also, I would decrease the weight of the main font for the blurbs because it looks too heavy and hard on the eye…not reader friendly at all!
I would get rid of the Flash graphic, because it just makes the text a little harder to read. Sometimes you have to kill your babies in order to allow the spread as a whole to benefit… 😦 Another thing I would change is the placement of the dance marathon graphic–I’d try to incorporate that into the sidebar a bit better rather than having it float in the white space above. I think the lines between the photos ended up creating a busy look rather than cleanly separating the photos, so I would definitely get rid of that.
For this spread, I think it’s clear my skills at creating graphics was really improving. Also, my concept for design was getting a little bit better. However, this spread was just a bit too busy. There’s a saying that a designer should always go back to their work once they’re done and delete three things. I think that rule is totally applicable here!
Next time you’ll see a spread that was way over the top and really needed that rule of three,