Design in Mind

Session: News by Design

It’s no secret that the design of The Pendulum news section could use a little sprucing up. I attended the session “News by Design,” led by Ron Johnson from Indiana University, hoping for a little insight into how to give our news section that “wow” factor. And, wow, did I leave that session completely inspired.

Johnson opened the session by sharing five design tips that he personally stresses for all pages. I’m not as well versed in the tips of the trade, primarily because I mainly write and report, so I found all of his advice very insightful and significant to implement.

  • Content drives the design
  • Tell the story the best way
  • Typography builds the page
  • Frame content with white space
  • Use dominance

But perhaps my favorite part of this session was his showcase of some of the best-designed pages, spanning all sections of a publication, from around the world. I was literally amazed by the layouts I saw ranging from those covered in white space to those bursting with color and creative graphics. It was intimidating to think that the creators of these publications are my peers, that they are capable of producing such awe-inspiring work. But, Johnson said, they didn’t get to where they are today without a few (or, a lot) of failures along the way. It takes boldness, it takes confidence, it takes creativity. And, most importantly, it takes fearlessness. Yes, you’re going to fail. He said he could have shown us a number of other pages that fell flat on their face, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean you cower in a corner and go back to the way things always have been done. It means picking yourself up, dusting off and moving forward with new tenacity and purpose to achieve the absolute best.

-Caitlin O’Donnell


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