News by design

After hearing different people on staff briefly throw ideas back and forth about how we could better structure our page layout within the paper, I thought it would be interesting to go to a session on news design layout.

And it really was interesting. The design that these colleges are using for their newspapers is incredible (specifically the Indiana Daily Student, the newspaper for which the session leader Rob Johnson is the adviser). Just looking at the examples Johnson put together was worth going to the session. He gave some other pieces of advice, too.

He spoke on content driving design, but design being the framework for the content that can pull in or scare off a reader. Designers are the ones who show off the work of reporters.

Thinking about how to tell a story the best way, he said, is important when budgeting each edition of the paper. The paper needs to include a full range of story types, including both long, in-depth stories that take up full pages and small briefs. A paper full of mid-range length stories is a nightmare.

Typography builds the page, he said, and text type should be simple, serif and silent. Headlines should consist of both serif and condensed fonts, and different size and weights should index the importance of the headlines.

Call attention to important content by framing it with white space. White space is OK to use.

And last, but not least, is Johnson told the crowd to always include some “big, honkin’ dominance.” Use big photos, and make photo illustrations twice as big as everything else on the page. Images in college newspapers usually run too small, he said.

-Natalie Allison



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