By Caroline Fernandez
While I agree with Jonathan and Michael about how the system of critiquing needs to be tweaked and more structured, I am happy to say that I believe The Edge received beneficial and helpful critiques when I met with an advisor.
I’m going a little against the grain here by complimenting the critique of The Edge, but overall the meeting was beneficial.
Because the advisor was viewing the magazine for the first time while I was sitting next to her, she was able give me her very first and honest impressions of each page.
As she flipped from page to page and made comments, a pattern of design and content issues formed. The key problems she saw throughout the magazine are listed below:
1. Small headlines
Many times the headline on one page was too small, leading her to believe that the page was connected to the story from the adjacent page, which wasn’t true.
Her suggestion was to make headlines large and defined. Don’t leave room for a reader to question if a story is a continuation from the previous page.
2. Bleeding/connection of photos
Going off of confusion between the start of new stories, there were a few photos that both went into the gutter and looked similar in tone and setting. This led her to believe that the pages were connected to the same story.
She suggested we make sure photos on spreads are diverse so a reader can tell the two pages on a spread have different stories.
3. Long copy
While the writing in stories was good, she saw a lot of room for added graphical and visually appealing elements to tell the story instead just a chunk of copy and photo.
I did see wasted time, though, when we spent the first ten or so minutes discussing Elon, who our targeted audience is and structural and logistical workings of the magazine. I believe in the future it would be helpful if the adviser has a “cheat sheet” of the school and publication. For example, the adviser would get to the session 5-10 minutes before the scheduled critique session to read a sheet that has basic facts about the school and magazine (size of school, public vs private, how many times the magazine prints per semester, staff positions, etc).
Hopefully the next time The Pendulum attends an ACP/CMA convention the advisers will be given information about us before the critique and we can get a deeper level of feedback.