Over the next few months, I'm offering some of my best columns from the past few years.
This one focuses on things designers hear that drive them nuts.MORE
COME JUNE 1, I will have spent 30 years as a newspaper consultant. That's a long time. I'll be retiring at the end of this year ... perhaps sooner.
It's time for me to turn my attention more toward Julia and my family ... and the pursuits that bring me joy.
Over for the next few months, I'm offering some of my best columns from the past few years.
Here's one that focuses on designers.MORE
So ... how does design affect readability? And how does writing affect design?
Take a look at the two stories in the illustration with this column. Which do you think will be read by more readers?
Well, the one on the right, of course!
The short paragraphs make that story more appealing because readers understand a simple truth about writing: Shorter is better.MORE
Do you want to grab the attention of your readers with your very first page?
Of course you do! With every issue, you want your front page to have high readership. You want it to be your best-read page.
You can get that strong readership by making sure the design of the front is compelling. And the key to that compelling design is a strong visual element.MORE
You've done it again. Success! Every page in this week's (or day's) paper is in by deadline. It took some doing, but like almost every issue before it, you've created another miracle: cramming thousands of words and photos together into your latest newspaper. And ... you've done it on deadline.
Well, before you stroll from your desk brimming with pride, let's take a closer look at the "miracle." Every page is in, perhaps, but most of them went to prepress in the last half-day (or last hour).
So, yes, all the pages are "in," but you've created a problem for those who have to turn those pages into files that can be processed and printed.MORE
Good news design is the practice of understanding how readers read – then using that understanding to make your newspaper easier, faster and more comfortable for readers to follow.
Part of that calls for proper placement of captions.MORE
Sometimes a design just goes stale. Over the course of even just a few years, inconsistencies creep in, color use gets out of hand, odd typefaces appear. Stuff happens.
But you can turn that around. You can bring a crisp, clean, compelling look to the tired face of your newspaper.
Here are ten steps to guide you.MORE
Those who have read this column over the years have probably seen this quote before:
"If you fail to plan ... you plan to fail."
I believe that so deeply that it has become embedded in my DNA.
But I'm preaching to the choir. You already have plans.
You have a business plan. An advertising plan. A circulation plan. A production plan. A personnel plan. A growth plan.
But (with rare exception), no design plan.MORE
I'm a friendly guy. Most people who know me genuinely like me ... and I like them.
I can be a strong friend. I can stand by you when you need me to. I can help you when you've got a problem. I can just be there by your side when you need support.
But ... I can also choose to not be your friend if I think it matters.
So, let me get this out there briefly and clearly: I am not a friend of writers ... or designers.MORE
I've been a consultant for almost 30 years. Before that, I worked more than 20 years in writing and editing positions, most of those years as an editor and manager at daily newspapers.
During that half-century, I've learned a few things about how to do my work well and how to conduct myself in the workplace.
I recently received a call from someone close to me who was struggling in her work. She asked my advice and I did my best to help her.
After that conversation, I sent her the following. I call it "25 on-the-job ideals."
I thought I'd take a side road from design this month to share my note with you.MORE