The Planning Process: Front Section Design

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Jun 27, 2008 em Diversos

Front Section Design

  • Do you know how many stories you have? Their lengths? Their relative importance to each other? Do you have a lead story? Find out. You must have all the pieces of the puzzle before you can begin designing. Get a complete list. Talk to the editor about what's most newsworthy. Now do you know?
  • Graphics? (photos, mugs, charts, maps, etc.)? Have you gathered all the art for this page?
  • Have you chosen your dominant art for the page (either a single photo or a multi-element package that works as a unit)?
  • Uh-oh. You need dominant art. Otherwise, you might still have a gray, text-heavy page. Examine each story's graphic potential. Is there a quick photo you can shoot (or recycle)? Can you draw a chart or graph? Create a list? Compile some quotes? Anything?
  • No other art, eh? You could still have an awfully gray page on your hands. Can you add a mug shot or quote to one of your smaller stories? Or run a small stand-alone photo somewhere else on the page?
  • If there's no art for secondarv stories, you'll need to get maximum mileage from your dominant art. Try placing it down toward the middle of the page; put your remaining stories above, below or alongside it. Keep experimenting until everything seems to fit.
  • Or try anchoring your dominant art near the top of the page. Play it big. Consider where the text will go. And the headline. And any secondary photos or sidebars.
  • Imagine where your other stories might fit in relation to this one. Do you have photos or art for those other stories?
  • Scatter your art toward the corners so the photos won't collide with each other. Try moving your dominant art down toward the middle of the page, or to one side, so it won't butt against other art. Vary your shapes and sizes.
  • Now finish dummying the rest of your page. Satisfied?
  • Ask yourself: Is every story as reader-friendly as it can be? Can you make stories more interesting or break blocks of gray text by adding:
    1. Sidebars? Run a list or key points or upcoming events. Or collect quotes from notable authorities on this topic. Or create a profile box about a toy person in a story.
    2. Graphics? If a story focuses on statistics or dollars, depict those numbers as a chart or a graph. Perhaps, add a map where relevant.
    3. Quotes? Don't let good quotes buried in text.

FINAL CHECKLIST

  • Are stories in the right order? Is it obvious which is most important?
  • Does the page offer a mix of news and features, heavy and light topics?
  • Are all stories shaped like rectangles?
  • Do any headlines butt?
  • Do any stories need decks to add information?
  • Does the graphic face the story it accompanies? Does any photo intrude into a neighboring story?
  • Would boxing a story help separate it from its neighbor or add emphasis?
  • Can everyone actually follow my page design?

 --adapted from training materials by Knight International Press Fellow Herman Obermayer