Convention notes: Contests, creativity and being comfortable

Design Editor Jose Enriquez shares more of his notes from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Corpus Christi: 

For those that don’t know, I competed in the News Design contest. I went in there thinking this would be easy, and I wasn’t the only person to think that. The designers that I spoke to all had this cocky idea that it would be better than the former years, and it was, because it wasn’t cut and paste anymore – technology!

However, this was the hardest contest that I have ever competed in because of the work involved. We were given six stories, a few crappy photos, a masthead and an hour and half to put something together that we normally take an hour to plan out (budget), 10 to 15 minutes to read each story as it comes in, and execution, which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour or two. In this quick analysis, I would say that we could have used another hour to put a plan together.

What I actually learned is that we often become too comfortable with our libraries, which dictate how fonts and styles are used. We depend on the basic layout of a story package to be laid out already because of the libraries. My creative streak was hiding, and I choked, because while I had the libraries, I didn’t have the fonts (and that reset the font styles of the libraries).

We need to remember to stay on our creative toes. We never know what will happen. I think a great way to do this might be to stray away from the library, and produce stories without it. We still have paragraph styles to help organize a layout, but we need to familiarize ourselves with various ways of thinking, and we tend to get stuck in one pattern.

Overall, I had a really excellent time. My favorite part, which was sort of part of the competition, was the thrum that arose from the designers and laptops. It’s amazing to see so many competitors working toward a common goal, not to mention I have now networked with a few of them. We share ideas!

Thanks, Jose.

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