Convention notes: Revitalize your news publication

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

Ten steps to revitalize the look of your publication by Michael Currie, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Design Director

Currie states that there are 10 steps to liven up the design of any newspaper.

1. Don’t wait
As a designer, we should, in some instance, always be thinking about what we do for a story to make it stand out. We can do this by reading the budget lines and conversing with the reporter to build better packages.

2. Risks
As cliche as it is, take risks. If no one ever takes a risk, then you never know what works and what doesn’t. Bounce ideas off co-workers to develop a new package that someone has never used. Research the topic a little and use that to build inspiration.

3. Surprise!
In design, it’s very easy to become complacent. Designs should always be invigorating for the reader, and sometimes you should just surprise the reader with something they won’t expect at all, like a full front page photo.

4. Bold
Be bold with headlines. Don’t be too shy when it comes to playing with the headline, but only do it when it’s deserved. Using extravagant headline treatments will lose their effect if they are used all the time – sparingly.

5. Visually
Tell the story visually. Some stories will contain numbers, facts, figures and processes. Take advantage of that material to do something great with the story, like what we tried to achieve with the tornado infographic.

6. Conceptual
Don’t have any good photos to use, then try other visuals, like infographics, in replacement. Typography can also be used to create a conceptual design.

7. Be different
Don’t become complacent. Think of new and different ways to stay fresh with your layouts. Change the shapes – use a variety of different layouts.

8. Entry points
Aside from the headline, we need to think of different entry points. Text boxes, graphics, numbers, reference boxes or related stories, even a pull quote can be an entry point. Read all articles to see how many elements you can pull out.

9. Ease
The reading experience should be easy for your readers. If it looks off, or something feels weird, change it. Most likely, your readers will feel the same way and might not even read the article.

10. Inspiration
Don’t limit yourself to the story. Use all your senses to create new designs. Read articles and think of ways to create new graphics or design elements. Always think.

Thanks, Jose, for sharing. Staff, how can we use this? Let’s come up with three concrete ways to apply these each day.

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