Newspaper Design
Last semester I worked at the Index and did page layout and designed small information graphics. I learned a lot when it came to dealing with a lot of text. The Index put to use the idea of modular design. Modular design is where each story and things related to a story can have a box drawn around it. So you can’t have a story (including related photos) laid out in any shape other than a rectangle or square.

Graphic Design is a much broader spectrum than Newspaper Design. So a lot of times you can recognize the graphic designers that have worked a lot with newspaper, because they start using newspaper-only design rules in their other types of design. For example, using justified text, when left-aligned is much more pleasing to the eye; or being limited to only one typeface because that’s how they did it at the newspaper. It’s ok to use 2 typefaces, and they don’t have to be the same ones for every design.

Here are two frontpages that I did the layout for.

This first page layout is an example of what we would do every week. This time we had a unrelated photo to add, and it usually has a unique title. Well, for filler text I put “Grapes of Wrath” with the tree photo… and the copy-editors liked it and kept it. So, you never know when your spur of the moment thoughts will be worth something.

For this one, I had to come up with a concept to go with the story. I chose to have a photographer shoot a photo of a person laying on the floor with a toe tag on their foot. I then cropped and colorized the photo to look dead. I also had to create a shadow below the foot on the ground because the photo ended.

What I’ve learned in regards to graphic design.

1. You should stab yourself in the hand if you feel the urge to use a drop shadow, stroke or gradiant.
A direct quote from my Professor. I believe that drop shadow can be used, but very faintly and only to achieve better readability

2. Large blocks of text should be no larger than 14 and should be a serif font.

3. The client is always right, but that doesn’t mean they decide upon the specifics of the design. It’s the designers job to make great design and please the client at the same time. The client should give the designer what they want the result to be but they should not dictate the means (specifics) to getting those result.

4. Pixelation… not good

5. Obtain your graphics and photos legally. Nothing, when it comes to photos online is free, and if it is, the quantity of photos isn’t very large or the photo probably isn’t that great (quality or conceptually).- Check out for some top-notch, free stock photography… they don’t have a large variety though.

6. Use pencil and paper to sketch your design before using the computer. The computer is a tool, but you’re the designer.

7. Website design: HTML tables were meant for tables of data, not for designing a website. That’s what CSS is for.

8. Website Design: Using an image map is cheating, and your grandma who is using dial-up at about 5kbps will not have the patience to wait for the page to load.
I’ve learned these things in the past 3 years here at Truman, and I know I will learn a million other things in the next year and a half that I should avoid when it comes to designing.