It’s all in the details A redesign is complete. Reader reactions start pouring in. Editors and designers meet to see what works and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, when the process is finished, it is all in the details: not only for the editors and designers involved in the redesign, but, of greater importance, for the readers. While many of us start with the larger “strokes” of the design— selecting legible and attractive typefaces, creating good page architecture and an appropriate color palette, the truth is that many secondary details make or break the overall look and feel of a design. What are some of those details?
Folio lines: These minute elements tell us the page number, the date, and the name of the publication. Make them easy to read, and, if you can, create a little personality for them. Not every folio has to be one horizontal line on top of which type sits. How can the folios reflect some aspect of the rest of the design? Bylines: There will be hundreds of bylines in the average publication. They should not call too much attention to themselves but also should not disappear. Give bylines a job: to provide typographic contrast between the headline that precedes them, and the text that follows them. And, don’t forget to create special byline styles for longer reports, exclusives, and for noted writers and columnists.
Captions: The Poynter Institute’s Eye Track research demonstrated how popular captions are with readers. Make them come alive. Provide captions with good information that does not repeat what is visible in the photograph; and make the type sing, providing contrast with the text of stories around them. Photo credits: Small as these are, they are important. Ideally, place them bottom right under they photo, with type that provides contrast to the caption that follows it, in all caps, for example. Refers: The lines that tell you that there is a related story somewhere else in today’s edition, or that an Internet version is also available, should be wonderful opportunities to apply good typography and effective visual thinking.