Storytelling The single headline is becoming a thing of the past. Multideck headlines result in more reader-friendly newspapers. With more readers scanning as they move through their daily newspapers, the role of headlines has tripled in importance. Their prominence, usually being at least three times the size of the story text, gives them great power to lead readers into stories or help them decide to bypass a certain story in search of another. To aid this scanning process, add “decks” or “extra thoughts” to headlines. There is an art to doing this properly, however.
The first line gets into the story; subsequent decks each add more information so that overall they convey the essence of the story. Multi-deck headlines must offer typographic contrast. If the main headline is bold, then the decks should be lighter in weight. A Roman main headline may be accompanied by decks in Italics. Some newspapers colorize decks. Multi-deck headlines must offer size contrast. If the main headline is set in 36 points, the first deck might be in 18 points, and the second in 14. Multi-deck headlines can highlight an exclusive story or an important author. The British newspapers do this well, using decks to go beyond storytelling into unusual aspects of the story.
Adding stories: When John Miller worked on the first Esquire Fiction issue, he added a layer of storytelling to the fiction pieces: an extended caption on each opening spread, which gave readers the story behind the stories.
Stories on the web: Gensler, the international architecture firm, had a problem. Clients who came to them for, say, airport design, were not aware of their other offerings, like retail design—which might be very useful to someone building an airport. An explanation of this in some sort of philosophy or capabilities page would be ignored by users. So Miller Media created a corporate site built around rich minisites for each practice area. When you come to the homepage of the airport’s minisite, it’s filled with news of current projects and links to relevant content in the other minisites, like Gensler’s work with retail in airports.