Layout and Design Basics


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This presentation is intended for students in Prof. Holly Johnson's upper level journalism classes at Mercer County Community College. The goal is to learn basics about print layout for journalists.

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Layout and Design Basics

  1. 1. Intro to News Design andLayoutProf. Holly Johnson
  2. 2. NAMES OF STUFF Text is also called “copy” Photos and graphics are called “art” Columns are also called “legs”
  3. 3. Some page designs look good……others don’t.✔ ✗
  4. 4. BAD DESIGNSARE:1. Cluttered2. Tight3. Feature crappy “art,” bad stock photos and/or clip art4. Make it hard for ✗ the reader to know where to look5. Contain too much gray text6. Contain tiny eye- straining charts
  5. 5. MORE BAD  ✗
  6. 6. EVEN WORSE  ✗
  7. 7. Good articles,AWFULDESIGN  ✗
  8. 8. GOOD DESIGNSARE:1. Clear2. Contain useful (but not clumsy) white space ✔3. Feature engaging photos4. Feature strongest work at top5. Have catchy heads and decks in proper sizes6. Contain helpful, readable infographics as
  9. 9. GOOD ✔
  10. 10. COMPLEX, BUT GOOD✔
  11. 11. Basics of pageassembly:1. Pick good photos (though you may get sent crappy ones, so do your best) –expect to use one photo per article and to fit two articles on a page…more is possible, but harder1. Prep your photos in Photoshop (steps to follow)1. READ the articles you are laying out before you put them on the page!1. Place photos2. Place text (leave room for heads, decks, cut lines and bylines)3. Tinker for hours until the space is
  13. 13. AND JAMS
  14. 14. HOW TO FIX A HOLE: Handy deck1. Add decks to headlines2. Make photos bigger3. Put in a(n ugly little) promo box Big honkin’ photo Ugly little promo box
  15. 15. HOW TO FIX A JAM:1. Trim the text CAREFULLY!!!!(Bottom up…YOU better have read it!)NOTE: Do not trim more than 10% The top story runs long, giving you an inch or more of overlapping text = trouble.
  16. 16.  Every page should have a dominantpiece of art (if you are running twophotos for one story, one should bebigger than the other) A well-designed page usually has atleast 1/3rd art Stories should be shaped likerectangles Don’t “tombstone” your headlines Avoid short legs of text (should be atleast an inch) When in doubt, run one big photoinstead of two small ones Directional photos should face theinside of the page and toward the textthey accompany
  17. 17. NEXT -Making the magic happen…a step by stepguide
  18. 18. Step 1 – Prepare your photos Download your photos when they are sent to you from the photographer via Picasa or Google Docs Save them into a file where you can find them
  19. 19. Step 2 – Open Photoshop Open PhotoShop and open your photos First change the color mode from RGB to CMYK Go to the IMAGE tab, select MODE, select CMYK Note: if the picture is small, Go to IMAGE SIZE and Increase the size to between 3,000 and 6,000 pixels wide.
  20. 20. Step 3 – Change the Levels to Increase thebrighten the photo number after the decimal point to Click +L brighten the photo. Average brightening is between 1.2 and 1.7.
  21. 21. Step 4 – Change the Curves to Add three pointsbrighten the photo and make an S curve to lighten the Click +M lights and darken the darks.
  22. 22. Step 5 - SAVE YOUR WORK Save your color corrected photos in a file where you can find them. SAVE YOUR WORK
  23. 23. Open InDesign
  24. 24. Know your basic toolsSelection ToolText or Type ToolRectangle Frame Tool Magnifying Glass Fill and Stroke
  25. 25. Import your photos Rectangle Frame ToolUse the rectangle frame tool tomake a box for yourphotograph.Stay between the column lines!Hit + D to select yourphotograph. Then hit okay.Note: If the photo is larger thanthe box, not all of it willappear, if it’s too small it won’tfill the box (make it larger inPhotoshop).
  26. 26. Fit your photosTo fit your photo into the To fit your frame around theframe, go to OBJECT tab, select photo, go to OBJECTFITTING and select FIT tab, select FITTING andCONTENT PROPORTIONALLY select FIT FRAME TO CONTENT Note how the frame doesn’t fit precisely yet.
  27. 27. Import your photos Rectangle Frame ToolUse the rectangle frame tool tomake boxes for your text
  28. 28. Go to Google Docs Select the article you want with RFL marked beside it RFL means “ready for layout”
  29. 29. Go to Google Docs Hit + A to highlight all the text Hit + C to copy all the text
  30. 30. Paste in your text Text or Type ToolFirst, select yourtext tool thenplace the toolinside the box andclick once.Next, hit + P topaste the text youcopied fromGoogle docs.
  31. 31. Place the excess text Selection ToolUsing the selectiontool, hover over the tinyred box at the bottom ofyour text column until adot appears beside yourcursor.Click on the red box andthe excess text willattach to your cursor.Click inside the next boxto place the text there.Do this until the boxesare filled or you are outof text.
  32. 32. Change text to Utopia Std. 10 pt. Text or Type ToolFirst, select yourtext tool thenplace the toolinside the box andclick once.Next, hit + A tohighlight all thetext. In the fontbox make surethat your bodytext is in UtopiaStd. 10 pt font.
  33. 33. Import your photos Rectangle Frame ToolUse the rectangle frame tool tomake a box for your headlinethen write a headline. Thenswitch to the text tool and writethe headline of your choice.Standard headline fonts includeHelvetica Black (or bold)Myriad boldGotham MediumArial Narrow CE Bold
  34. 34. Writing good headlinesHeadlines should be accurate and instantly understandable. Every story must have a headline 5-10 words is optimum for most headlines Headlines get smaller as you move down the page. Smaller stories get smaller headlines. Don’t butt headlines. Writing headlines: avoid awkward wording, jargon, omitted verbs, bad splits. Write in the present tense.
  35. 35. Lather, rinse…repeatKeep adding and adjusting design elements until each page is full.Consult the News Designers Handbook for further layout ideas.
  36. 36. Adjust photos and text until everything fits on the page with no holes, jams or extra copy.
  37. 37. SAVE YOUR WORK Save your InDesign files and photos . SAVE YOUR WORK
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