Design: A Tool for Making Things Clear Visuals, Photography Warren Watson Arizona State University 2012
Why Design?• “Design is a tool to make things clear. It is a lubricant for ideas. Poor design is like crackling static on the radio.” -- Jan White, author, teacher (1988)• “Why design? It’s simple. We’re in a vicious fistfight for people’s eyeballs -- David Fowler, art director (1994)
The Role of the Designer“Role of the designeris to get the reader tothe first paragraph.” -- Edwin Taylor
Wright Stuff“100 years ago today, nearKitty Hawk, NC, Wilbur andOrville Wright changed thecourse of history with thefirst power-driven, heavier-than-air machine in whichhumans achieved free,controlled and sustainedflight. One witness, a youngboy, ran into town, yelling,“They done it, they done it …Damned if they ain’t flew.”
Practicing Journalism Whole“Competing for the news will require us topractice journalism whole. It means thateditors will widen the view of their work, sothat words, illustrations and page designare thought of us as one, not apart, andhandled whole.” --Gene Patterson, former editor and publisher, St. Petersburg Times (1988)
Photos to connotereality; graphics,stories, cutlines toexplain information
Using all the Tools• Subject overline• Photo and caption• Headline• Explainer headline• Editor’s note• Nugget or glance box
Anatomy of a Good News Page> Strong center of < Subhead helps visual impact tell the story> Dramatic layout < Refers tell befits the news what’s inside> Strong < And of course: secondary art A great photo!> Highlights box layers the news
Getting the Reader to the 1st Graph* Stronghead withactive verb* Mapshowingepicenter* Brief factsabout quakeover head* Infographic* Subheadtells more ofstory
Anatomy of a Good Feature Page> Strong center < Appropriate> of impact white space> Clever head < Accessory color use> Strong secondary art < Contrast in> Good sizes of proportion of heads, heads to text photos
‘Information Anxiety’“Good instruction is built on gooddescription. Words, pictures and numbers-- use the right means to describe yourends. Learning is remembering what you’reinterested in.” -- Richard Wurman (1990) in book of the same name
Put It in Understandable Terms• An acre is 45,568 square feet in area. Easy to forget? Yes.• An acre is also roughly the size of a football field without the end zones• This is a cure for information anxiety!
Design Tips for Non-Designers• Communicate expectations often, precisely.• Learn to speak the language of the graphics and design staff. They are specialists too.• Insist on excellence.• Don’t judge what you’re not trained to judge.• Focus on the big stuff! (more)
More Design Tips• Pay attention to packaging issues.• Learn about photography. It’s the most important design tool. Learn the language of excellence.• Practice journalism whole. Graphics, photos, captions and headlines are information forms too.
7 Simple Learnings from SND• Keep it simple• Let content drive the design• Take care with the details• Pay attention to the words as well• Think like, not for, the reader• Treat typography with respect• Reflect your community
Reflecting Your Community• Maine: A nameplate that evokes a city• San Diego: A deep history of a region