News design is the artistic process of planning content on a printed newspaper page, in accordance with graphic and editorial guidelines and aims. Main editorial objectives are the arrangement of news stories in accordance with topical priorities, while aesthetic considerations consist of balanced, unobtrusive and well-organized incorporation of imagery and advertising. However, while news design has achieved a modish reputation over the last few years for its emphasis on aesthetics, the reality is that news design has traditionally been a technical discipline, whose execution was often fraught with numerous difficulties. This is primarily because of the fact that news agencies have traditionally had very few funds to be spent on research and design. Since many newspapers today depend almost entirely on outside sources for their newsgathering, budgetary constraints were a major hindrance to the profession even when news design was concerned.
But times are changing, and so are the needs of the news design profession. The increasing number of online publications has meant that newspapers need to adopt more web design principles in order to remain competitive in this market. Newspaper design experts agree that web design plays a significant role in both quality and quantity of information provided by the news media. The web design principle is based on the notion that newspapers should provide comprehensive information about their subjects, and they should make it easy for the reader to obtain those facts. Newspaper design professionals therefore prefer to employ web design principles for the same purpose.
For example, some newspapers have news sections that contain a range of different topics. The information for these different topics can be organized in several different formats. For instance, a front page article might contain a story, a photograph or other forms of multimedia. A feature story or a photograph might appear on the second or third page. Behind the scenes, however, the website that hosts these articles is an extension of the newsroom. Therefore, the design of the website needs to correspond closely with the look of the website.
Another web design principle that plays an important role in news design is the reading gravity. This principle is based on the idea that most Internet users read news with low attention spans. News readers are therefore targeted toward the upper left or right corner of the screen. By placing the news reader’s cursor near this area, it will be easier for the reader to focus on the story.
It was also found that newspaper designers tend to place the most visually attractive features toward the top of the story. This practice results in the least amount of eye contact with the content. As a result, many newspapers are cutting down on the size of the text that they use. Instead, they are opting to use images or pictures as substitutes for text. In order to make the content more appealing, many news designers are now using animation or 3D graphics.
The practice of news design for newspapers is becoming more widespread because it helps to create a more cohesive message. International organizations can also benefit from it. For example, a non-profit organization may want to get the same visual appeal that it gets from newsprint. Because newspapers are often more focused on specific regions or countries, international organizations want to make sure that their messages are consistent no matter where the reader is located.