Principles of Web Design and News Content
News design is the creative process of planning material on a printed paper page, based on artistic and editorial guidelines and objectives. Main editorial objectives include the arrangement of news stories in a logical and/or aesthetically pleasing order by date, while aesthetic considerations include balance, readability and unobtrusive inclusion of advertising. Decided upon prior to the production of the paper, the sequence and other design elements are determined by editorial standards, or the style guidelines established by news editors and designers.
News design often goes hand-in-hand with graphic design, the process of designing a picture or image for publication on a paper. Graphics are created using software programs such as Adobe Photoshop and CorelDraw. News designs and graphics are prepared before printing, either by hand or by automated means, using a variety of different software programs. Newspaper images and graphic designs are also distributed to various news outlets through photo distribution services.
Most newspapers today have a full-time news design staff. News designers work under the supervision of a section manager or newspaper designer. Some designers specialize in specific news formats, while others are generalists who are responsible for preparing all news pages. News designers can oversee the production of features such as the front page of the printed paper, special sections and other feature stories.
The most important aspect of any news design or graphic design involves determining the balance or reading gravity of the material. The principle of balance refers to the proportion of a design element to another. A newsworthy feature that is likely to be read, such as a photograph or chart, should have little or no added or subtractive information on other pages of the printed page or to accompanying material. For example, a photograph of President George W. Bush’s speech to a joint session of Congress would not need to include his wife’s picture alongside his.
Many newspapers have taken advantage of technology in recent years to produce more reader-friendly online versions of their news design and photography. News designers at the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have combined their web design departments with news department to provide online readers with comprehensive, searchable news content. The Wall Street Journal now offers online only blogs, rather than the regular daily newspaper blog, that are constantly updated with relevant articles. Arnold Zwicky is the Executive Director of news design at Giganews, a website dedicated to providing online news websites in the print industry.
Another important principle of web design or news design that applies to newspapers is the use of graphics. Graphics are an extremely effective method of communicating ideas to readers because they instantly draw their attention. Graphics are also used to display statistics, maps, charts, and any other graphical representation that can help inform the reader of a story. While newspapers often base their pictures on actual events, designers at Giganews rely on photographic images provided by stock photography services so that the graphic design can be as close to reality as possible.