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What your daily newspaper can teach you about design

While everyone feels the newspaper industry is dying, we can still learn a lot from the way they are designed. Part of my duties as a designer was once layout out several newspapers. I’ve learned a lot that has helped me with other projects ever since I’ve started on that. So maybe these tips will help you just a bit.

Newspapers love bold headlines

A lot of “bad” designs are cluttered. There’s too much going on. There isn’t any emphasis or too many things appear emphasized. The idea of a headline, subhead, and body copy can extend to many forms of design. Try keeping the body copy consistent in size and type style. The headline might even be in the same font. A headline is an opportunity to use a second font, but ask yourself why you think this is right and be critical of the results.

Photos and captions

Newspapers often have to deal with different shapes of photos and fit them into various spaces. In the past few months that I’ve done a few days of newspaper layouts each week, the more I see that the layout is a puzzle. Everything has to fit just perfectly. It’s more challenging than it may at first appear. On top of that, you don’t want the captions don’t want to get mixed in with the body copy. Using a rule, box or just enough white space can separate the caption text from body text Keeping photos near their headlines/copy is one tip. Another is to give a lot of space around them. This can work for all kinds of design objects in your layout.

There’s a lot more that you might learn from newspaper design. Look at some strongly branded and well thought out newspapers. Ask what works and what doesn’t

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Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

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Brian E. Young

I'm a graphic designer (portfolio), classical pianist and artist in Baltimore, MD. I host the Uncanny Creativity Podcast helping to demystify the creative process and creator of Funlooksfun.com, an online shop for apparel and games. Twitter: @sketchee

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