The beauty of design is it is truly everywhere you look! I am currently studying newspaper design and learning a great deal through Tim Harrower‘s The Newspaper Designer’s Handbook. Though I do not plan on being a newspaper designer myself, I’ve learned enough that I feel comfortable telling you why the feature page (page one) below is great!
The Hartford Courant , known as being the largest daily newspaper in the US, is one of few American newspapers that truly raises the design bar and sets the standard that newspaper critics everywhere praise. This particular award winning design features the 2004 presidential election.
There are four basic elements to consider in newspaper design, a photo, cutline, headline and text – how one sculpts those elements to create one, favorable, effective piece is the true craft.
Going in order, we will first talk about the photo on this page. The purpose of a photo, according to Harrower, is to give the newspaper “motion and emotion.” This photo most definitely exudes both. It’s scale grasps the readers attention and draws them to pick up the paper. It is one that makes you think, what’s going on, what are they reacting to, why are they swarming televisions on the streets and why does it matter? These questions are answered by the headline.
The headline on this page is one of it’s most interesting design concepts. Headlines are meant to seal the deal. Traditionally, the photo says “HELLO” while the headline says “READ ME” and they compliment each other in that same manner, photo first, headline second. Here, the headline is just as grabbing as the photo. It’s unusually large font size screams at you and guides your eyes down the page fluidly. While the white space surrounding it allows the words to breath and stand alone. Just below the photo, is the deck – the piece that tells you what’s really going on, here the deck is the size of the typical headline, this is well done because it the deck is not dismissed even though it is not directly attached to the headline.
The text on this page is one of it’s most elegant features. The centered, justified body mimics the horizontal layout on the top half of the page, while the four “teasers” located just below it add a vertical flare, creating a needed contrasting element. The varying font width used across the page also creates contrast and texture to the page.