Print prince tries to become Web warrior

This video tells some generalities about newspaper design and shares a few ideas for good design.

By Jeremy Wise

Lead Designer

He has had a successful career in print journalism, and now at 24, he is trying to tame a new medium.

Jeremy Wise is designing his third Web site, but it is the first that will attempt to be used as explanatory journalism. It is also the first one that will attempt to use multiple formats of media.

It will not be a clean break from print journalism as words are still the main informational, and most important, part of a Web site.

The former sports editor of The Enterprise Ledger, who has won four Alabama Press Association awards in two competitions, will also address a key element in print journalism -- newspaper design.

"Even though it may be a skill that disappears within 20 years, we still have time to rectify common errors in design," Wise said. "Good design is a skilled learned over time. I should know -- I was not a great designer for the first year of my stint as sports editor."

As part of the multimedia effort, Wise has created four videos dealing with text, photographs/graphics, general information and common problems experienced in daily design. The videos appear on the corresponding subject page.

Wise said his Web site will also address text, photographs/graphics and common problem that may arise in the day-to-day operations of a newspaper.

In general, though, what are keys to good design?

"Good content, good pictures and knowing where eyes go -- the ergonomics of page flow," said Regina Rose, an editor and page designer whose career spanned almost seven years with The Enterprise Ledger, Army Flier and Wiregrass Aviator.

In 2007, the Poynter Institute conducted an eye-tracking study, monitoring how people's eyes moved when reading a newspaper. Some of the things they learned were that larger headlines grab more attention, standard stories and headlines were viewed less than any other story type and briefs with images worked better than briefs without images.

The study also found "print readers were more attracted to story packages with graphics, colored text and easy-to-read information."

Wise added designers must keep in mind of the term "above the fold."

"When papers are stored on boxes or shelves in stores, they are folded in half. The top part of the paper is usually what is only visible to passersby, so design your photos and text boxes with that in mind," Wise said.

These are just some of the things designers must consider when laying out a page of newsprint.

*Some information came from this article/page found on the Web site for the Poynter Institue.

Contact Jeremy at jhwise@ufl.edu