Fine designs are sometimes a grind

This video discusses common problems designers may encounter on a day-to-day basis.

By Jeremy Wise

Lead Designer

Some days in newspaper design are easier than others, and one of the main problems has to do with available material.

Former The Enterprise Ledger Sports Editor Jeremy Wise said some days can give you an overabundance of materials, like days when natural disasters occur. Wise added, "Fortunately, those days are not every day. On those days, though, you know what the lead story is. The only problem -- most of the time -- is figuring out which photos go where. Everything will likely be in one big package for you."

Wise said what is harder are days where there is a lack of material or available "good" material.

So what does a designer do in situations like those? Rely on good basic techniques and teamwork.

"You sit down with editors or writers and either an idea inspires you at that moment or you go back to your visual material and let it lead you to a solution," said David Yarnold, an editor with San Jose Mercury News said in a interview with Society for News Design in 2003. "So often, the solution lies in a great visualist seeing the opportunity in the available material."

Another problem relies in preset design as companies often have rails, mastheads and text types they want to use in the basic design.

"The biggest challenge is having something fresh, yet consistent," said Regina Rose, an editor and page designer whose career spanned almost seven years with The Enterprise Ledger, Army Flier and Wiregrass Aviator.

Rose added companies keep the same design on a day-to-day basis to build an image to go along with the product's name.

Wise said sketching ideas on a sheet of paper, especially if you know what material is coming, can help you plan around these and have a great design.

*Some information for this page comes from a 2003 article by Monica Moses for the Society for News Design.