News design is an artistic process of arranging written content on a news page, in accordance with visual and editorial guidelines. Main editorial objectives include the arranging of news stories in a specific sequence by category, while aesthetic considerations include balanced and readability, without the invasive use of advertising. The key to a successful news page layout is finding a balance between text and graphics. For many newspapers and magazines, this means using simple, clear-cut styles, such as the two-line style, or the centered graphic. However, to meet the demands of the ever-changing news landscape, the art of news design has evolved.
New digital technologies have enabled professional news designers to use innovative graphic designs to supplement traditional two or three-line layouts. For example, many newspapers and magazines use the cutter-and-paste technique, in which the template message is merely a black square where necessary text and images are inserted. This method can work very well when there are only a few words or graphics to fill the template, but when the template message must be varied greatly for variety or clarity, this technique proves problematic. In such cases, more radical techniques such as mesh drafting and pattern recognition can be employed.
Another important factor that determines the success of a newspaper or magazine design is its presentation on the front page. It is traditional for newspapers and magazines to welcome their most popular stories on the front page, or at the top of the home page. However, with increasing competitiveness among local papers and magazines, this policy is not necessarily a permanent feature. In a world where web design and development have become integral elements for getting published and attracting readers, front-page news distribution is now also being affected by the online world. Even though print publications still enjoy a commanding market share, web design professionals are able to offer unique and compelling content that can still easily reach the front page of many websites.
The third principle relates to the level of interactivity inherent in newspapers and magazines. Readers appreciate real-life information, including news and current events, presented in an engaging manner. However, web design professionals are also aware that it is not possible to provide all news and current events through a single website. Therefore, the fourth principle of web design relates to the need to create multiple interfaces for presenting different types of information, such as stories, photos, charts and graphs. When several types of content are integrated into a single website, this improves the credibility of the site because it can be distinguished from the other sites that present the same information.
The fifth and final principle relates to the use of clear typography and solid color schemes on newspapers and magazines. While newspapers and magazines may advertise their content through graphic illustrations and photographs, they should avoid using distracting patterns, colors and other visual cues to draw the reader’s attention away from the original story or editorial perspective. Using clear typography and solid color systems will help a website to achieve its goal of providing the best overall user experience.
The above mentioned five principles reflect the basic structure of news web design, which includes consistent vertical alignments, simple layout, use of grid systems, and use of consistent front page titles. Other important aspects of web design include consistent white space, regular images and clear typography. All of these elements can be used to help a visitor to focus on the story, articles, or other information being presented. In addition, newspapers and magazines may choose to include a small logo at the top of the page or to use a blank title template. Regardless of the specific media used to publish the news, front page headlines must represent the overall theme of the content.