Principles of News Design and Appeal
News design is the creative process of designing content on a printed paper page, in accordance with graphical and editorial guidelines. Main editorial objectives include the arranging of news content by topic, with emphasis on readability, balance and unbiased, unobtrusive integration of marketing messages. While such tasks may seem relatively straightforward, news design involves complex decisions regarding format, size, placement, images and language to effectively convey the intended message.
News organizations ranging from small local newspapers to large international daily newspapers rely heavily on graphic design and typography to communicate information to their audience. Graphics design plays an important role in informing, educating and entertaining readers while the placement and size of text content to ensure that it is legible. For example, a small story about a local school in a small town would not be nearly as readable as a graphic design of a five-star hotel located in a major city. Successful news design has become almost impossible in today’s digital media driven climate due to the rapid advancements in technology and software.
The process of news design has evolved into a multi-million dollar industry in recent years due to the advent of new media and technologies. One principle behind the success of a well designed website or print content is presentation. The presentation of information should always be clear, concise and up to date. Many newspapers and magazines are now shifting towards web design because of the increasing competitiveness of online content publishing. While traditional forms of publishing such as newspapers, magazines and even television news are going digital, news design professionals are adapting to the changing digital environment by investing time and resources into digital web design to leverage the increased reach of digital news.
The first principle of news design is that readers get a quick overview of the subject matter they are reading about, whether it is through visuals or written content. In most cases, visuals are the most important means of presenting information in print or broadcast media. The front page of a newspaper or magazine is almost always the first point of contact for readers. A well designed website often incorporates graphics and photographs to provide the first contact with a news story, especially if it is a special report on a current event or breaking news story.
The second principle is visual appeal, or how the content looks to a user. The overall layout of a website or print content can have a big impact on readership. A clean, simple design makes the most sense to the majority of website visitors, even those who may not identify with the newspaper or magazine’s content. Complex designs may be more visually appealing to a general reader who may identify with the newspaper or magazine more readily.
Finally, the third principle of news design and appeal is reader experience. In years past, newspapers and magazines had a much larger printing run than they do today. Therefore, large portions of their pages were dedicated to advertisements. Some readers got annoyed with these advertisements, while others simply did not have the time to scroll through an entire page to find the information they were looking for. News designers are now able to take advantage of new technologies that allow web designers and printers to produce high quality content in very little space thanks to the advent of digital printing.