Elements of Newspaper Design

Elements of Newspaper Design

Elements of Newspaper Design

Elements of Newspaper Design


Covering every aspect of newspaper design from typography to photography, from redesign to the specifics of a design stylebook, this volume is an essential text for use in graphic journalism courses and an effective reference source for editors and publishers. Ames coins the phrase Total Page Concept. He demonstrates the importance of placing graphic elements on a page so that they complement one another. This scholarly text includes more than 200 examples from newspapers throughout the United States, 60 interviews and citations plus statistical tables that show how editors use various graphic elements in their publications.


To lay areas of printers' ink on a sheet of newsprint is just as much a work of art as to arrange areas of pigment on a piece of canvas and call it an oil painting. Newspaper people are reluctant to call themselves "artists," thinking it would be pretentious. But at least in newspaper design, they are artists; and they can-- and ought to--learn from other graphic artists.

While you cannot paint a Mona Lisa by numbers, there are basic principles that must be mastered by a da Vinci, a Rembrandt or a Rockwell. Blue and yellow make green; cool colors recede; perspective is based on mathematics. These basics every painter must know. So with newspaper design. While the final results are essentially a matter of innate skill--talent--there are basic principles that must be mastered. These principles are based on immutable standards. The Latin alphabet, for instance, sets in stone that the reader must proceed from left to right and top to bottom. This progression is not going to change come hell, high water or new typographic vagaries.

The unique complex of reading eye and translating cortex will never change. A human can never learn to digest sawdust; the alimentary canal is not subject to fads and fashion. The human eye cannot learn to read sans serif type easily and efficiently; the neuro-optical system will not be changed by the whim of designers.

This book lays down a foundation of principles that every newspaper person should have. The editor who lays out pages certainly must be steeped in these principles to do the design job. But the managing editor, the publisher and everyone concerned with the overall quality of the paper must know enough of the principles to be able to evaluate the work of other staffers.

Artists face another requirement: They must master the mechanics of their medium. They have to know how to apply pigment with brush, palette knife or wiping rag. They must know how to apply acid to etch a mezzotint plate. They must know how to strike a chisel so it will remove unwanted marble but leave the sculpture unmarred.

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