Disclaimer: This is a *FAKE* newspage with factual information/pictures. The material was used for a college design class assignment. (this will make more sense if you read my post below...)
For class yesterday, our professor had us do a page design as if we were professional designers that had just walked in to work and discovered that a huge breaking news story had just occurred and we had to sit down at our computers and design that day's front page of the imaginary newspaper (I called mine New Roman Times..my first typography joke!).
The story he decided on was the VA Tech shooting back in April of 2007.
We were supposed to pretend it had just happened and design the front page using what he'd provided us:
3 photos taken at the scene
a map of where VA Tech is located
3 already-written (-typed) stories
We got to choose to use whatever of this that we wanted as long as the entire page was devoted to the shooting.
So I designed my 'style sheet' where I decide what kinds of font to use and how to contrast and make it visually appealing, but not overwhelming. Out of the three available pictures I chose two that I thought worked best and sized them according to which one I wanted to designate as the primary photo. I made the second one smaller since I wanted it to be the secondary photo (these were design-driven decisions).
We also were to come up with our own headlines, decks, cutlines (what to write in the captions under the photo), and which story (or stories) to use and how much of it to display on the front page without making it look too wordy and not appealing (as in, imagine this design to be on the front of your local paper..if it looked bad-despite the story's interest/appeal-the casual passer-by might not care to pick it up (or buy it) to read.
This is our goal-to design with the reader in mind and to determine what would be visually appealing: making sure it doesn't appear to be a boring story or too long to read, there has to be care in making appropriate decisions on which photo to use, as well as the photo's size and location, the page should have attractive (but not overwhelming) typography, it should also attract people who don't care to read the front page but want to know what's inside (there's got to be an index and teasers that give you an idea of what else there is to read on the inner pages), and you have to direct the reader to where a story continues by directing them to the page or section inside. There's a LOT of thought that goes into page design and it's the kind of thought that I desperately enjoy (something like the term "anal retentive" comes to mind...in fact, I was talking to another professor today about this very term and how I love to employ it because I love paying attention to detail! This is something that I can take from my years of birdwatching (which I always am doing, even when I don't realize it). When I'm identifying them by intricate characteristics/details taking note of both visual and audible features of the bird, I am building my attention to detail which is something that really matters when you're writing, interviewing, filming or editing!
Okay, speaking of anal retentiveness...the detail in this post has a bit of that "attractive" quality to it. If you made it this far, maybe you're anal retentive too! Don't look it up on wikipedia, though--the first little paragraph is a bit depressing :P
BSc in Biology & Environmental Studies (WWC)
MSc. in Journalism (UOregon)
You can find my published work in Eugene Weekly, Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife.