Monday, October 5, 2009

Tolentine Star Layouting Tips

I was an Art Director and later the Associate Editor of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Tolentine Star college school publication sometime in 1992-94.

That was the transition of the manual copy-paste to the digital copy-paste that we know now. With the advent of modern-day techology that makes things a lot easier (and therefore oftentimes a no-brainer), I still long for the traditional ways of old.

And I will prefer the more challenging way of writing headlines, counting the n's and the m's (I won first place in the Regional COPRE Headline Writing Contest, in 1993 I think).

This is our TS layouting standards back then and I think the principles are still the same despite the techno trappings that sometimes make layout artists a little confused due to the millions of choices in fonts, designs and templates out there.

1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. To determine the design of your layout, e.g.: young people, A/B crowd, corporate setting, barangay outreach, etc.

2. MAINTAIN A STABLE IMAGE. To establish your distinct personality to your audience, e.g.: Time Magazine,, ABS-CBN.

3. BALANCE THE GRAY SPACE AND THE WHITE SPACE. At least ¼ to 1/3 white space to relax the eyes.

4. PREFER QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. If the text is too long, rewrite. Edit pictures, too. Less is more.

5. “WED” YOUR LAYOUT. A perfect “marriage” between the Writer, Editor, and Designer. Coordination among them is very important.

6. LAYOUT BY SPREAD. Consider as one page an entire spread for harmony.

7. DETERMINE CENTER OF VISUAL IMPACE (CVI). Enlarge the most interesting picture to usher the eyes into the page/spread.

8. DON’T BLOCK THE DRIVEWAY. Placing a picture on the lower right corner of the spread blocks the reader from going on to the next page.

9. USE ONLY ONE TO TWO TYPEFACES. For variety, change point sizes, use bold, italics, underscore, shadows, screens, reverse, etc.

10. USE SANS SERIFS FOR BIGGER TEXTS. When small, their sharp edges hurt the eyes. Use serifs, not display letters, for body text, which may be used for titles. For variety, use the appropriate voice, eg: light, serious, formal, satirical.

11. AVOID TOMBSTONING. To remedy the graveyard look, create movements in the pictures or with the texts.

12. AVOID FIRING SQUAD SHOTS. Candid shots always bring out the personality. If this is not possible, try the various flashing options in your captions.

13. WRITE GOOD CAPTIONS. Do not write what is already obvious in the pictures.

14. CROP YOUR PICTURES WELL. Don’t cut necks, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, knees, feet, etc. right at the joints. Determine the subject’s line of vision.

15. VIOLATIONS ARE ALLOWED. But always for a good reason.

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