Alysha’s design critiques

by Alysha Love

Fort Payne, Ala. — Times-Journal

I was drawn to this page as I was looking through the Newseum website because of its strong, bold nameplate in the top left corner. I thought this was a really gutsy and original way to brand the paper and give it an updated feel. It also frees up a lot of space — the two teasers next to the nameplate get a lot of room, which means they can be more designed and seem more meaningful to the page instead of looking like an inconvenient afterthought. I think the red stripe across the bottom of the teasers nicely separates them from the rest of the content and prevents them from making the page looks cluttered. I’m not a fan of the paper’s typeface, which seems a bit too childish. Its tone doesn’t seem to fit with serious news, I think because of the curved bits on the bottom of some letters, such as L and T. I’m fascinated by the paper’s decision to justify all their headlines, decks, bylines and jumps … but I’m not sure that I like it. I think it would work better if all the columns used justified type rather than ragged type because it would give the other elements a more even space to be centered  on top of. The mugshots on the page are close to the same horizontal space on the page, but they’re just off, which is distracting. The weights of the type for the headline also seems strange to me; they’re all so heavy that I’m not sure where to look. The dummied layout of the page itself seems fine though, it was just poorly executed. The best part of this page by far is the nameplate and teasers.

Mobile, Ala. — Press-Register

I followed the Press-Register for a couple weeks during the editing/design class with Maggie because I was again drawn to the original nameplate and teaser layout at the top of the page. I’m often a fan of the paper’s layout, but I’m not today. The teaser strip below the nameplate usually pops with a colored background and creates a more distinctive separation between it, the nameplate and the news design below. However, it was resized and given a white background in today’s paper to accommodate the three-person cutout from the Alabama basketball game. It’s certainly a dynamic image, and I like that they were bold enough to cover a good part of the paper’s name with the ball. However, the rest of the design seems too busy given the action of that large cutout. I think the paper would have been better served to break its normal design layout (the three stories running vertically with the widest in the middle) in favor of running one story across the page to calm down the layout. The three different headlines, decks and two clarifying titles for the pieces just make it far too busy directly beneath a busy image. I also think there are too many rules on the page, making it again feel cluttered and jumbled instead of coherent and authoritative. On a copy editing note, I’m about to die from the use of not one but two exclamation points on the front page. Horrors.