Critique 2: Thoughts on Illustrations

by danramey1

Because we’ve been talking about illustrations recently, that was what was on my mind recently while looking at pages.  This first one is from the Denver Post.  The thing that really drew me to this particular page is the centerpiece. The lead story talks about a new law that allows for a lot more spending on advertisements as long as certain words aren’t used.

It would have been really easy to be lazy on this package and go with a boring photo of the judge who upheld the law or some supporters of the law or something.  However, the Post decided to take a more creative spin on it by surrounding the bill’s number (527) with the different words that you cannot say. Overall, I think that it is a very easy and efficient way to tell the story.  Plus, the use of the red and the large typography instantly draws my eye to the centerpiece.

Also, I think the t-deck under the number is really explains the story well.  These numbers and words could all be a little confusing if it wasn’t explained well.  But, the t-deck explains it quickly and succinctly.  Plus, I like the how the term “magic words” is in red to connect it to the bigger words around it.

Now, while the Denver Post seized a golden opportunity for an illustration, I think this next page missed a golden opportunity. This is from the Steamboat Today, which is one of two papers that covers the town of Steamboat in Colorado.  The lead story talks about the number of avalanches in the area, which has been a huge problem throughout Colorado this year.

My biggest problem here is the lead art, which doesn’t tell me enough.  The caption tells me that there have been six observed avalanches on these mountains.  It only points out the location of one of those six, and it doesn’t even do a great job of explaining that.

I think this could story and the photo could have been much better if the paper had maybe tried some kind of illustration.  For example, maybe there could be some pullouts from around the photo that that point to indicators or an avalanche and then explain that indicator a little more.  Or even, an infographic detailing the conditions for setting an avalanche in motion.

I’ve been following the avalanche story back in Colorado pretty closely because when I’m back there, I do a lot of hiking and skiing, both of which are directly affected by avalanche.  To me, this coverage seems perfect for some kind of illustration, but I haven’t really seem any good examples.  Since the likelihood of shooting an avalanche while it’s actually happening is low, i think an illustration would be a great way to add more value to the story.