PM: Has the proliferation of the Web affected how you design for print media?
Ruiz & Black: It has changed some of the reader's habits. Now, newspapers and magazines must be visually entertaining. They have to provide a sense of "flow" in navigation. And they should offer interactivity with their readers, in how content is organized and displayed. No one has much of an attention span! We have too many distractions.
PM: How has the treatment of editorial changed between now and, say, 20 to 30 years ago?
Ruiz & Black: It's the same issue: Readers don't read anymore. People look at magazines first, then pick what bits to read, like shopping or zapping the remote control. The design must he more context-sensitive . . . We've seen a revolution in publication design, primarily in newspapers, in the way they talk to different readers with different visual layers of information, using infographics and placing more reading "points of entry."
PM: Both of you have achieved much success and fame in your careers. In partnering together, do you find there to be a healthy competition—design-wise—between the two of you?
Ruiz & Black: The creative process is always constructive, but tense. You start with inspiration, and then edit. We learn from every project, and try build new ideas into each project. We both believe that every design should be challenged and a good critic makes a better design. We believe in a team effort, founded on the old idea (but one that is not always practiced in design studios) that two heads are better than one.
PM: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
Ruiz & Black: First, typography is the basis of design. Watch trends, but focus on effective design, things that work and reader "ergonomics"—readability and usability! Second, check out the classics. If something looks good after 50 or 200 years, chances are it will still look good in six months. Third, start small and work up. It's better to get experience as art director of a small paper in a small town than to be a third assistant in a big city.