Success in persuading people to read depends on a blending of writing excellence with the visual logic of its presentation. That design, in turn, operates on two levels. On the higher intellectual level, it has everything to do with journalism and the functional expression of substance. On the lower level, it is really industrial design: styling a product that is right for its audience in its market niche.
Only there does this business of depressed or cheerful colors and their atmospherics come in. Clearly it ought to be considered, but it is by no means the universal panacea. If you manage to get the content to sparkle, then the atmospherics such as happy or sad colors matter less and less. PE
Jan White, author of the book “Editing by Design,” lectures worldwide on the relationship of graphic design to editing. After 13 years with architectural magazines at Time Inc., he established his own publication-design firm in 1964. He has written dozens of books on editing and design techniques.