How to Assesses Your Publication Design
That’s when I realized that they are precisely and exactly what should have been done, in order to make that column more useful to you, our beloved reader. That’s what we exist for! To be useful, concise, fast.
Compare the “before” with the “after” images (below). Look how the key points pop out so they bite you on the nose. Then look at the headline in the box at lower left: They took the word “readers” and struck it out, and wrote the word “viewers” above it in red—the essence of the whole piece! Right on!
Sure, the spread would have been nicer-looking with my two brilliant drawings making their points, and without the boxes. But who cares? And that is the essence of this piece: Who, in fact, cares?
Our only duty is to our investors who start out as viewers and become readers when they sense it is worth their while.
The “5 Tips for Making the Reader Care” sidebar below highlights ways to improve your magazine’s reader-appeal.
How Management Should Judge the Design
Anything that may inhibit readability should be re-thought. This has nothing to do with personal taste or aesthetics. It is a coldly analytical calculation of the reaction recipients are likely to have to your product—both in its individual components and in its entirety in the marketplace.
Writers and editors may object to such interference, and designers may be frustrated because they are being denied freedom to do what they believe they were hired to do. However, if the arguments can be kept to a professional and analytical level and away from personal preference, a better product that fulfills the recipient’s needs will ensue. That’s the only significant factor in today’s competitive environment.
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.
Related story: 5 Tips for Making the Reader Care