Before Monday’s class, I saw both graphic design and written journalism as valuable, but not as equally important. For me, good design was a finishing touch on the “real work” done by reporters who dug up data, sent FOIA requests and relentlessly pursued interviews. The idea from class that designers are just as much journalists as everyone else in the newsroom reshaped my understanding of the relationship between images and words.
It’s not that I didn’t consider visuals to be important before; as a double major with art history, I often thought about images and what they conveyed to an audience. I appreciated learning about design enjoyed designing things myself. It’s just that I didn’t see designers as journalists. For example, while I was a senior editor for What the Health magazine, I focused mostly on developing my writers’ stories. Once their stories were almost through the editing process, I sent a memo to the art team with ideas or special considerations. Conversely, when I designed for SU’s yearbook, I in no way thought of laying out pages as a form of journalism.
Now, I realize that design is journalism because design is the message. In the future, when I write or edit I will begin communicating with designers earlier. I know that how they present a story will determine how my audience understands it. And when I design, I won’t see it as of secondary importance to writing and editing. I will see it as just as valuable.