There’s one simple thing that resonated with me after our first news design class. It may sound too easy — and will probably hear some exclamations of “Duh!” from some in the class — but the notion that design isn’t the Adobe Suite, it stems from a great idea and concept-driven thinking is powerful and important to keep in mind.
Someone doesn’t succeed in design just making something “look cool” in Illustrator. It takes researched work in knowing your audience, generating concepts and finding creative ways to communicate that message effectively. Of course, Adobe can help refine that idea and bring it to life, but it still takes critical thinking and an audience-centric approach to design.
So while I’m taking this class to become a better designer, I’m not taking it to work on InDesign or Illustrator skills. I want to expand my way of thinking about the reader, what he/she expects and how I can innovate off that idea and turn it into something visually stimulating. This would help strengthen journalistic values and deepen my connection with the reader, as well.
Take the Virginian-Pilot, a newspaper in Northern Virginia, for example. Its circulation is only about 145,000 according to Mondotimes.com (ranked 53rd in USA Newspaper circulation, two spots below the Buffalo News), but the design of the paper is incredible, and gives the stories a depth they wouldn’t normally have if the paper didn’t have such an emphasis on design. Good design can contextualize stories and make the reader think differently, more inquisitively, or simply pay more attention.