Production & Design

Getting the most from your time with ideas for design, photography, advertising, etc.


Focus groups can change the way you create your newspaper

October 16, 2017

I guess it comes with experience (that sounds better than “age”). In the “old days” when I visited a newspaper, it was almost always related hardware, software or some other type of technology. These days, it might be just about anything.

Is your ‘designer’ a designer?

October 16, 2017

During a recent phone conversation with a publisher, she told me: “We have a designer who does that.”

Design is: How it works

September 13, 2017

That’s it. In one brief sentence. Of course, readers want a newspaper that looks right, and feels right. They want the look and feel of their paper to reflect their community.

What they said

August 23, 2017

During the past few years, I’ve used quotes about newspapers to lead off my weekly blog updates. Those of you who follow the blog will recognize some of these. Those of you who don’t—well, here’s what some people say about who we are and what we do!

Questions from my readers

July 11, 2017

Convention season has been a lot of fun for me this year. I just returned from visits with associations across the Midwest U.S. and western Canada and there is a definite intensity brewing among community newspaper publishers. There were more publishers wanting a private moment to discuss their thoughts, and longer lines of folks waiting to talk to me after sessions.


Taking a closer look at your design: Part 2

July 11, 2017

Last month’s column focused on design critiques: working to improve your design by taking a look at what you’ve recently done.


Maine group redesigns its three papers

June 12, 2017

PENOBSCOT BAY, ME—Realizing that the bulk of the company’s revenue continued to be from its print publications, the owner of the Penobscot Bay Press, Nathaniel Barrows, knew it was important to focus on the company’s core products.


Page design was easier in the old days

June 12, 2017

A century ago, when newspapers printed their pages with nothing but black ink and included few pictures or illustrations, creating the average page layout was easy. The back shop would start with six extremely wide blank columns and fill them with as much body type as possible. Often, the only story separation came in various headlines. Many of those headlines would be hyphenated in the strangest places.


Smarter ad design by savvy papers

June 12, 2017

I once conducted a two-day sales training program for a chain of papers that were struggling to get more business. They had readers tell them that their ads were hard to read. As a matter of fact, all their papers were hard to read. After looking over several issues, I saw the problem—their paper was crammed with reverse type ads—white copy on a dark black background—a sea of black ink everywhere. To make things worse, the ads were crammed full of type from border to border, making them difficult to read, as well.


Print and web ads create a profitable partnership

June 12, 2017

The formula for great advertising is—and probably always will be—the combination of an engaging headline, a dynamic image and benefit copy, all deployed to serve the needs of the advertiser and garner results. However, although many elements of effective ads have endured over time (such as adequate white space, balance, readability, etc.), others have been transformed in response to new technologies, shifts in media consumption and changing consumer expectations. Understanding some of the similarities and differences between print and digital ads in this new environment will give you the edge in designing and selling.


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