Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

Editing: Layout and Design for Print or Web

In my 7:25 a.m. editing class today (I can’t possibly convey how much I hate getting up at 6:30) we had to design a page of print newspaper on a dummy sheet, including photos, headlines and cutlines (captions).

Everything has to be a rectangle. Each story makes a box, and if it includes a photo, that box must include a photo. A surprising amount of thought, pencil-work and math goes into figuring out how big the headlines will be and how to structure the page.

But I’m an online media gal.

I do think it is important to see how print layout works, at least at a basic level. But what works in print does not necessarily work online, and I notice a lack in my classes of discussing how to lay out individual elements on a Web site.

Sure, we kind of know, from being online all the time. When I designed my blog, I thought,
“OK, well, there should be two or more columns, the main column should contain the blog posts, the others should have navigation and extra info.”

But why? Well, cause that’s what blogs look like.

I want a class that gives me a better answer than that. I’m admittedly not a graphic artist. That’s just not where my strengths lie. But I’d like to answer that “Why?” question with something other than “Because.”

I’ve seen too many news Web sites that were clearly designed without any understanding of how to place elements on a Web site. I get the feeling that these are being produced by people whose lives aren’t online; they’re in print. And to overcome that, the Webbie needs to explain how and why the print structure doesn’t work for the Web.

  • Ah, but there’s so much more to it once you go a little further down the rabbit hole.

    Typography. Line-height. The divine proportion.

    Many of the principles are the same in print design and web design, when it comes to layout and content.

    And what’s all this about pencil and paper? We started with InDesign and spent time talking about print layout conventions and when to break them, why to tease what where, and what a six-column photo can do.

  • Ah, but there’s so much more to it once you go a little further down the rabbit hole.

    Typography. Line-height. The divine proportion.

    Many of the principles are the same in print design and web design, when it comes to layout and content.

    And what’s all this about pencil and paper? We started with InDesign and spent time talking about print layout conventions and when to break them, why to tease what where, and what a six-column photo can do.

  • I know there is more. I tend not to expect school to teach me any more than basics, which I usually improve upon on my own time.
    And I’m sure they use InDesign in the actual layout and design class. This is just the brief taste we were offered in Editing.

  • I know there is more. I tend not to expect school to teach me any more than basics, which I usually improve upon on my own time.
    And I’m sure they use InDesign in the actual layout and design class. This is just the brief taste we were offered in Editing.

  • I know there is more. I tend not to expect school to teach me any more than basics, which I usually improve upon on my own time.
    And I’m sure they use InDesign in the actual layout and design class. This is just the brief taste we were offered in Editing.

  • I’m doing a Desktop Publishing class this semester – so its very Indesign-orientated, and obviously just covering print stuff.

    Still, I’m finding it helpful. That may because I’m often clueless when trying to determine what looks good and what doesn’t, so it’s good to mess around and work it out for myself. One of my lecturers said prior to this semester that the Desktop Publishing content would “translate well into a web environment”. I didn’t believe her at first, but as Ryan said the principles seem to be the same.

    Doesn’t mean I’ve got any clue when it comes to designing layouts yet though :)

  • I’m doing a Desktop Publishing class this semester – so its very Indesign-orientated, and obviously just covering print stuff.

    Still, I’m finding it helpful. That may because I’m often clueless when trying to determine what looks good and what doesn’t, so it’s good to mess around and work it out for myself. One of my lecturers said prior to this semester that the Desktop Publishing content would “translate well into a web environment”. I didn’t believe her at first, but as Ryan said the principles seem to be the same.

    Doesn’t mean I’ve got any clue when it comes to designing layouts yet though :)

  • I found a few resources for web design/grid system, etc. Check my del.icio.us (that’s so awkward to type) for the links.

  • I found a few resources for web design/grid system, etc. Check my del.icio.us (that’s so awkward to type) for the links.

  • I found a few resources for web design/grid system, etc. Check my del.icio.us (that’s so awkward to type) for the links.

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