Graphic resources for regular editions

Created by: Pablo Cosgaya, Natalia Pano

Artículo en proceso de traducción

Graphic resources (newspapers, magazines, fascicles) are partial records of our culture with a certain degree of temporal and spatial relativity. These publications reproduce renewable information and content: they are updated in a specified period of time (daily, weekly, bimonthly, monthly, etc.).

Thus, regular publications must have an initial layout when the time for launching it comes. This layout will be a pattern, a base structure in which the graphic constants that will characterize the publication will be defined.

These graphic constants are: typographic palette, text color, type size, leading, capitulars, miscellanies, frames, margins. When these graphics, typographic and, eventually, photographic elements, are brought together and combined in a certain way so as to meet specific functions, they help define a distinctive code.

An initial layout is designed at the beginning of the project, and all decisions are taken based on it. In most cases, layouts experience changes throughout time: the application of the elements constantly redefines it.

Journalistic sections (world, country, general information, society, sports, etc.) are spatially organized in the publication based on a structure, which is usually another publication constant. Articles that do not belong to a specific section must have a relation with the rest, but setting themselves apart from it at the same time. As it may be seen, a subtle game of constants and variables is put to test in each case.

Regular publications have a constant structure that allows the reader to follow his own reading itinerary. Certain graphic elements allow the reader different quick entries to the page: the title, the pictures, the epigraphs. Also the banner, the section headline, the highlights in the body of the article. They are elements that catch the reader’s eye before the text itself and which suggest different navigations depending on the user’s interests.

Navigation resources make reading smoother and contribute to establishing the hierarchy of the content. This meets the needs specific to regular publications, which, given their dimensions, topic diversity and number of pages require a type of organization suggesting different paths for reading, depending on the interests of each reader. Thus, a reader will only search for general ideas, and other may stop and go deep into the news.

Texts edition (graphics resources)

Titling resources are: the opening strip, the banner, the title or headline, and the sub header, lead or summary. Apart from how each reader navigates the piece, the combination banner/title/sub header is articulated as an informative unit. That is, all three together state, place and develop the essential article data. For this, every element in this unit must be seen as an essential complement to the other two: they must not repeat information. At the same time, titling criteria must be coherent throughout the whole publication: they constitute a style.

Heading (1)

Element which unifies a topic when its development demands more than one page. Brief statement that anticipates the kind of event specified in the other events of the titling.

Title (2)

It must clearly state the event, even in the case of topics that are subject to monitoring over certain periods of time. Its originality and clarity establish its quality.

Banner (3)

It places, anticipates and/or contextualizes the information in the title. It is a thematic definition which in many cases adds information. It may be read right after the title, but it is not mandatory to have it. Its main attributions are: accuracy and clarity. Several newspapers give priority to essential information, use short sentences, and avoid subordinations and allusions.

Sub header (4)

It develops the essential information and, thus, it has a relation of reading continuity with the title, regardless of how the reader navigates the piece. In several newspapers it consists of short statements, not necessarily related with each other. These statements allow for syntactic continuity even though phrases are separated by a period. The function of the sub header is to support and feed the title. To contextualize, to arrange the information, to break it down into specific data. In some cases it becomes a summary of what is offered to the reader in the text of the main article. We must avoid sub headers that refer to secondary elements or that draw attention away and affect reading direction.

Other elements for quick reading

Apart from the resources we have already explained, there are other types of elements that help process the information of a regular publication. These are the epigraph, highlights, subordinated notes, tables and summaries.

Epigraph (5)

It may be one of the first things the reader sees in the page and its importance is the same as that of the titling elements. It must be clear and accurate. It refers to the picture and adds information; it must not repeat the information in the title, banner or subheading. It must not say what is obvious in the picture.

Instead, it provides the data necessary to clarify what is shown in the picture. These data include names, or information about the people in the picture, a description of the recorded events, or an explanation of anything that is not clear in the picture and any relevant information that may improve that provided by the image (date, place…).

Highlight

It is an element located in the middle of the article, and its main function is to make reading smooth and to highlight information nuclei. Keeping in mind that the reader may superficially scan the article and read only the highlights, their production requires attention and care.

Subordinated notes, tables and summaries

The content of these resources requires in many cases a subsequent elaboration from the basic text. The soundness of its information allows the publisher or editor to extract this text from the main article and adjust its dimension as needed. The presence of these resources and the coherence of their graphic aspect allow them to be used for balancing the design, for compensating empty spaces. Thus, the goal is that their height or width mach the elements they accompany: pictures, other tables, boxes, etc.

In spite of these elements, the editorial structure will be empty if it is not referenced to a specific code. Let’s keep in mind that it will be not only a graphic code: On one hand, the formal representation system requires specific and appealing strategies and answers, which grant identity to each publication. On the other hand, journalistic criteria, ideological approach and language used to get to the reader will also shape that identity.

s designers, we may act as a link between the parties at stake: we may suggest how to read the articles. We can design based on the pictures, the illustrations, or a mixture of both, by associating content in a specific context and reflecting it trough visual image. The department of design contributes to the balance of the editorial project. It is our task to focus on making information simple for the reader and making the structure of the publication he has in his hands as clear as possible. Once he is about to read it, we must help him go further into each article and catch his interest in its content by using clear presentations, with parts in a proper hierarchical order. Editorial design and the typography are indivisible from the information they present and organize. To think of design as a pure form, dissociated from content, is nonsensical.

Bibliography

  • ALMEIDA, Marta. “La eficacia editorial”, tpG43, Buenos Aires. Manuales de estilo de periódicos (La Nación, Clarín, El País).
  • MARTÍNEZ DE SOUSA, José. Diccionario de Edición, Tipografía y Artes Gráficas. Trea, Gijón, 2001.
  • DE BUEN UNNA, Jorge.  Manual de diseño editorial. 3.ª edición, corregida y aumentada. Trea Ediciones, España, 2009.

Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish

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