How do you design good pages if you don't have any photos?

When is it OK to run screens behind a story? Or is a white background always best?

Is there software that can make charts and graphs?

What are the
best grids for newspapers to use?

Should you use rules to separate stories?

Is it OK to use grip-and-grin photos in the paper?

What’s wrong with using pretty stand-alone photos as lead art on Page One?

What’s the best way to make a map?

Is it true what our photo editor says — that running type on photos and cutting photos out damages their integrity?

Is it wrong to use decorative fonts to create feature headlines?

Should front-page promos run down the left edge of the page, or along the bottom?

Is it possible to design good pages without big, dominant photos?

It changes over time. Most broadsheet newspapers typically run four, five or six stories on Page One; a half a century ago, they ran dozens (see example below). Newsy tabloids may run three or four cover stories; other tabs prefer single-topic covers, like magazines.

So that’s what papers typically do. But that doesn’t mean they should do it day after day after day. Consistency is one thing; a rigid, monotonous rut is something else.

Your Page One story count helps define your paper’s character. So ask yourself regularly (or, at least, whenever you do a redesign): What personality do we want to project? Newsy, with lots of traffic? Stylish and artsy, with dramatic photos and big type? The answer will depend upon your editorial style. Staffing. Budget. Newshole. Reader preference.

The best answer: Avoid falling into a rut where every issue looks the same. Page-design monotony will bore you and your readers. Consider mixing up the story count from issue to issue, page to page, letting the news — not newsroom habit — dictate the pace.

 

This classic broadsheet from the ‘50s features a whopping 30 stories on Page One.
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