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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?

How many stories should run on a typical front page?

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?

 

Sure. That old every-page-must-have-a-dominant-photo rule resulted from years of chaotic pages swimming in smallish photos. Nobody likes messy page designs — especially photographers, who love to see their best photos anchoring big stories. (In fact, too often the downside of letting photographers design pages is that, as the photos get bigger, the story count dwindles, and the pace of the pages slows to a crawl.)

BUT if you’re careful and smart, you can avoid chaos and still design successful pages without big photos. You can group small photos into a central cluster. You can anchor the page with an infographics package like this —

 

— or you can run big headlines as dominant art (as in the terrific page below. . . and notice, by the way, how small all its images actually are).

Whatever you decide, that basic principle remains: Without something strong and graphically interesting to anchor it, a busy page quickly becomes chaotic.

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