CAUTION:
Artsy-Fartsy Design
Kills Readership and Sales!


Dear Business-Builder,

A few weeks ago, Wendy and I decided that, with my older kids and grandkids living in Atlanta and with our own kids quickly approaching college age, we only have a few years left to spend time together as a family on weekends.

So to make the most of this time, we bought a second home near Atlanta — down on Lake Lanier – a two-hour drive from our North Carolina digs and only 45 minutes from my grandkids homes in Atlanta.

It’s a newly remodeled 40-year-old home on two acres of exquisitely landscaped heaven with our own, private two-slip dock just steps away from the back door. 

And ever since we closed on our little lake retreat, The Redhead and I have been working almost around the clock to furnish it and to buy the boat and other water toys that would ensure my grandkids will nag their parents to go see Grandpa and Wendy every weekend.

I know – sneaky … right?  It worked like a charm! 

I’ve had more quality time with my older kids and grandkids in the last four weeks than I usually get in a year.  And we’ve been having a ball – diving off the dock, tear-assing around the 700-plus miles of shoreline on the boat, tubing, grilling burgers and weenies every evening; the whole shebang.

So what does any of this have to do with marketing or copywriting?  Not one darned thing.  But since we’re new to the lake and to the Atlanta area, I’ve spent some down-time reading up on the area.  That meant buying a bunch of magazines. 

Atlanta Life Magazine  Atlanta Life Magazine  Atlanta Life Magazine

And that meant being reminded – once again – that the graphics guys and gals who design those things are hands-down the WORST designers ever to take a paycheck under false pretenses.

So this week, we’re going to talk about graphic design.

The way I see it, the people who create the layout, select the typefaces and sizes, kern and lead the characters and lines, set the margins and colors only have three objectives: 

  1. To grab the reader’s attention,
  2. To convert that attention to readership, and
  3. To make reading so easy, the articles almost read themselves.

But as I settled down on the back deck to leaf through a copy of Atlanta magazine, here’s some of what greeted me.

Your assignment:  You tell me what’s wrong with the design on these pages and what the designers should do to improve readability.

I’ll check in each day this week to give you my two cents … to give you new pages to critique … and also give you examples of designers who’ve gotten it right.

By the end of the week, we should have gleaned scores of ways to ramp up the attention-getting power and readability of your next direct mail piece, Web page or print ad.

Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Clayton Makepeace Signature
Clayton Makepeace
Publisher & Editor
THE TOTAL PACKAGE

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29 Responses to CAUTION:
Artsy-Fartsy Design
Kills Readership and Sales!

  1. Hi Clayton,

    My pet design peeve is large blocks of reversed out type on a black background (or any color background for that matter). Yech! Makes text hard to read. All three samples suffer from this flaw.

    This is the one that jumped out at me right away. Once I get past the gag reflex at seeing so much reversed out type, I’m sure I’ll come up with more.

    Best,
    Marilena Paolucci
    Natural Health Copywriter

  2. Bob Spear says:

    First, all three are guilty of using white reverse printing on black background, which is very unreadable. Second, the use of different text colors, especially green, greatly weakens the text legibility. The use of the head with all the weird things exploding out of it is just plain gross and very negative. It takes the focus away from the text. The use of very narrow / thin headline fonts make whatever they say very weak. I could go on, but those are things that leaped off the page at me.

  3. John Scola says:

    Like the posters above me noticed… reverse type is hard to read… also the images have nothing to do with the story and just confuses me what the purpose of the article is about… it makes me more likely to give up quickly on the article and just flip the page…

  4. C. says:

    Quick 7..

    1. The pictures don’t tell a story.

    2. The pictures don’t make me want to read the article.

    3. The pictures don’t evoke an emotion.

    4. The pictures don’t divert my attention to the copy.

    5. The pictures don’t have a caption.

    6. The highlighted copy, doesn’t attract my eye or entice
    me to read it.

    7. The highlighted copy doesn’t lead me back into the story or the copy itself.

    Christopher

  5. Ed Stutzman says:

    The first page with all the text gives me a headache and would have to be really interesting copy to keep me tuned it. A photo or a highlight and use of sub-headings are need to break it up. The page doesn’t seem to recognize that there are readers, skimmers, and scanners. Got to keep all happy or no go.

    The second page graphic didn’t bother me. It’s about mental health so it seems a good choice. The title buried in black along with a different topic article on the bottom in black made me think the two were related when they are not. Confusing.

    The last page may of had a chance if it were a white background. The text blocks look well laid out and appointed. However, the “Choice” right/left arrow, to me, is corny at best. I never understood why these types of images are supposed to intrigue me. I want the writer’s content not some image that I’m supposed to understand on “some level”.

  6. Sean says:

    Nothing for a “scanner” to look at when deciding whether or not to read the article.

    No interesting, intriguing or useful sidebars and subheads to slow me down as I flip through the magazine.

  7. Ryan Ireland says:

    I’m not picking out design flaws but would like a response if anyone has the time–

    When was the last time someone REALLY tested black background/white text? I know the common knowledge says it makes things harder to read and decreases response….but does it STILL?

    When I read online I highlight what I’m reading and it makes it easier for me, even though it achieves the same nagative presentation of the text that is such a “no no”….then, when I look over my programmer’s shoulder (which he loves, of course) I see he’s got his background black and his code-type in multicolor.

    Does anyone have thoughts, or better yet, anything tested in the past 3 years that can shed light here?

    Thanks,
    Ryan

  8. Joyce Ozier says:

    Hi Clayton,
    As everyone before me has already pointed out, the reversed lettering (white on black) is really hard on the eyes and makes me immediately tired.

    There is not enough interruption in the paragraphs. There should be sub-headlines to break up the space and much more use of white space to give the eye a rest.

    There is very little (almost none) use of accent colour to emphasize points.
    Thanks,
    Joyce

  9. Ryan Ireland says:

    ah what the heck–

    Pg 1:
    This is print, so good job with the serif font, but the font size and spacing seems to small for older readers. Also, I know they’re quoting, but they should really break it up by adding line breaks and sidebars with critical quotes from each side. The one part they emphasized with bolding/red coloring put me to sleep before I got halfway through, so I can’t even comment whether it ties in or summarizes the rest of the page.

    Pg 2:
    The headline looks like it was put there because someone said it had to be. You didn’t ask for a copy critique, so I won’t comment on the quality of the headlines. The paragraphs are way too long and need to be broken up. The one photo that was used doesn’t tie to the subject at all, nor does it call the reader to continue reading or pique their interest to read more if they are just skimming.

    Pg 3:
    The image does a slightly better job here, but nowhere near good enough to force the headline down. From a copy perspective, I’d make the subhead the headline and the headline would either get tossed or become the subhead. Lastly, how many colors of font are they using? I lost count…

  10. Well, if they can’t read it, you can’t sell it.

    Reversed type sucks. Seriously.

  11. How is this design artsy-fartsy?

    The designer who did this probably gets paid $8/hour so he doesn’t give a damn if he/she makes you want to read it.

    Designers have deadlines and most often don’t get big budgets to hire photographers, license better fonts or have the liberty to step outside the box to create anything interesting.

    Btw, It’s hard to believe these pages are from Atlanta Magazine after visiting their website.

    Obviously there’s many things wrong with these layouts.

    - Font sizes, font choices, font alignment, font leading, using reverse type, images, etc.

    But these layouts you’ve selected as examples are just bad examples in general.

    And I ask anyone who puts down graphic designers in general to step up to the plate and try and create something that:

    1. Grabs reader’s attentions,
    2. Converts that attention to readership, and
    3. To make reading so easy, the articles almost read themselves.

    … All by the shear use of grids, fonts, photos and graphics.

    Ha!

    It’s easy to be a critic.

    And I understand where you’re going with this… I just wanted to play devils advocate for a second.

  12. David G. says:

    First Page: reminds me of reading a term paper or script for a play – except they don’t usually put a fuzzy background with colors similar to the text on the page to make it even harder to read! The use of small fonts with nothing to break up the acres of text provides an eyeball-glazing experience to even a serious reader – forget about a “scanner”! And what does the Will Rogers quote buried on the bottom the page have to do with anything? It’s a “flyover” to the next page that adds little to the story.

    Second Page: OK, I’ll forgive the strange picture of the brain coming apart, but what the heck is a single column newspaper headline doing there? “Mental Healthcare Poor in Georgia” – Sounds like a Western Union telegram message where you’re trying to keep costs down by minimizing the number of characters used – I was waiting for the STOP at the end. Is this a magazine or the WSJ? Dittos on the comments by the others regarding the two unrelated articles together on the same page – I couldn’t tell if the bottom section in reverse text was some sort of extended quote expanding the top article (a la the earlier Will Rogers quote) or an unrelated second article. The switch from single column to two columns helps break up the article and make it slightly more readable, but the heading is BOR-ING with the blue-on-blue (and non-BOLD) text for what should be a controversial topic.

    Third page: A decent image to capture the scanner, but once you get past the colored text with Politician “A” and Politician “B”, the tiny text in Arial font loses the reader quickly (especially with the white on black lettering). And the change to tiny serif font in the conclusion does nothing to incite the reader to continue reading. I’d put in a cartoon image of two folks getting steamed and arguing to grab the attention of the page flipper to the contrasting opinions.

    It reminds me of the folks in the marketing department at my previous employer: they insisted that all white papers and AppNotes be written in 9 pt. Arial font with 10 pt. Arial headings. Who cared that a 50-year-old reader had a hard time deciphering the text without reading glasses?
    “ARS GRATIA ARTIS” still seems to be the mantra – never mind the effectiveness of the written word that they have “visually enhanced”!

  13. @Ryan: The difference between screen and paper, and between production and consumption.

    Black background causes less eye strain over long periods.
    The multi color coding allows a programmer to pick up context far quicker.

    Method name vs value vs instruction vs class, etc.

    You probably would also notice that the fonts he used are far larger and blockier than usual, that helps overcome the reverse readability effect.

  14. Readability! PlEEEEASE!

    1st article:
    What’s the purpose of the funny headline font? Can’t decipher it. And the dark red text on the RIGHT, fully inserted in the text, could it be that this ist the introduction?? Ouch! Sort of an interruption. And the quote at the bottom reminds me of a dead-serious subject, a funeral.

    2nd article:
    The only two elements that draw my attention are the image (not so bad in iself) and the headline at the bottom. Both draw me AWAY from the copy.

    3rd article:
    Okay for the picture illustrating the author’s thought in the headline. However, the colour scheme is an offense to my eyes (They refused to read the article).

    PS: I am a rabid reader but this time, I did not “read” one of these articles.

    If they were able to SELL these magazines the rest must have been far better to compensate these articles.

  15. Hugh Thyer says:

    Not only is white on black (reverse block) difficult to read, its also more expensive to print!

  16. 'Nemo' Nieman says:

    AAAAARGH

    several one line thoughts

    “if you want it red (read) do it black on white”

    reverse type loses about 80% of its comprehension

    Script heads lose readers

    Low chroma headlines do not get read

    Headline describes location on page, put it there.

    Block text is 60% better read in serif or semi serif (Optima)

    Screen is different to paper page but Verdana works on both

    For the sake of all readers, every graphic designer should have a copy of Wheildon’s book “Type and Layout” attached to their forehead. Its not an “In my opinion” book, as are many designer texts. Rather it is the outcome of an extensive, extensively surveyed, PhD study of comprehension of printed pieces.

  17. Cherryl Wistos says:

    Hi Clayton…

    Here’s my two-bits worth about the layouts…

    Page 1…

    No sub-headings… to break the copy up and make it easier for the reader to read… too much print on one page with no breaks.

    There’s no font size variation. Nothing to grab the reader’s attention and guide it through the copy.

    Poor font choice… the “Point Counterpoint” font is hard to read…

    And the other thing… why is “Point Counterpoint” even there? What’s its purpose?

    Black background at the bottom of the page draws the eye immediately to the bottom of the page and there’s nothing to pull the readers eye back up into the copy.

    The page looks like it might be an interview going on between two people… but if this glob of red print is supposed to be significant… put it in a Johnson box or a sidebar off to the side of the page. There’s no reason to have it just staring at the reader.

    Maybe a single column layout might have made the article easier to read also.

    Page 2…

    Wwaayyy too confusing. Too many things fighting to attract the reader’s attention.

    First… there’s the black at the top with ‘NEWS BRIEF’ in a namby-pamby font and the caption under it in a white lettering italized font that’s unreadable to the reader.

    Then there’s headline… again in a namby-pamby font, light lettering on black background just stuck there. Not inviting or enticing to the reader. The Headline itself doesn’t really capture the reader’s attention. “Mental Healthcare Poor in Georgia” (So what?)

    There’s this glaring photo… that says who knows what about the article… staring at the reader.
    And finally the black at the bottom with its light background block and flimsy headline font… all fighting for the reader to look at first. With all of this the reader will NEVER even read the article.
    The layout should guide the reader’s eye to move from left to right across then down the page… going from dark to light… and from big to small.

    Page 3…

    First… the black background with white lettering is not a preferred choice for the reader.

    Then… the graphic and the Headline are fighting for attention.

    Like I said regarding page 2… the layout should guide the reader’s eye to move from left to right across then down the page… going from dark to light… and from big to small.

    The font colors are poor choices… for readability. They are too hard for the reader to read.

    There’s some good font size variation.

    There is no consistent flow of font typeface selection… the headline is a san serif font… the lead under it is in a serif font… then it goes back to a san serif font for the lead… and back to serif font for the comparison bulleted list… then back to san serif for the body.

    The bulleted list comparison is good to lead the reader into the article.

    There is some reasonable “white space” for the reader.

    The drop-cap at the beginning of the body text is a good way to catch the reader’s attention and lead him into the article.

    That was fun! Thanks!

  18. Had to comment on the third graphic! Seeing a picture that says “Choice – exit now” I am perfectly amenable to the instruction.More than happy to turn the page to look for a more positive instruction that says “You have got to read this!” Honestly I am not even slightly curious as to what Politician A or B has to say without immediately knowing who they are and what topic they are discussing.

  19. Dear Clayton:

    Way cool — never expected to see this…

    Now if we just switch from black background to white – just reverse the design, add some subheads for skimmers and add 2 images that make sense and mesh with this design IT MIGHT, and I say might fly…

    Really in a “pig’s eye” that is!

    Somebody that paid for it thought it was way cool…how much you wanna bet this is NOT what the graphic designer gave them originally, but a butchered idea of what some hot shot (the person paying the bill) thought he/she knew what great design “looked like”…and then TOLD the graphic designer they wanted it TO BE JUST LIKE THIS.

    Now, I could be wrong but I don’t think so…

    I am a graphic designer and sales copywriter…just know I get clients every day that say — just copy this sales letter design…well I turn down those jobs.

    Hey if it ain’t unique and readable it ain’t worth the paper or web space it is on!

    Loved the posts, and wonder how many of those people that posted make their living in graphic design and/or are sales copywriters — it would have been interesting to know…

    Clayton, your 2 cents is worth reading again!

    Jennie Heckel
    Wisconsin Copy Cub
    SaleCopySecrets

  20. Shanika Journey says:

    Yay!

    I’ve been focusing on this issue for the last two weeks because my sites that I’ve been trying to setup are all pretty, but miss the mark on making sure everything read. I want what it written to be READ!

    The Political Polarization article:
    The black background and white and different color type makes the entire article hard to read. I had to squint to even realize there are bullets. The subheads are in different colors making it harder to see what they say. White background and black text are the best for readability.

    The Point Centerpoint article:
    They tried to make the main heading very pretty. The major problem is that I can barely make out what it says. The subheads are the same font size as the body itself, except its in all caps. It’s not separating itself from the body at all to be the intro into the next section of the article. With the subhead side-by-side with the body text, I can’t tell what they mean. The different color subheads is unnecessary, just for decoration. The words squished together with no contrast also creates eye fatigue.

    The News Brief article:
    I believe the picture of the head on this page is unnecessary since there are two completely different articles on the same page. The head picture isn’t doing well to help with the government article below. If they chose a picture to compliment both? Or maybe have these articles on their own pages. When I first glanced the page, I looked at both headlines first. This caused a bit of confusion for me. “Mental Healthcare in Georgia…The Struggle for Open Government”

    I saw them together more than apart, regardless of the contrast in the design. Maybe if they had the headings “Health, Politics” before they the headings to give each article it’s section so the reader can identify at first glance that these are two separate topics?

    That’s my opinion anyway. Can’t wait to read the design and writing articles this week. This is actually right on time. Much heart.

  21. Barnaby Jones says:

    Hi Clayton,

    On one of the magazine pages, the first thing that throws me off is why are the subheadings in so many different colors. The article titles are in black boxes, it make them less noticeable. What’s the deal with all the black? On the magazine article title listed at the corner of the page you have to strain to read what it says.

    I saw an ad in a local magazine like this the other day for a local stone counter top company they used three different fonts the first one was in purple small jagged cursive type print on a black background, the font below that was was white (arial)on black. Some one paid money and a lot of it to create an ad the people would have to struggle to read. I couldn’t believe it.

    I think that they could have used some pull quotes to bring the reader into the article. Some of the fonts are just to small. Some of the photos in my opinion don’t convey or lead you into the article as much as they could> I think they are too abstract and make people have to think to much to figure out what the purpose of the photo is trying to say.

    That’s it for now.

    Thanks BJ

  22. Page 10:

    I’m OK with the text and typefaces for the main body. Scripty” font in upper-left head is insane. Use a solid, sans-serif font that’s readable.

    Shoot the moron using inverse-video light-on-dark type at the bottom. Don’t these clowns understand that dark ALWAYS bleeds onto light, making skinny fonts even skinnier? Use a heavy, bold font if you insist or use a light background with dark font instead (much better option).

    This is a huge problem on websites — especially when other high-pay “designers” put medium or dark red on dark brown. Who do they think can read that stuff, even on a *good* high-resolution display?

    Page 5:

    The “exploding head” might seem to make sense. People with schizophrenia do have screwy thinking if untreated (I know — one of my nine kids has had it for 15 years or more, but doing well on effective medications). There’s a serious problem finding competent psychiatrists to correctly treat it.

    Nutrition is also a contributor and isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Obviously this is a left-oriented article and whiners have complained of politics on this blog, so I’ll let them join the whiners about my articles on newsblarg.com. :-)

    But the light type on black has to go. Obviously low-paid,
    low-trained designers who might think they know about art, but don’t have a clue about ***COMMUNICATING*** which is what print is supposed to be about, isn’t it?

    Page 55:

    Aside from the moronic hint that if the moderates are gone, that’s the problem. I’ve never seen a “moderate” make things better, and I’m no moderate. My wife asked me once,
    “Why do you always *have* to be right *all the time*? She didn’t clobber me with a frying pan when I answered, “I don’t have to be … I just am.”

    But when 2+2=4, and I insist on not budging from that issue, don’t whine because I won’t compromise on 5 when you think it should be 6. Sheesh!

    Again, who’s the “designer with the light type on dark backgound fetish? I can work if the typeface is heavier, but I don’t buy the notion that black type on white paper is hard on eyes unless you’re reading it outdoors in open sunlight.

    They could do with better writers, but given what print media pay, you can’t expect real talent there…

    Alas.

    I had a field day with a prospect last week. Their website was built by a Madison-Avenue-style “marketing” company. They have another web-design company working on a new site but they’re starting with focus groups and studies to figure out how to best design it. I suggested using me as
    a second opinion, and sent him a list of things to look at
    and consider, including the risks of bad data from focus groups and surveys.

    We’ll see where that leads.

    For finding business clients, sometimes going out and chatting with owners can yield more than mass mailings to gain clients.

    But save your money if you’re thinking mass media… unless you have an unusually active or large market.

    Clarke

  23. Gordon says:

    These pages look like stuff from the typical high-class SLICK magazine. Not to be read, but to be viewed as a work of design — like a coffee table object that blends in with the environment. The type might as well be lorem ipsum. It would serve the same purpose.

  24. Dave says:

    Picking on this magazine layout in particular is somewhat unfair.

    In my opinion, anyone who is not a graphic designer can not make a qualified comment regarding whether or not there are any mistakes as such on these layouts.

    At least no more so than a designer who is not a copy writer can competently comment on how good anyone’s copy writing is.

    I am not even sure why this is being laid out as an example of what not to do, largely because it is not even advertising copy. It is the presentation of news.

    Being a graphic designer personally, and having had to work for a national newsmagazine for over 10 years, I understand somewhat how difficult it can be to come up with new layouts and designs for 30 to 60 pages of not-so-exciting news every week.

    The publishers, designers, production crew and editors probably had very little time to put the mag together, are mostly concerned about getting it into print, and most of what time is spent is done so waiting for the writer’s to get their stuff in by deadline, and the editors to clean it up (which it most certainly will require).

    The layout guys probably don’t give a rat’s ass about the look of the body copy other than how it can be flowed into the layout in a timely manner while maintaining their schedule. Most of the decisions made are done so with the goal to make the text fit within the allotted space, overall. It’s not to say that they don’t care about the presentation. There will be consideration where it is due as to what should stand out and what doesn’t.

    From a graphic design standpoint, reversed out text on a darker background is in fact one of the most attention getting methods of presenting headlines – particularly good for signage and banners. I would not necessarily have used the black background for an entire article personally. Maybe for the headline, a sidebar or two, or a quote box.

    I would not have used the darker green colors on a black background either. The scripty font choice is a bit odd for that Point/Counterpoint thing, but those are the only “mistakes” I can see, when taking into consideration the type of magazine, deadlines, etc.

    Also something that has to be considered is the fact that anyone looking at these layouts is already interested in the content. Not quite as much selling required. they already have the reader’s attention for the most part.

    Graphic design is, in fact, an important element in any overall product, layout, web design or anything else being presented to the public. Good design can make the difference between a product that looks like it was created in someone’s basement or something that simply makes you have to have it.

    This website reflects that – because I am betting a designer set up the look of it.

    One last thing…those sample layouts are much more visually appealing then the following:

    http://www.makepeacetotalpackage.com/online-store/makepeace-business-system/

    There’s a pet peeve of mine…a ten foot long sales letter I will never read the entire content of. That is just me, though. It’s probably why video skinning is kicking the crap out of sales letters.

    On a lighter note, that is really cool about your grandkids and the lakehouse, Clayton. Sounds like a lot of good memories waiting to happen.

  25. thomas says:

    Total lack of naked or scantily clad women lost my interest a long time ago. Come to think about it -no “copyrighting cleavage” here either. Gotta go!

  26. Jack Settles says:

    I see nothing particular wrong. Although I agree (sort of)
    with all of the above I find the content interesting enough
    that it would not have needed the type of layout it got. The
    type and layout is tiresome and will lose some readers as soon
    as they see what it’s about but those interested in the
    subject will read it all anyway. I guess the artist is trying
    for eye catching appeal to attract readers. A good headline
    and lead would do more for it than the “Artsy-Fartsy” approach.

  27. I am an award-winning art director & designer-turned-writer. To start, the white-on-black text should be enough to put anyone on page layout probation for two years! The imagery, what there is of it, is cold, dry and has that clip-art look that repels us all!

    Several of your writer’s critique suggests the use of color type is distracting. Not true! This is simply an amateurish effort. Color type is compelling and engaging, esp. for “scanners” when done well.

    There is also a lack of a cohesive and consistent underlying grid. DEATHLY important for any publication!

    However, as I see it, here is the actual problem these pages suffer from; the publisher is unconcerned about the look of the magazine or worse, favor deadline-driven solutions over good content design. Allowing the deadline to dictate what a page looks like is common in the publication world. They have clearly hired young, undirected designers to layout page after page after page without understanding the basic problems we are all calling out. Picasso was famous for demonstrating a simple fact the design world often forgets: you have to KNOW the rules before you can BREAK them. These layouts are done by desktop publishers, NOT designers. In this age of the computer, the difference is someone who simply knows page layout software, not design principles. This is the slow-death of the written word, I promise you, unless we speak up.

    This rampant problem is hammering our industry simply because everything we write has an implied need for layout. If everything I wrote ended up like this, I would run fleeing for a new career! I would be ashamed to have this kind of work in my portfolio. Until magazines like this adopt basic standards of design and layout, we will continue to see this kind of butchering of the printed page. I firmly believe a large part of the reason why Americans do less reading is because the things we read tend to look like this atrocity.

    Writers, we have a say so in this; no web site, publication, brochure or direct response piece should EVER look like this. EVER! The grand part is; even though you aren’t a designer, you have an informed understanding. Like my grandmother would say “..I don’t know much about this design stuff, but I know what I like when I see it.”

    We are NOT exempt, we are as responsible for the look of the page as the desktop publisher. Get past the “that’s not my job” mentality. If you want a decent response rate behind what you write, then yes, it is.

    -Arthur

  28. Dave says:

    Arthur said it best.

    If I may further add…

    There are an abundance of magazines that are laid out with the intention of getting the product out quickly. Most of the desktop publishing software out there will allow standard page templating, but that doesn’t stop unconcerned desktop publishers from breaking the rules of their own setup when they feel like it, or think they need to.

    I would argue that deadline can make a difference in addition to inexperience, etc. Much easier to do a better design when you have more time to work it out, but that is not an excuse for bad design.

    As Arthur mentioned, you shouldn’t be breaking the rules until you know them.

    All the comments on this layout aside, there are a fair number of well put together magazines out there as well that do their creators full credit.

    I am interested to see what Clayton considers a good layout. Especially after Arthur’s post. :)

  29. Hi Clayton

    Just thought I’d pass by and let you know a link to your blog post just popped up on a UK business forum.

    You’re getting about!

    The new home sounds fab, glad you’re all having a fun ‘wet’ summer.

    Leah

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