Thursday, 2 April 2020

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Award-winning print media designers share tricks of the trade

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(Image: Russel Herneman)

Students were invited to the Google offices to learn from The Sunday Times team

Top newspaper designers revealed the secrets of getting your copy noticed at a one-day event for journalism students held in February this year. The knack of getting your story to the top of a page is as much about how it will look as what it’s about, students from all over the UK were told at the Society for News and Design [SND] event, held at Google’s London office.

In collaboration with The Sunday Times, the free event gave students the opportunity to experience a day as part of a news design team, working with award-winning designers including Russel Herneman, Martin Barry and Julian Osbaldstone.

Assistance and advice were provided throughout the day, so everyone would walk away with an understanding of the process followed by design teams within publishing. Herneman, design editor at The Sunday Times said: “This is a good introduction to professional practice. When you’re a student, it’s quite nice to get a bit of insight into something more realistic.” 

The day started with a briefing on the history of The Sunday Times and SND. Students took part in the ideas workshop soon after, during which everyone was split into groups of three and read through various news articles. Each group picked one article to brainstorm ideas for headlines and illustrations. 

The design workshop after lunch saw students selecting a concept from the morning’s idea session and mocking it up into a final design using Photoshop. Once the illustrations were created and headlines chosen, it was put together in the form of a newspaper page using InDesign. The day ended with a display of everyone’s work and constructive feedback from the panel. 

Speaking on what emerging journalists can gain from the event, Herneman said: “A journalist who has a good idea of how the design process works is ahead of the rest, because you’ll know how to get your story in prominent places.”

The event was organised to help students conjure ideas, create illustrations and execute designs. They were encouraged to explore typography, infographics, photography, drawing and montage, and to show creativity under pressure. The Sunday Times Assistant Designer Heather Elliot said: “The main purpose of this workshop is to get students thinking creatively about the content. So, coming up with concepts of how to visually communicate copy.”

Both designers emphasised the importance of knowing your audience. “Always bear in mind who you are designing and writing for as that will inform how you approach everything,” said Elliot. 

Herneman added: “Know your market. That influences style, illustrations, photography and sets the tone.”