Make it work; why newspaper artists make the best designers

“Just set your resolution high on your monitor, scale it up, take a screenshot and slap it in there,” I said to the panicked marketing artist who was stressing over the jpg of a 1X3 benevolent ad she was given without the high-res artwork or fonts. The client was not returning her phone calls and her submission deadline was twenty minutes out.

“Trust me.”


10 Replies to “Make it work; why newspaper artists make the best designers”

  1. My working life started in newspapers and I agree wholeheartedly. The years spent working in newsprint have left me with a skill set I rely on every day.

  2. The best artists are those who can create from nothing. The best people tend to be those who rose from nothing. They appreciate the small things as gifts and the greater things as the luxuries they know them to be.

  3. I really like the thought you have here, RoofRoof. The concept of depending on your core skills more than on the media, the technology, or anything else you might have at your disposal is excellent food for thought. When left to our own devices, do we problem solve or do we bail? Unfortunately, I would say in this era of ridiculous technology that makes everything seem so easy, we probably bail. You’re sending out a good reminder of what can be achieved if you hang in there and make it work.

    Good stuff!

  4. Someone mentioned this in a response to a Before & After question and being a ten year veteran of the newspaper design industry I had to give it a read… and I’ll probably note it on every job application I ever submit from now on. I too have had those make it work moments – never had to use a screen shot but that’s a good tip I’ll hold onto in case of emergency.

    It can be very disheartening to be a designer at a newspaper – I don’t even call myself a designer, I’m an ad builder – I don’t get paid a designer’s salary, I don’t get a client list, I grab the next ad in the queue and keep building till the end of the day. Some days you get to spend a few hours on a single ad and make it look like you care about what you’re doing, and some days you just need to get the work done and still make it look like you care what you’re doing. I don’t mind the fast pace or the limited resources but it would be nice if our work was valued, then maybe we would feel valued.

    Thanks for pointing out that we actually do know what we’re doing.

  5. That would have been my editor Gerard McLean. He is an insufferable, opinionated windbag, but he signs the check around here, so what are you gonna do? Until we dogs grow thumbs, that is 🙂

    Most days are like that at a newspaper in the advertising department, I’ll give you that, but every newspaper has a marketing department where they have some community outreach and a certain amount of benevolent space. Maybe even the NIE department. It might drive your director a bit crazy and make him/her nervous, but perhaps you can seek out these projects and volunteer to work on them? It would give you a creative outlet at any rate. Newspapers have become an interesting game and especially in advertising, it is all about placement frequency rather than creative. That is really a shame as I think sometimes the most creative stuff happens when you don’t have the luxury of unlimited resources.

    What about editorial page design? Not sure if you saw this in print from the New York Times, but the printed page was a hoot! That had to be fun for a page designer to work on.

    There are still newspapers that value creative, especially those who are breaking into iPad formats and such. There will always be room for designers. Get out and talk to other artists, page designers and NIE folks at newspapers. Steer clear from the whiners and grumblers.. they just bring the world down…

Comments are closed.