A visual journalist's survival guide: Type as art

This page by Kristin Lenz treats type as art in the most literal sense, with the letter forms functioning much like an abstract painting.

"We got more space than we expected, so can you make us a cover for the calendar spread this afternoon? I'm sure you'll think of something." Using the sya-what-it-is strategy, Chris Mihal added various fake perspectives to the letters for complexity.

The above page by Puls Biznesu uses a type grid that counts down from 100 as a background.

Brandon Ferrill's Medicare cover also uses type as a background, while adding an iconic stock art element to help sell the content.

Here Christian Font uses an extended quote as the background headline and billboard-style refer to the story.

The page on the left introduces a fingerprint as a graphic element, where the page on the right, by Severiano Galván, uses information to draw the fingerprint.

Negative space within the story creates Oscar art for Flavio Forner's page.

The page by the Plain Dealer has prices falling from the headline. In an interesting twist, Ellis Latham-Brown's page from the Indiana Daily student has the story copy falling into a pile.

Letters are nibbled off in crumble at the bottom of Jussi Tuulensuu's page.

Pete Gorski's page uses the headline to help illustrate a pro/con story on Roe vs. Wade. Sometimes small papers can be more willing to take risks.

And finally, Paul Wallen's page illustrating the big eastern US blackout uses plenty of "black space" to make its point.

As I was working on this, Denis Reagan posted pictures of type driven pages from SND's judging in Syracuse. Here's the link.

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Tags: advice, art direction, guide, newspaper design, newsroom culture, readership, survival, tips, visual journalism

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Comment by Bjarte Kvinge Tvedt on March 8, 2010 at 14:20
I once made a poster(schoolwork) for Romeo & Juliet. The whole play/story was in the poster. What Romeo and his family said was marked with green, and what Juliet said in red, as in blood/love with the red and acid/poison with the green. Typography is very cool to work with in this way. But it has to be applied well, so its not used like this, just to be used.
Comment by Tim Frank on February 16, 2010 at 8:21
Nice job! Hope your readers enjoyed it.
Comment by Daniel Barben on February 14, 2010 at 10:03
Dear Tim
Inspired by your survival guide we tried out to produce a Newspage without a (big) picture. It is about a Canadian winery (Olympic games!). We only got boring (vineyards look the same all over the world) pictures.
Instead to show a stock photo of a grape or something else, we decided to shape the text like a bottle. The result you can find on my npd-Page: http://npd.snd.org/photo/weinflasche-1?context=user

Now, we are waiting for reactions of our readers (normally, there are none…)
Comment by Tim Frank on February 7, 2010 at 15:57

Just came across this ad for Amnesty International by Publicis Mojo Auckland, New Zealand.

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