Disclaimer: This is a response to the article “Letter to the Editor: One drop cap at a time” published on Dec. 4, 2018.
Design is important. Design is exciting. Design is complicated. We are grateful to be part of a publication that allows us to bring our creativity to print. While we appreciate the reader’s opinion, some of the observations made do not reflect the actuality of our newspaper.
In direct reference to the headline of the letter, “One drop cap at a time,” we acknowledge that when working with drop caps, there is a need to adjust the space between the drop cap and body text. We will ensure to address this issue going forward with our future publications.
There is a constant comparison with DIG Magazine, which we encourage you to read since they are our sister publication that also puts out great articles and designs, but it’s important to note that magazine and newspaper designs are vastly different.
Magazines have the freedom to utilize spatial creativity and artistry and staying within the margins is not a priority. This past summer, we made the ambitious decision to completely redesign the size and aesthetic of our newspaper. We changed our paper size to a tabloid for the first time in Daily 49er history. Although we looked at magazines for inspiration, newspapers must abide by the standards of journalistic newspaper design, as does The New York Times, which the writer referenced in their letter.
One golden rule that newspaper design editors know is to stay within the grid on InDesign. There is a sense of formality when producing a newspaper, therefore the creativity within design is carefully examined and executed.
We are not careless with our actions and there is no “splattering” going on in this newsroom. We follow the grid through InDesign accordingly, while including traditional layouts such as, U-shape, L-shape, bookend, horizontal and vertical designs. There is no reason to edit our marginal layout due to content, as newspaper design does not have the freedom to lift our body text or bleed our photos.
In response to the claim that we are inconsistent in our use of fonts, we use uniformed fonts throughout our paper, but we apply different weights. There is, in fact, a difference in fonts between the body text and the headlines, however, serif and sans serif can complement each other well. These differences were carefully thought out, not randomly chosen.
In reference to registration errors, there have been issues with the printing that we have no control over and don’t reflect our actual designs. When designing our pages through Adobe, everything is aligned correctly down to the pica, but printing errors often happen during the printing process through our outside printing company.
As a fellow designer, you should be aware of the design process — how it’s traditionally done and in the forefront, trying new and different things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Not everyone is going to agree with our designs. We have room to break industry standards and test out different designs to see what works and what doesn’t. And we’ve already been doing so, as proof of our eight national design awards within the last two years.
When we started publication at the beginning of this semester, we took a risk by redesigning and resizing our paper, changing the typography and the overall layout. We believe we’ve exceeded the expectations of our peers and mentors and continue to strive for publishing quality designs and content for our readers. While constructive criticism is welcomed, let’s think before we criticize the design structure of a 328-year-old institution.