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365 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers by Sarah Dougher, Steve Gordon Jr., Joshua Berger, Laurel Saville

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Job: 02762 Title: 365 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers (Rockport)
Page: 262
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Job: 02762 Title: 365 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers (Rockport)
Page: 262
Text
Chapter Eight:
DESIGNING PUBLICATIONS
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Job: 02762 Title: 365 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers (Rockport)
Page: 263
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Job: 02762 Title: 365 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers (Rockport)
Page: 263
Text
The fundamental difference between publication
design and other forms of graphic design is
the primacy of content. Sure, if you’re design-
ing a brochure you have to understand the
company you’re working for, or if you’re doing
an album cover you should listen to the music.
But most publications live, die, and are driven
by words—lots of words—and a publication
designer’s audience is first and foremost
a reader. So the designer must be as well.
Successful publication designers say familiar-
izing themselves with content is the most
important activity they do. Jeremy Leslie, former
creative director at John Brown Publishing in
London and current creative director of the
MagCulture blog, says, “The first thing is to read
the stuff you’re laying out. It sounds natural, but
there are people who don’t.” Designer, educa-
tor, and writer Steven Heller echoes this exhor-
tation. “There’s a whole generation that’s not
reading anymore, not just designers,” he says.
“But it’s really simple: If you get a manuscript,
you should read it. If you don’t read the whole
thing, you won’t know what’s going on, you
won’t get the nuances, and it will come back to
bite you. There are times when you read some-
thing and it’s boring, but even that is some-
thing you have to know if you’re a designer.”
And when reading, don’t just look for word
count or line length. “There are people who
just flow in the words,” says Leslie. “That’s not
design, that’s filling up space.” It’s important
to absorb, understand, and respect the work
of the author. As Ina Saltz, an educator and
designer, notes, “What differentiates editorial
designers from others is that they care deeply
about the content. Otherwise, they should
go work someplace else where images
drive things.”
READ THE CONTENT
According to Chris Vermaas the client for the
secondhand-car journal, AutoPrijswijzer, told
him, “‘Leave the fashionable typographic tricks
at home in your drawers.’ He didn’t want to win
design awards; he didn’t want to end up in the
museum—these were his own words—he wanted
to make a graphic tool that serves a need,
reaches an audience, and generates a lot
of money.” All of which this publication did.
JEREMY LESLIE
STEVEN HELLER
INA SALTZ
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