News design is the process of arranging editorial material on a newspaper page, and the resulting arrangement. Overlapping terms include layout, makeup, and pagination. News design incorporates principles of graphic design and is taught as part of journalism training in schools and colleges.

For many years, most newspapers were densely packed with type, often arranged vertically, with multiple headlines for each article. But newspaper appearance evolved in the latter part of the 20th century.

"USA Today" was a leader in design changes, even though its 1982 launch and use of color, infographics and short features earned it the perjorative label, McPaper. But it was vindicated when many dailies started to mimic its use of graphics. These changes are partly intended to help readers "navigate", to scan and see priorities.

The changes included:

  • More white space, known as "air". An area with too little white space is called "tight", and too much white space is called "loose".
  • Modules, or squaring off of articles and packages of related materials. Modules avoid what is known as "doglegs" or inverted-"L" shapes that are harder to follow.
  • More art. "Art" in publishing means nontext elements, usually photos.
  • Fewer but larger headlines.
  • Fewer articles per page.
  • Extensive use of color.

Section fronts of most modern newspapers choose a large visual element, usually a photo, to dominate the page.

Designers may use page "dummies" to sketch out their designs. They usually use desktop publishing software to arrange the elements on the pages.

Designers choose photo sizes and headline sizes (both the size of the letters and how much space the headline will take). They may decide what articles will go on which pages, and where on the page, alone or in consultation with editors. They may choose typefaces for special pages, but newspapers usually have a design style that determines most routine uses.

Notable in the field include, Roger Black, Lucie Lacava, Mario Garcia, Tim Harrower, Jeff Mignon, Ally Palmer, Ron Reason, and Terry Watson.

More information[]

  • "The Newspaper Designer's Handbook", by Tim Harrower
External links
From the Poynter Institute