19 June 2010

[design] The Award for Awkward Layout Of The Year Goes To ... The Portland Tribune

... not for this front page of the 17 June edition, which is pretty much faultless. Heading up the flag page is another story on the Kyron Horman ongoing tragedy, examining an the issue from the effect it will have on Portland Public Schools policy:

Boy's case adds to PPS woes. The Kyron Horman case means something to just about every one of us, moreso to PPS who will have to deal with the aftermath in terms of security and policy.

I've always been a fan of PTrib layout. Like the approach in type, the colorful masthead; always though it was a winner.

But times are tough for print, and you've got to sell ad space any way you can, and one way to do it is to have a gate-flap, overlaying the front page on the right side - sort of the opposite of the spadea that The Big O had such a time with during the election season.

Layout, in my opinion, is about half art, half science. One has to look at where things are and where other things will wind up laying, because juxtaposition can cause amazingly awkward things. Let's fold over that ad flap on the right and find out just what can occur ...

Now, instead of adding to Portland Public School's woes, Boy's case adds to Boatloads of Fun.

Ahh ... huh.

Now, I'll add real quickly that they doubtlessly had no choice but to run the ad, and the buyer bought the front page for a reason. Layout problems may be easier solved by the armchair layout artist after the fact than in reality. I certainly don't think that PTrib was in any way shape or form trying to make any light of the issue or do anything more than just live up to the ad obligation.

Still, though, I wasn't at the layout of this issue, but I wish I was ... or at least been a fly on the wall when the layout artist was attacking this one. I did at one time apply to Community Newspapers for a layout job.

Never heard from them.

Pity, really.

Regardless of what anyone things of this or my opinion of it, you've got to admit, I think, that when you come up to a paper box like this:

... you're going to have an authentic Whiskey-tango-foxtrot moment.

And in complete fairness, knowing I tend to look more critically at layout than most everyone I know, I took it around to several friends and a few co-workers.

Each one of them saw what I saw. I didn't have to prompt them.

I wonder if I would have been able to make it come out any differently if I'd had a chance to do that layout. Would've loved the chance.

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Ruthie In The Sky said...

Everyone has to have something to write about. You sure picked a doozy.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

I should probably point out that I'm not trying to make light of either the Kyron tragedy or the PTrib's layout here but I do care deeply about layout and think about and look at layout pretty much all the time.

My posting should in no way be construed as a dig against the Tribune's layout artist(s), who ever he/she/they may be, but a critical look at the unintended consequences of unforseen juxtapositions. These are things that every layout artist thinks about.

The Portland Tribune is a good-quality publication that does its level best to serve its greater Portland constituency ... and it's to be hoped that the Kyron Horman case has a positive ending for all concerned. And that, my friends, is this blog's (and my) solid position on the matter.

Ruthie In The Sky said...

It's always a good idea to clarify.