The day, unforgettable. The photo, iconic. The mood, somber. The front page, the best for the month of September 2011.
I'm talking about the gorgeous Observer-Dispatch front page commemorating that horrific day 10 years ago when terror struck U.S. soil.
Ron Johns, managing editor of the O-D and the designer of this stellar page, had this to say about the concept and collaboration:
The editor, managing editor and photo editor met to talk about art for the upcoming section. This led into talks about covers for our special section and 1A. The editor wanted a clean design and we all agreed that simple and quiet was best.
To capture the memories and feeling from that day, we picked the burning towers from a vantage well above the chaos on the street below. That brought us the "quiet" that we needed.
Getting around the horizontal format of the photo meant extending the overall image with background color to hold the design together. The editor wanted three, and only three, refers to ensure simplicity. The rest was just basic construction.
What made it work was clear direction from the start. There were so many ways we could have approached this cover, but envisioning the reaction we wanted from readers led us to the end result much faster.
I'd like to emphasize the simplicity Ron speaks of here. If you're trying to design an elegant full page, section or even a centerpiece package, follow Ron's lead here and keep the design simple and uderstated for a compellling effect.
Fantastic page, Ron!
• Observer-Dispatch named front page of the weekend (Sept. 10-12)
• A closer look at front and special pages and sections produced by GateHouse papers
Joe Greco is corporate design director for GateHouse Media.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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