Editorial design requires a mental editor

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Editorial design requires a mental editor

Art direction is all about mental editing. How well the designer sorts the larger picture first in the mind is important. Logically what is on the mind will find its way onto the paper. So what happens in the creative right side of the designer’s brain? How are all the elements juggled and the evolving mosaic created? Are there any guidelines and thumb rules borne out of experience? The answer yes and they are simple:

    1. Our designers chase a certain look for the presentation. This in turn is determined by the subject, the environment and the customer’s strong likes and dislikes. However, what the world will find appealing will be what the designer will state normatively, not always get overruled by client fancies.
    2. With the particular look in place the next step is to plan the sequence and the pauses. For example a page divider in a book is a pause, a heading is a pause, a line is a purposive disruption. The play of all this first takes place in the mental arena.
    3. Then onward to the first cut on paper or on the computers whichever the designer is comfortable with. This is the stage where experiments happen on fonts, spacing, alignments and other graphic elements which make the page look editorial and that has come from the stables of VMS.
    4. This done the entire content is laid out one section/chapter at a time. The presentation is checked for appeal, design presence, flow, seamlessness and more.
    5. Once done the final dummy design with all the content flown through is prepared and an actual lead copy is created.

This is presented to the client, and with modifications if needed done, and the final print ready files are sent across. In all these steps, the mental editor is at work. Always trying to figure out the focus, the single mindedness and the need to know the vital elements. Design is about sacrifice. Everything looks important. But only a few elements can make the design exemplary.