Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be my freakin sherpa

Tracy Collins, design editor at the Arizona Republic, provided a humorous presentation on what could have been a very dry topic. I have always loved newspaper design, but have not always enjoyed learning about the subject, nor did I have a sherpa to guide me through the tumultuous world of design.

Collins presentation addressed the 10 Commandments of Design, which included excellent information on how to adjust fonts and text by kerning, tracking and squeezing. He also addressed H&J- Hyphenation and Justification.

This information was the most helpful part of his presentation for me, because I had no idea what an impact those small changes could make on the overall design quality of a paper.

Anytime you can watch a movie that features Charlton Heston as Moses, it’s sure to be a good time.

The final part of the presentation was not quite as much fun, the critique. I feel like many of these sessions have been trial by fire, and this session was no exception. As Collins went through the 20 most common mistakes in design, I saw my student’s work flash across the screen over, over, over, over and over again.

Did I mention that my student’s work was a prominent point of conversation for what not to do?

It is never easy to have something that you take personal pride in criticized, but Collins had such effective design recommendations that the exercise was extremely helpful. Collins is a fabulous design sherpa.

Jessica Kahlfeldt

Turner High School

Kansas City, Kan.


  1. My production editor made a simple statement at our summer workshop last summer. She said that we could either follow design trends or make our own.

    Guess which path we took?

    Design is amazing.

    Sam Bidleman
    Bloomsburg High School
    Bloomsburg, Pa.

  2. I can sympathize, Jessica, as my students' worked flashed onscreen a few times as well. Like you, I'm grateful for the critique and opportunity to improve. I'm excited to go home and share Tracy Collins' Ten Commandments with my students.