Lucie Lacava is a Design Consultant and President of Lacava Design Inc. Since founding her company in 1992, Lacava has developed an international reputation for award-winning editorial design and visual identity. Lacava’s body of work includes the redesign of more than 80 publications across Canada, the United States, Latin America, Europe, and the UAE, making her one of the most notable and prolific print designers on the international scene.
On the 25th of September 2010 the Society for News Design honoured Lucie with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She has received more than 100 national and international awards in her career.
tksajeev talks to Lucie Lacava for www.newspaperdesign.ning.com
1.What's the new trend in newspaper designing?
My advice is to ignore trends because trends are already dated by the time they catch on. It is best to lead and innovate rather than imitate. Currently there is no specific trend, it seems anything goes. But here are a few treatments that are gaining popularity:
The front page no longer leads with a breaking news story.
Since the news web sites are updated by the minute, newspaper editors feel that it is no longer necessary to lead with the big news story, since it is already old news by the time the paper is printed. We see a lot more analysis, opinion, and magazine type pieces, rather than urgent breaking news stories.
Since the Guardian redesign we see many papers adopting slab serif font families either for the nameplate or display headlines. On the other hand, sans serif typefaces such as Helvetica are also making a comeback. The hit documentary may have played a role!
Reverse nameplates are on the rise.
With better presses, newspapers are confidently using a lot more colour, and sophisticated mixes, even at the text level.
With the rising newsprint prices and pressure from readers to reduce waste many papers are adopting smaller formats, blurring the line between newspaper and newsmagazine.
2.What are the hurdles in redesigning?
Some newspaper editors like to play it safe and prefer to test the design before implementing it.
When the design is submitted to focus groups, some of the more innovative ideas may be rejected during the process.
It is very important to the process that art direction participates and buys into the redesign.
Once the redesign is implemented it takes a strong leader and fine design team to sustain it.
3.Whats the ideal structure of a design team for a newspaper?
This will vary and depends on the size of the newsroom.
A good visual team includes the following:
An editor with a fine appreciation and understanding of design who can push forward and defend some of the ideas proposed.
A design director, who can motivate and lead the team to produce great pieces.
A photo editor, who can supply great photography either from his staff or the wires.
One or more designers, at a large newspaper they can be assigned to design for specific sections.
One or more infographic artists, who can take data and turn it into an visually easy to digest diagram
One or more copy editors with good design skills.
At some papers some staff members will wear many hats.
4.You haven't redesigned an Indian newspaper so far.If you get one,what
will be your approach to that
I customize my approach to every project.
In general I would do the following:
Study the evolution of the newspaper and its history since it was founded.
Look at its competitors or comparable newspapers in other cities.
Gain an understanding of the readership through market research.
Get a clear picture of the current newsroom culture.
Discuss strategy and goals with the newsroom leaders.
Do a design and content audit and retain some of the things that work, because this will be a comfort zone and familiarity can help retain current readers.
Discard and rethink what doesn't work.
If the language is not English, I will research the different historic typographic styles and those currently available.
Enlist a news designer on my team who is fluent in the given language.
5.Whats the merit and demerit of Indian newspaper designing?
Most of the papers I see are classic in their presentation, and similar in many ways. All of the english language papers use a combination of serif and sans headlines. The classic British broadsheet model is still a major influence. The papers that have adopted a more contemporary design tend to be more colourful. I do see some infographics, but not much interpretation or innovation when it comes to page design.
6.Whats the home work a designer must do before approaching a work?
Read the story first, and research the topic.
7.Role of alternative story forms in news designing
I am not against asfs, but not a big fan either. If overused, asfs contribute to dumbing down of the content.
On the positive, they help digest a lot of information into concise little bits. On the negative, they turn storytelling into dry and lifeless chunks of information that are not necessarily easier or faster to read.
8.Did you think lot of color is used in redesign these day?
It depends on how it is being used, and the quality of
9.Whats the time period of a redesign?
For a small paper minimum three months, for a large paper maximum two years.
10..Whats the basics of news presentation?
To present the information in a clear and attractive way, without calling attention to the design itself but rather the content and visuals that accompany it.
11. Is it wise to use color headlines in news pages?
One has to be very careful here. I would advise against such practice. It can make the content look sensational or light and featury. Black has more gravitas as the colour of choice for news stories