Cristina E. Garcia
February 11, 2014
The document I decided to redesign was an old copy editing checklists meant to help copy editors, the users, at The Beacon learn Associated Press style faster. By learning these things, the copy editors are able to edit stories quicker and deliver a better quality newspaper to the audience, the clients.
The first thing I did was copy the original paper onto Microsoft Word, line for line and bullet for bullet. As recommended in the readings, I started trimming the content for what was relevant. Initially I thought that including examples with every line was the way to go, but as I started trimming, I realized that less was more. What I mean by that is that I could condense sentences, move some items to examples of other lines, and even delete some things entirely. Originally I wanted to make every numbered line have a bullet with an example for repetition’s sake, but I realized that sometimes it wasn’t necessary. I found there were other ways to incorporate repetition. For instance, repetition could be seen in the numbers next to the lines and the triangular bullets.
However, I saw simply having numbers and bullets was not bold enough, as the “Non-Designer’s Design Book” (NDDB) encouraged us to be. So I underlined the numbers and used font Courier New for the title, subtitle and numbers. Even though Kimball and Hawkins warned us against using Courier because it was a relic from the typewriter age, I used it because I thought it was appropriate for the users of the document: newspaper copy editors. I used Courier New and underlined the numbers to establish ethos and pathos. It is ethos because it is the font used by many journalists for many years; to use the font in association with the rules gives them more authority and sinks them into context. The font also establishes pathos because personally it calls back to a time passed. Currently in The Beacon, we use computers for everything. All of the documents we read and edit go through Google Drive and on Google, we use the font Arial. Using the Arial font family makes the guide relevant, not something from the past. In order to make the lines different from their examples, I decided to make the dominant, more important content Arial Rounded MT Bold and the examples/notes Arial to contrast the elements even though they were in the same group, as recommended in NDDB.
In the beginning the numbers were just underlined. But I wanted to keep playing with lines because the copy editors constantly work with lines on Adobe InDesign at work. From that idea was born the idea to make the two lines around “guidelines.” In the original document it was font size 12, aligned to the right, alone and underlined behind a colon. It was insignificant and blended into the page. In my document, I wanted to bring attention to it, so I made it font size 48, Courier New and lined it up so part of it was in the black space around the title. I did this in order to complete another design rule, proximity. However, after running it by the users to gather some feedback, they consistently told me that it bothered them that the word impeded on the space of the title. That is how the lines around guidelines were born. I wanted the subhead to stay part of the title, so I enclosed it in two lines that represent the guidelines in InDesign. This way, not only is it representative of a copy editor’s work at The Beacon, it also satisfied the needs of the user. In fact, it makes sense that such an insignificant detail bothered them because it is their job to design the pages of the paper and for an element to be on another element like that would be a mistake.
Finally, I spent a lot of time working on alignment, but I must say I’m not satisfied. Even with all my tinkering, the last line, number 10, breaks the alignment because the font automatically makes it wider than the other numbers. However, the break is miniscule enough that the copy editors didn’t mind. When asked about it, they said they were still able to read through the material just fine and understand it.
I believe I have designed the document in order to give the copy editors agency. The document is in accordance with proper AP style, American readings conventions (written left to write) and follows the principles of design. Copy editors should have no problem using this document to help them learn AP style quicker.