Dolorem ipsum for a reason

chart showing fraudulent phone charges
Created using Illustrator while working on the graphics desk of The Daily Tar Heel, student newspaper at UNC-Chapel Hill, 2006 (Circulation est: 24,000).

Sigh. That’s my first graphic every to be published. Don’t tell anyone okay?

I was pretty stoked at the time, but of course now I see the text in this is atrocious. Just look at it! The credit is the largest bit! SOMEONE sure was proud of themselves at the time. It’s a classic case of trying to fit in a lot of information in a small space.

Often we design pages with filler text, then when the text arrives it’s three times too long. You can parse it down, sure, but what about those times when it’s legalese and you’ve just got to make it work?

When there is little art or just a lot of copy, text becomes your art. I used this theory when prepping a brochure (top image). What was nice was text was already provided. What was a bummer was that they didn’t want me to touch any of it. (I happen to be pretty ruthless at taking out all the parts people like!)

You can push it more, as I did while working on the below Harry Potter special page. It’s a bit much I know, but I think the direction is right. Copy is not something to be stuffed on the page as an afterthought. You have to work with it so it works with you.

newspaper page noting facts about the Harry Potter books
Created using InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop while interning at COXNet, Inc., a now-defunct newspaper parent group, 2007.

Most importantly – when flying solo, you need to write your own text. If you have a writer on staff, amazing for you! But often that doesn’t happen. And if you design something with fake copy, you’re missing all the places where your design won’t scale.