Editorial design is part of the wide universe of graphic design, as well as web design, branding and packaging. In contrast to these -where, respectively, usability, identity and product come first- its center is in the layout.
Making a layout is composing, it’s giving meaning and structure to an information that can be formed by only texts, images or both. Usually, in editorial design this composition is made with text-blocks and graphics resources. For this is required: 1) understand the characteristics of typography that influence the comprehension of the content; 2) aesthetic sensibility, acquired by studying the relationships between form and color; and 3) knowing the content, its structure and public who it will be directed.
The sum of the previous factors make layout conception a complex activity. Hence the need for a professional who has the necessary knowledge and skills for creating editorial projects, nowadays called editorial designer. This person, besides being creative, must use his knowledge to advise and guide the client during the development of these projects.
However, in this process not all the responsibility lies over the designer. The client, the person or group of people who hire and also guide the project, must deliver the content on time, revised and with a clearly defined structure. Thus we don’t fall in rework that affect the development of the project. For example, I have worked with clients that during the design process continue making changes to the texts, that also send it with grammatical and spelling errors, and don’t define the hierarchy or main sections of the content. This creates major headaches, not just to the designer, but also to the customer when the final product ends with errors due to the lack of organization. Usually, what I recommend to my clients is that if they don’t count with a proofreader*, they request this service as an addition to the design work. Thus, the probability that the final product comes out with mistakes is minimal.
To understand a bit more about how these processes are done, I established the following steps for the proper development of an editorial project:
Thereby, editorial design goes beyond “beautify” information. It requires a preliminary process of comprehension and analysis by the designer, in addition to proper communication between him and his client. That is how editorial designers face an editorial project to deliver a piece with quality content and graphic style.
*Proofreader: professional responsible for making grammatical, lexical, spelling, syntax and form corrections. The form corrections have to do with identifying wrongly-braked words, white roads in the text-blocks (“rivers”), final lines of a paragraph starting a page (“widows”) or opening lines of a paragraph at the end of a page (“orphans”), as well as the use of italics, bold, quotes, small caps, etc.