Lessons learned

Creating visuals for words.

The ongoing search for images. Yes, the main focus of my job is writing and sub-editing, but I sometimes feel like my ongoing search for images takes over. High-resolution images. 300dpi images. The constant plea for a ‘high-resolution, 300dpi image’ because that’s the resolution we need for print drives me a little bit insane. But, because both of the publications I work for are print-based and not online, downloading images off of the internet isn’t good enough. I quickly learnt after starting working for both companies, that copy alone isn’t good enough either. Writing an article on a fabulous charity event that raised £6,000 just doesn’t conjure up the same enthusiasm with words alone. It took me a while to naturally see the visuals as part of the whole package when it comes to an article, a feature, or a news story. Now I do, and a feature isn’t finished unless it has the visuals to go with it too.

This goes for the email newsletters we sent out fortnightly too – we have featured stories and having the heading and a link just isn’t good enough. I write the copy, link it all up and then it goes to the designer to ‘visualise’ – and it’s so much better to see and read with images alongside it to tell the story.

The same goes with my blog, I try to include visuals to make the posts more appealing – although sometimes these might be generic and simply there to show a featured image on the homepage. But blocks of texts just don’t always cut it and even bullet point visuals and pull-out quotes make the post more visually-appealing as a whole. Visuals that I do enjoy working with, are illustrations. As part of my day job, we had an illustration for our previous columnist, Arabella Weir. We receive the copy, then send over the words to the illustrator… and it really works and makes a change to using standard, stereotypical photographs from a photo library. It also adds a comical and upbeat feel to the feature, rather than being too text-heavy.

It’s quite a satisfying feeling to have Word-document copy transformed into a feature on InDesign… I just need to get the hang of that programme myself!
Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 16.25.27

PTA+ Magazine, spring issue, Paul Boston illustration



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