Blog Entry #3 – Mini Art School #1

I am completely clueless and uncomfortable with the idea of trying to design anything myself. The Mini Art School exercises were daunting but helpful in giving me a clearer picture (no pun intended) of the technique behind what I’ve been looking at all these years.

For the exercise identifying 10 examples of bad design, I turned initially to the website – This is a website for fans of the New York Yankees.

My discoveries on the site, based on those sins, included:

1. All of the photos are centered. It’s a very strange layout that leaves tremendous white space on either side of the photos.

2. At least one of the photos appears warped so that the player’s body appears to be out of proportion.

3. Visually, the design of this page is extremely plain and bland.

4. There are some very odd placements of elements. For example, there is a video clip box of the Derek Jeter Gatorade ad included at one point, but for some reason it’s pushed flush left, leaving miles of white space to the right. This strange effect is exacerbated by the fact (also bad) that all of the other photos are centered.

At another point, the page features a graphic that is problematic in several ways:

5) The graphic is cut off so you can’t even read the text.

6) There is no clear direction to information in the text placed above or below the graphic that relates to what the graphic is actually measuring.

7) The graphic is pushed flush left leaving miles of white space to the right (an effect, again, exacerbated by the fact that all the other photos are centered.).

8) The page itself does not seem user-friendly at all. There’s no attempt at design. It’s text and a photo.

9) There’s also a problem with the margins on the page. They’re uneven, a fact made more noticeable thanks to the shading on either side.

10) What’s really odd is that if you go to older pages on the site, there is a definite attempt at design and a lot of these problems don’t appear, such as the photos all being centered. So the site lacks consistency from one page to the next.

I am also not a fan of the new home page for the Asbury Park Press (
The page is a confusing jumble of fonts, images and information all fighting for attention.
Specifically, I spotted these layout errors:

1) There are too many fonts being used on this page. In addition to the logo from the paper’s original Masthead, there is now a new logo as well as the Gannett corporate logo. The headlines, story text and buttons utilize different fonts as well.

2) The entire page looks cluttered – too many elements.

3) Tacky Type – the section boxes feature reverse type

4) The side borders look bulky and are definitely not understated

5) At the top of the right rail, the weather display makes the mistake of using similar tones for background and text. The dark blue text on the black background makes it almost impossible to clearly see the temperatures listed.

Now to the fun part of this week’s assignments.

Attempting to create these pages for the homework was a completely humbling experience. I have always had great respect for the talented page designers I have had the pleasure of working with and have even more respect for them now.

Unfortunately, it is 11:55 and I am still having problems posting the actual pages I created to my blog.

I am filing this now so at least there is a time stamp on it that is by the deadline for the class assignment.

(Just noticed the time stamp on my page is incorrect. IT is only 11:56 p.m.. I need to fix the time zone on this page I guess).


3 thoughts on “Blog Entry #3 – Mini Art School #1

  1. Sorry you were having issues last night with the posting. Let me know if I can help in any way. Screen grabs would have definitely been great to accompany your findings which were pretty on point aesthetically as well as in line with the readings. Nice!


  2. Karyn, I too thought this week was going to be daunting but thought I had a positive experience with the Mini Art School. I definitely think this week was enlightening to not only what goes into the process of design but also how much time it takes. I’d love to see what you designed for this week so it would be great to get them up on your blog. Try taking screenshots and inserting them (Thats what I did since I am not super savvy with online things)


  3. Hello Karyn,

    I know things might seem a bit daunting, and believe you, me, I completely understand because I am a novice. I think things can become more manageable as long as we break down the assignment in parts. From this class alone, I have learn that technology takes time and patience (and practice!!) But, just pace yourself. I have attempted some new things because of this class, like creating a screencast. It seemed very difficult at first, but once I completed my mini screencast, I had to figure out how to post it (that alone took me a day and a half), but I figured it out. What a nice feeling it was! So, I am sure we are going to just plug away at our tasks. I am here to help. Just email me, we can put our minds together.


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