Designing a Series with USA TODAY

by Sarah Olmanson, Production Editor, Lerner Publishing Group; with Amelia LeBarron, Designer, Interface Graphics

What makes designing a series different when working with a partner like USA TODAY? I asked this question of Amelia, the designer of two Lerner series in partnership with USA TODAY.

Her answer? Branding. Working with a strong partner like USA TODAY gives the series a clear place to start from: bold colors, lots of graphics, and a newspaper feel. In the USA TODAY Lifeline Biographies series, she incorporated USA TODAY logos, banners, and even front pages into the design. (Here’s a spread from Tiger Woods: Golf’s Master.)

Tiger spread

By incorporating the look of a USA TODAY newspaper into the design, Amelia made it easy for readers to associate the book they have in their hands with the newspaper. She also designed the series to clearly call out all content that came straight “From the Pages of USA TODAY.”

The second series Amelia worked on was USA TODAY’s Debate: Voices and Perspectives. With this and subsequent series, the design challenge was to maintain the consistency with the newspaper and within the USA TODAY brand, while also making the series itself look unique.

The editorial challenge on this series was to gather, balance, and place USA TODAY material within the text. Great care was taken to choose photos and graphics that showed both sides, pull quotes that supported both arguments, and USA TODAY articles and Snapshots that clearly presented either facts or opinions and let the readers decide on which side of the debate they fall. (Here’s a spread from the Debate series.)

DP spread

Beyond balance, TEs and PEs on each new series work to maintain consistency to the style of USA TODAY and Lerner Publishing Group; work out any issues that arise within each text, series, or across series; and communicate with all of the people who work on each title, including our contact at USA TODAY, to ensure quality.

Each new series brings its own challenges and rewards. The difference when working with a partner like USA TODAY is just another layer of consideration and satisfaction.