While most of the products we work with here in the CPC do have rules between all content on a page, it doesn’t prevent an issue that some call butting heads. While it’s debatable about whether the reader even notices this as an issue or not, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t as page designers look at it from another angle. For instance, it probably isn’t the best way to present the information. It’s kind of boring.
And in an effort to avoid butting heads, the most common mistake I’m seeing is putting all the headlines across the entire page so that you end up with this stack of heads across 7, 6 or 5 columns, depending on the publication. It’s not the best choice. Again, it’s kind of dull and uninteresting.
Instead of going this route, think about how you can divide up the page, halving the space vertically and using an art element or a pullout to separate the headlines. Making headlines of differing architecture will create a visually interesting page. So will adding entry points.
Subheads, lede-ins … whatever the site calls them … try to find ways to to call out to and inform the reader about what’s on the page. Don’t just repeat the main headline. Add extra information. And if you see content in the text of the story that would work great as a pullout/breakout, ask the site about creating one from it. They often forget about presentation in the midst of working with reporters and editing copy.