Laying It All Out

I write the words, but it’s the art department that really makes an article pop. The layout process is endlessly fascinating, and this month I’ve seen three layouts that are great examples of the process.

Early in the month, ASK sent me the layout for my upcoming article about aluminum. There had been a few tweaks, but the structure was largely what I’d pictured as I was writing it. (Of course, the ASK art department had done its usual amazing job.)

Then mid-month, Highlights emailed the layout for an article I’d written about fear. Because it was a commissioned article, I’d been given a template to work from when I received the assignment, so I knew exactly what it would look like. Except when I opened the PDF, it had completely changed! Even though the original template had been Highlights’ design, they’d decided on a new direction. Still my words, and still a great article, but now in a completely different structure.

Finally, last week my ASK editor sent the layout for an article I’ve done about prosthetics. There’s so much information in the article that she thinks it’ll be easier for kids to read if the article is broken into text boxes, or what she refers to as a “wireframe”. In this case, she wanted my input and requested I do some revision to help her restructure. She’s absolutely right about the new structure improving the article, and I’m in the process of revising right now.

So, three layouts, three different—and equally great—experiences. That’s part of why I love writing for magazines…it’s always something new and unexpected!

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