Let’s amplify visual voice

“Across the industry, we employ product designers, but the need for editorial designers and art directors with minds for digital is equal. Organizations publish hundreds of stories a day. We need a lot of designers if we are going to make an impact.”

We won’t give editorial design the focus it deserves in 2018, but we need to do better than 2017.

Legacy news organizations put an emphasis on editorial and graphic design for decades inside the pages of their print newspapers. Beautiful, full-page illustrations, well thought-out typography, carefully chosen and placed images. And all of this to keep someone reading and delighted inside a product people had already purchased or likely subscribed to. We encounter these visual opportunities daily in the digital space. We have a chance to use these same design choices in a 2:1 share image to draw someone in on places like Facebook and Twitter. Instead, we’ve decided that a default image and crop will work.

From the very beginning of The Lily, my team and I made the choice to never publish a story without an original piece of art to accompany it, tailored to the platform it’s publishing on. We were tired of seeing overused stock images. Tired of the same wire photo used on story after story. Tired of a lack of visual identity. Everyone is posting a story weighing Al Franken’s punishment? We’ll create our own art. We’ll make sure it’s unapologetically rendered in Lily style. And then, in the endless feeds on Facebook and Twitter, we will stand apart in the crowded space and claim attention. Our images, and thereby our stories, are harder to skip.

Across the industry, we employ product designers, but the need for editorial designers and art directors with minds for digital is equal. Organizations publish hundreds of stories a day. We need a lot of designers if we are going to make an impact.

Designers should be part of the story-planning process from the beginning. This is not new. But designers (we call ourselves visual journalists), should be running some of these platforms. The best recent example of this is Instagram Stories. When a Story is created, choices involving typography, colors and alignment must be made. It’s critical that someone who understands these design principles be involved in — or in charge of — creating the Story. It will look better and more professional, ultimately resulting in higher and more meaningful engagement.

It may be true that young people finding our stories on Snapchat and Instagram respond well to informal, familiar interactions. In their search for authenticity, it is our responsibility to uphold our credibility not only with the information we are sharing but with its visual presentation.

We are getting better. News organizations are making an effort on Instagram. Enterprise stories are getting visual treatments that adapt well to Twitter and Facebook. But there are still stock images out there. Our brands should be recognizable. We can get there by refocusing on editorial design. Let 2018 be the year of visual identity.

Amy King is editor-in-chief and creative director of The Lily, a publication from The Washington Post.

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Burt Herman   Things get real

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Errin Haines   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Paul Ford   Go global

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Jake Levine   The return to now

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India