The Mario Blog
The WED philosophy in a multi platform media world

TAKEAWAY: The WED philosophy—-the marriage of words and visual images—-applies to all platforms. In fact, WED is probably more important today as we coordinate storytelling across various platforms.

TAKEAWAY: The WED philosophy—-the marriage of words and visual images—-applies to all platforms. In fact, WED is probably more important today as we coordinate storytelling across various platforms.

Reflecting on WED 25 years later

blog post image

The iPad Design Lab book is in the final stages of editing/production and just this week I found myself reading one of the chapters in which I make a mention of the WED concept. It is a brief, passing remark about a philosophy that has served as the foundation of all my work.

Only a few days ago, during a workshop in Malaysia, one of the journalists participating asked if the WED concept was also valid for digital publishing.

Of course, I said. WED stands for Writing-Editing-Design, the marriage of words and images. if you will. Regardless of what platform we are producing copy for, we are writing, editing and designing.

It is because of this that I was thinking that perhaps I should have devoted more space in the new digital book to WED. At the time of the writing, only a few months ago, I quickly decided that there were many other new things to deal with in the book. However, as I sit here reading the completed manuscript, I see those three letters, the W, the E and the D dancing in front of my eyes.

Because WED has become second nature to me and my work, perhaps I do not spend as much time explaining it as I used to. It does not mean that it is less important.

How WED came to be

How can it be? I remember clearly how the WED concept came to be.

As I recall it, and as I told the story in my book Newspaper Evolutions (Poynter, 1997), I must have been working on my 70th redesign project (circa 1987) when “the realization hit me while flying”. Why were some redesign projects more successful than others? The answer came to be above the clouds: A newspaper that includes a thorough integration of writing-editing-design (WED) into everything it addresses during a redesign enjoys better results than one in which a redesign simply targets cosmetic or graphic aspects.

That was a wow moment for me. It defined how I worked and how I taught our craft forever. Still does today.

The WED concept also became the rock on which we planned and conducted workshops at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies for a generation of journalists. Working side by side with my colleague, Dr. Roy Peter Clark, that great writer, writing coach and teacher, we crossed migrated the disciplines. If you came to train at a Poynter seminar, you would be exposed to WED, as opposed to a total concentration on just one of the disciplines. Writers and designers mingled and discussed issues of editing and presentation on specific pages. The dialog continued when those seminar participants returned to their newsrooms.

As a result, I incorporated writers and copy editors more fully into the process of the redesign, and still continue to do it today, as we rethink newsrooms and move across platforms.. I knew that good design would evolve from good words. Content is king. Design packages it to make it appealing and easier to digest.

When writing-editing-design come together well, it is pure bliss on the page or the screen. One can hear the bells chime.

It was because of WED that I developed story structures as the first step towards a successful redesign. And I am happy to say that the new digital book deals in detail with story structuring, which are key in the tablet platform as well.

WED more important today

One may add that today the concept of WED takes greater importance because the three disciplines must be more carefully coordinated to perform differently in the various platforms.

As I said in that Newspaper Evolutions book in 1997 :

“WED is also dependent on newsroom structures. As long as we see writing as one department, editing as another, and design as a floating island on another floor, then we have no WED potential.”

Today, we can add, that for WED to be successful and sustainable in a multi platform world—-think media quartet here—-we must see the various platforms as being part of one seamless operation where the story comes first.

Perhaps WED is more important today than it was about 530 redesigns ago when I first thought about it.

Come to think about, my new digital book, The iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet, does make a brief reference to WED, but I am happy to see that the entire concept of the book, how it is written, edited and designed, is based on following the WED philosophy.

Five WED tips in a multi platform world

1. Include the writer/editor and designer from the start of planning how a story will be presented.

2. Let the specific characteristics of each platform determine how the writing/editing/design of the piece is carried out.

3. Let WED serve as the springboard to multi sensory treatments: audio, video, pop ups

4. Don’t attach more significance to one platform over the other. WED says it should not be so. It is not print or digital first, it probably is WED first, with respect for what each platform has to offer.

5. Remember that WED is a discipline, indeed, but it works best when those applying it are disciplined about its utilization.

Previous blog post with references to the WED concept

Pop up of the day

blog post image

From Bild in Germany: a season appropriate pop up—-how to select the right bike for your summer adventures!

Of special interest today

An Ooooops moment for the Mitt Romney campaign

– UK: DMGT digital revenues to offset print revenues “within five years”

– UK: Guardian data content reached 1m users a month for past year

– USA: Cox Media to outsource ad design and production

– USA: NY Times updates iPhone/iPad apps for customized reading

– USA: Will AZCentral’s Big Leap Into Hyperlocal Be Model for Other Newspapers?

– USA: Warren Buffett and Newspapers: Infatuation or Cold Calculation?

– USA: A Doomed Romance With a New Orleans Newspaper

– Australia: Fairfax journos to create content across all platforms

– Will Android in-app subscriptions attract magazine and newspaper apps?

The iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

blog post image

Video walkthrough of the iPad prototype of iPad Design Lab

blog post image

TheMarioBlog post # 1027
Blog Post02.22.2018—7am
These are pages we like
Blog Post02.21.2018—1am
Let’s hear it for the Design Boot Camp
Blog Post02.20.2018—1am
When editorial content and advertising clash.
Blog Post02.19.2018—1am
Does creativity suffer when design is outsourced?
Blog Post02.16.2018—1am
Facebook and publishers: rocky time in the relationship
Blog Post02.15.2018—1am
The end of text. The end of print. What a week!
Blog Post02.14.2018—11am
Handelsblatt and its English edition
Blog Post02.13.2018—1am
Fake News: some are planning to fight back
Blog Post02.12.2018—1am
The post text era. Really?
Blog Post02.09.2018—1am
Some of the most beautifully designed apps you never heard of
Blog Post02.08.2018—1am
A rare manuscript of interest
Blog Post02.06.2018—8am
How AR brings that newspaper box (or whatever) into your living room
Blog Post—1am
When type is used right
Blog Post02.05.2018—1am
It’s all about making that type easy to read
Blog Post02.02.2018—7am
Design hubs can art direct, too
Blog Post02.01.2018—1am
Templates versus art direction
Blog Post01.31.2018—1am
It’s all in those details
Blog Post01.30.2018—1am
When every dot tells a part of the story
Blog Post01.29.2018—1am
Vertical type! Not always a no no
Blog Post01.26.2018—1am
FT extends free access to high school students: good thing!
Blog Post01.25.2018—1am
The Globe and Mail: a print redesign inspired by digital strategies
Blog Post01.23.2018—1am
The new FT campaign
Blog Post01.22.2018—1am
Are we using better photos today?
Blog Post01.19.2018—1am
The challenge of that fold
Blog Post01.18.2018—1am
The Washington Post: another profitable year
Blog Post01.17.2018—1am
Did I really read that much?
Blog Post01.15.2018—4am
The Guardian changes more than just the format
Blog Post—1am
Are vulgar words now part of a journalist’s styleguide?
Blog Post01.12.2018—4pm
The new New York Times campaign
Blog Post01.11.2018—1am
The good news about paying for content
Blog Post01.08.2018—3pm
Prof. Miguel Urabayen (1926-2018): Tribute to a grand maestro
Blog Post—2pm
Fire & Fury: Here’s a cover that tells more of the story
Blog Post—1am
End of print edition for Montreal’s La Presse
Blog Post01.07.2018—11am
Happy New Year…..I am back, sort of
Blog Post12.19.2017—10am
My prediction for 2018: we will write, edit & design for mobile
Blog Post12.13.2017—1am
Best wishes for the holiday season!
Blog Post12.12.2017—1am
Every year should be year of the audience
Blog Post12.11.2017—1am
The Post Most: curated content as easy as 1-2-3
Blog Post12.08.2017—1am
The power of a comic
Blog Post12.07.2017—1am
Those European ePapers Continue Growing
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.