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Robert Zimmerman
July 2007
illo to web VER. 1.0
posted:
If Business Week is right and the days of the print edition of the San Francisco Chronicle are numbered, it probably means that a lot of other major regional dailies will fall right behind them.

If it's an inevitable truth that the daily news we read will soon only be found behind the smudged screens of our iphones and laptops, it might be time to start wondering how illustration follows along.

So far, no one seems to have figured this out, at least not in a way that makes much sense.

Here's an example of The Chronicle using a Joseph Fielder illustration, taken from print and brutalized with extreme prejudice for the web edition. If you miss it, don't feel bad. It's only 64 pixels wide. You can get a bigger view by clicking on the little fellow. I wonder how many people bother?

The segway from print to web isn't going so well for illustration and if you deal with web code at all, you will have a fairly good idea why this is so. It's just a hard design nut to crack, if it is crackable at all.

Some news outfits do make an effort. The New YorkTimes makes the case for illustration here with a John Hersey spot, handled as well as probably can be done. ( You may have to SIGN UP to view it )

What this sort of thing means to the art directors at the Times is that the days of designing around illustration, which the Times always handled to great effect, are over. The web likes rectangles. Wrapping type can be done on the web, but it's tedious and rarely worth the effort. Design looses out to the grim realities of HTML. Perhaps illustration does as well.
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