top of page

 "Design is intelligence made visible."   –– Alina Wheeler

This is a memo Mark wrote to staff members

and bosses to discuss good newspaper

design, but it applies to our approach to all

types of publications –– print or digital.











            hen I talk about design,

I can’t help but talk about my favorite designer.

    He’s not a newspaper designer. I’m talking about real brain-power. Pure magic. I’m talking about Frank Lloyd Wright.

    When I was a kid, he inspired me. His plans for houses stopped me in my tracks. They were so elegant, simple, yet right. So right. Rooms flowed into other rooms. Space matched use. Form followed function.

    What makes Wright’s work so compelling is that it makes perfect sense. It’s strong without being overpowering. It makes a statement without pretension. It needs no fanfare. It stands on its own. It is the embodiment of Aristotle’s ideal for excellence.

     Wright’s work was empowered by a keen sense of light, space and proportion. God, he could make it all work.

     I know now that those three things are the key to any good design –– be it clothing, kitchen gadgets, houses or websites. The designer who can blend light, space and proportion (without making it obvious) has the keys

to communicate with the soul.

    A client of Wright’s once told him she wanted to hire him because his houses had the “countenance of principle.” That’s a great description of superior newspaper design.

    If Wright had designed a publication or website, he would have started with a clean slate, a fresh look.

      Then he would have considered the environment –– in the case of a newspaper, its readers. He’d make the paper work for them.

     Understanding that papers are about the written word, typefaces would have a high priority. He’d choose fonts that were strong without shouting, that allowed enough variety to change pace but not abruptly so.

     He would have realized the important role pictures play in communicating news to readers. He would have made sure the authority of good photos imbued his design.

     Then he would have considered space. He would

have made it the “light” of his newspaper designs, giving type and art room to breathe. There would be no clutter. Rules, logos, banners would work harmoniously and appear

only when necessary.

     Lastly, he would make all things consistent, varying

from form only for special

or important reasons.

    Wright’s signature Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pennsylvania (top), seems to me an appropriate

icon for good paper or

digital design — a blend

of purposeful lines,

solid core masses and

radiance. It fits with

the environment,

establishing a warm

retreat that infuses

strength through beauty.

Design & Branding

Design & Branding


BRANDING that works

DESIGN that works



Susanne's DESIGN

Click Lola for more


Mark often embellishes cards and snail mail to friends and family.

Click on a card as it slides by for a close-up view of his watercolor handiwork.


Mark offered design ideas (right) as a template for the Amarillo, Texas, front page (above); and, for a  newpaper banner (in color, below).

A section of Susanne's retail resume


Susanne's name for



Click button to hear

Bolling and Rampal's

 "Baroque and Blue"

bottom of page