Josh Crutchmer: Smart design does not require fancy illustrations

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Sports design offers a wide window for complex illustrations and multimedia opportunities, but conceptualized simplicity is what differentiates a good piece from a winning piece.

As assistant managing editor at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Josh Crutchmer said the key is planning, knowing what space designers have and visualizing ahead of time.

“Really good work is still possible,” he said.

Most of the time sports design does not require complicated graphics or the need to hire illustrators – it all goes back to smart design. Meaning: Purposeful use of photography, even if it means integrating simplistic typography with it.

The goal of every publication should be to give readers an experience, through print, online, graphics and other multimedia elements.

There are about 434 entries and 14 entries for the SND sports design competition, but only 62 winners. This means the winning rate is only about 14.29 percent of all entries. Only the best win.

However, the best are not necessarily the most complex designs, but rather the opposite.