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Behind the Scenes: Meet the Director of Design

Tom Guffey, director of design, has a key role in conceptualizing the layout of the Public Press print editions. Here's his perspective on the creative process.

What do you enjoy most about designing the print edition?

What I love about designing the newspaper is that it is catered to a more patient and deliberative reader. We are not under pressure to put fluff and flotsam on our pages. Also, we are still changing and growing as a publication, which makes it easier to play with different formats and styles.

The Public Press doesn't accept any paid advertising. Does that give you more room to experiment with design?

One of the surprising things I've discovered in designing an ad-free newspaper is that in some ways it's harder. Our design and layout have to stand on their own. On the plus side, every page is better-looking and easier to read. The negative side — for the designers at least — is that there are no "easy" pages.

The front page is an index of everything you are going to find inside the newspaper. You can literally judge our book by our cover.

What interests you about newspaper design?

I fell in love with newspaper design working at my college newspaper and reading Tim Harrower's amazing books on editorial design. What I love about it is the mixture of substance and style. You're giving people vital information for life, but trying to do it in a way that's interesting. It's the fundamental challenge that all journalists face whether they're writers, photographers, or something else — our job is to make the important things interesting.

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