As you can see, I've tried to play with photos and text a little more. The Super Bowl page was the most ambitious project yet; it took me the better part of a full week to get it all done.
But lately, I've begun to wonder: Does any of it matter?
Maybe it's merely a case of feelings of inadequacy. Take a look at some of the work exhibited over at Sports Designers. You'll see my Big Cactus layout was there, along with stuff from lots of other folks.
I can easily admit that the other work on the page is better (in some cases, considerably better) than mine. Particularly of note is the work done by the folks at the Arizona Republic. Take note of the quote from Luke Knox:
These daily Super Bowl sections are being designed by me, Joey Kirk and Ayrel Clark, with direction from Bill Pliske.
That's three people with help from a fourth. Not only is it 3.5 people, but 3.5 people that are, presumably, talented and trained in the art of graphic design. Otherwise they probably wouldn't be in the position they are.
Me? I've got no formal training, only 10 years of seeing things I liked and seeing things I didn't. And I pushed away a week's worth of work, diminishing any writing assignments or postponing long-term projects, all to do two pages.
Maybe it's more than feelings of inadequacy. Maybe it's a feeling like none of it really does matter.
If you've paid any attention to the media industry, you've seen that newspapers as a whole are in the toilet: predictions of doom (like here), layoffs and cutbacks galore (like here, here and here, just in the past week) and a falling reputation among the beancounters (stock charts for publishing's big boys like Belo, Gannett, McClatchy, N.Y. Times Co., Scripps, Tribune and Washington Post Co.).
And none of these skills that I'm trying to develop is very portable. The design of a static newspaper page doesn't really equate to the design of a dynamic webpage - not to mention learning entirely new programs like Flash and DreamWeaver.
Is it all worth it? I don't know. In my happiest of dreams, I like to think I'm bettering myself as a newspaperman - the ultimate compliment for someone who could do it all.
Maybe in a few years it won't much matter.