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Step 8: Graphic Conversion

Go back to Step 7: Symbols

Now for a practical exercise. Many newspapers use wire services, such as Associated Press and Tribune Media Services for graphics. These graphics are designed to used the most standard of fonts (Arial) and be ready to print. However, it doesn't make much sense to go to the trouble of creating a particular graphic style and then not have your wire service graphics employ it. Fortunately, conversion is a fairly easy task, even for complex graphics.

Below is a simple graphic from AP:

We want to convert it to our style, so let's start by selecting only the parts that we need. We don't need the AP slug information, the line at the top (our style at the E-N omits that), so let's just select what we're going to use and copy (Ctrl-C C / Cmd-C) the data.

Now, I'm going to create a new graphic from our template and paste the copied graphic into it.

This graphic needs to be a 2 column graphic on a 5-column grid, so I'm going to use my 5-col grid layout. As you can see, AP designs their graphics for a 6-col grid, so we're going to have to tweak this.

First, I line the graphic up on my left-most guide line, which is locked in at 30 points. Things will probably move around in editing, but it's a good place to start.

Next, while everything is selected, I click on my Paragraph Styles, and select [Normal Paragraph Style] and click on it until the plus-sign (+) goes away. This sets all text to my default font and size. (Note: Some wire services use Character Styles instead, for their own reasons. If the Paragraph Styles option doesn't work, try doing the same thing on the Character Styles tab.)

Now, see what has happened to the AP text.

It's all flush left and 8 point text. Let's start converting it. First, select the headline (Presidential vetoes).

In the Paragraph Styles section, click on "Headline."

Now select the graphic text ("Total vetoes since 1901:") and click "Chatter." Click elsewhere to deselect it.

It doesn't appear to have changed much, but that's okay. Your default Paragraph style is the same as your Chatter, remember?

Now, let's tackle that list of Presidents. I want this text to be slightly smaller than the chatter, and a light, black font, with spaces between each line, so I select the box and click "Pointer box black light w/ breaks."

As you can see, the text still needs a little work. First, I'm going to change the text to be flush right, then pull on the left sizing box (black arrow) until all the entries are one line each.

Now, I have two choices. I can either increase the leading on the text to match the graphic elements, or I can resize the graphic elements to match the text. It depends on how much space is available for the graphic, so I'll check with the designer.

Using the increase the leading method, I'll go to my Paragraph Setting and increase the ledding until it matches the size of the graphic elements (in this case, an even 6 points).

Using the resizing method, I'll select the graphic elements (and their numbers, in this case) and resize them vertically until it reasonably matches the height of my text box (in this case, 208 points).

Notice that my numeric elements are looking a little smushed. Let's fix that now. Since the text is already selected, let's go to Paragraph Styles and make it "Pointer box black bold." Click on the Style until that plus-sign (+) goes away.

Okay - word has come that vertical space is at a premium, so we're going with the resized element version. But now we need to make the graphic element fill the full 2-column width. Since it's still selected, we'll drag on the resize handle until it gets close enough to the Guide line we know is the 2-column marker. (Note that this mushes your text again — no worries. Just click on that "Pointer box black bold" Paragraph Style again until the plus-sign (+) goes away.)

Let's change the color of those bars to something that uses our approved colors. Select any one of the bars. Go to Select>Same>Fill Color. All of the bars should now be selected.

I'm going to use my preset Graphic Style Red Dot/Highlight to color them, so I do so.

Notice that "635" number at the top. That black text on top of the dark red is hard to read. We could resize the bars to make that text appear on the white background, but let's try reversing the color instead. Select the "635" text box and go to Paragraph Styles. Click on the "Pointer box white bold" text. That looks good. It might need a little adjusting to properly center it on the line. You can use the Align tools, or your calibrated eyeball.

Now, let's clean up the top and bottom section.

  1. I shifted the top text block down and bottom section up to give about a half-a-pica (6 points) space between elements. I also resized the Presidential names block to end just after the last entry, because when I export this, I don't want the extra whitespace at the bottom of the graphic. Plus, I need to edit the source line, and that's hard to select when there's a text box hanging over (or under) it. I also used my ".5 pt Black line" Object style to stylize the lower black line, and made sure that it was properly left-aligned and sized to fit the 2-column width.
  2. I utilized my Paragraph Styles "Source" style to reformat the Source line. Also, our style is to lowercase "Source," so I did so by selecting the word, then using Type>Change Case>Title Case to convert it. I also aligned it properly with the left edge of the graphic
  3. I replaced the graphic "AP" moniker with our chosen style, "Associated Press." I had this already created as a Symbol, so I just dragged and dropped it, then aligned it with the Source line. Note: Aligning right on a text box seems to create a bit of an overhang. I usually align right to an element (like the black line), then use my left-arrow key to move it left a notch.

And there you have it.

Go to Step 9: Create a Locator Map from a Google Map

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