cropping !


I am pretty sure my current obsession with design has been a latent passion for decades. So what has held me back? Well, graphic design—like photography—has always been a static art form for a person with my background. Almost immediately I have the impulse to animate typography or key frame graphics.

John McWade is helping me to think differently.

McWade teaches a graphic design course on He is knowledgeable, methodical and entertaining. I am continually surprised and embarrassed by what little I know about things I thought I knew. For example: cropping a photo. Seems pretty straight forward. But did you know that there are seven distinct ways to crop? I know, not exactly headline grabbing news. And yet, as McWade breaks them down, you really start to appreciate how layout can add tension, drama and, yes, motion.

For example, the image in this flyer is nice. The surfer is looking in the direction of the text, so your eyes follow hers to it. But "she is vaguely stuck in a box which is the anthesis of surfing."

His solution? Duplicate the photo and tack a portion of it on the other side of the text. This extends the scene and opens things up. "Surfing is just all about wide horizons and freedom."

This may seem self evident once it's done but for me the mystery lies in the impulse and ability to see these layout problems at a glance.