I occasionally hear from readers who really dislike print edition pages with too many visual elements. Case in point: A caller just now who "just can't believe" today's big two-page wrap around the FYI section.
"It's just awful," she told me. "All this color, everywhere -- it's just gross. Whatever happened to a newspaper page that's in black and white, maybe with a photograph or two. I worked in (the design field), and we always said getting attention on part of the page was much better than taking the whole page up with one single thing. This -- it's just too bold and hard on the eyes."
I sometimes hear similar criticisms when photos, illustrations or graphics on a page take up a good portion of the real estate because some readers feel that's not a good use of the space, which is of course at a premium in these days of smaller papers. That's a knock I understand as well.
But attractive, attention-grabbing design can also draw readers into something they would normally pass over. There isn't one pat answer here, but it's always interesting to hear the variety of opinions, which I share with the art and design department.