Designing Problem Children

| 2/22/2011 4:04:53 PM

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Remember that old, pretty crappy '80s movie Problem Child with John Ritter? Of course you do! And remember that crazy, red-headed kid who played the main character, Junior, who terrorizes everyone in the movie? Well, that red-headed brat is the physical embodiment of a story we're working on right now for the May/June issue. Our staff always jokes that every issue has to have at least one "problem child"—a story that, though we like it and are excited to get it into the issue, just won't come together. Even with our brilliantly talented designer, Michelle Galins, at the helm, sometimes a story's bits and pieces are hard to bring together. Maybe the headline is too long. Maybe there are too many sidebars, and we need all of them! Maybe we can't find the perfect image. Or maybe when we do, the images just won't play nicely together. Whatever it is, it seems every issue there's that one bratty kid who's running amok. This time it's a great piece that highlights ways to address major issues in your home under various categories: Energy Savings, Water Conservation, Air Quality and more. We are just having a heck of a time getting all this great info to come together in a package that's easy on the eyes and easy to understand. I think our designer is on about version 10 right now, and hopefully she's drinking some calming herbal tea.

But! There is also something really great about problem children. When they work out in the end (and they usually do), you feel so much more accomplished for having gotten them there. You might always look at the article (or whatever task you tackled) and think, gosh, I'm SO glad to be done working on that one, but you also think, gosh, we got this thing looking pretty good! I know we all have problem children in our lives, and they can be a mess to deal with. But in the end, when we work out the kinks (and sometimes realize you're just overthinking it), getting those problem children in line are the accomplishments that make us the most fulfilled. I just thought I'd share my thoughts at 4:00 on this sunny Tuesday. I hope you are working out the kinks with your problem children, too.


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