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How to approach sidebar information.
There's no question that the addition of any element to a page detracts from the whole. So, is the addition of sidebar information in a publication ever appropriate? It is a question that creative direction needs to answer whenever some device is needed to include extra content. Even when it doesn't do a good job of supporting the goal of the main message from any perspective. Naturally the temptation to use a sidebar often stems from the lack of other cosmetic features that might enhance readership. It is concluded that even though an extra body of copy, complete with a color tinted shape for containment doesn't make perfect sense, it's more visually interesting than just keeping things simple.
While the motive is well meaning, the thinking needs to be adjusted a bit. This sample satisfies two criterion that should be satisfied before even considering the inclusion of a secondary content area: (1) The core information itself relates well and actually enhances the main message as a sidebar. (2) The shelf-life of this piece is long enough (3-6 months) that the audience can feel comfortable about putting the surplus reading on hold for a time.
Clearly define the art director's horizon.
The sky is not the limit for most magazines. However, there can be a rather expansive horizon available to fill with all manner of helpful and meaningful visual delights. The better an art director understands the intended mood, style and available resources, the more likely a publication can satisfy its audience's expectations.
It all comes down to how well we perform and pass on specific creative thinking from one level to another. A common mistake is to deliver partial direction in the name of allowing creativity to flourish. Many confuse completing one's own responsibility with inhibiting the next team member by providing so much information that their creativity will be blocked.