I've always had a lot of interest in the visual components of journalism and consider myself a decent amateur photographer. I'm actually kind of anal about it. A messy design really impedes my enjoyment of fine journalism. When my own published writing has suffered under poor design, I have felt unreasonably disappointed. In my routine digestion of news, I have to make a real effort to overlook poor design and recognize otherwise good work.
I was looking at something on Time.com today and thought about this, because Time was one of the early influencers of my news-design sensibilities, along with National Geographic. Both magazines were ubiquitous in our household when I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s, and I learned a lot by watching how their designs evolved. I also learned a lot from Life's photography and from watching our Michigan newspapers migrate from vertical to horizontal modules in their layouts. But the visual presentation in Time and NG always seemed to be eons ahead of everybody else's.