In this article I am gonna talk about working with mugshots. Lots of inexperienced designers do not know how to achieve some dynamic layouts with mugshots cause mugshots are pretty dull to work with but you can lay them out in many interesting ways which will create some dynamic story between them.
If you are using only one mugshot you can crop it in some dramatic way that will create some illusion, such as illusion of distance, proximity, dynamic…
You can crop images in different ways to give some character to the image. Also you can frame images, you can place them in some colored or textured backgrounds. When doing so for several images it is important to use the same backgrounds or frames. For example don’t put one mugshot in stamp like frame and another in picture like frame.
When placing their names or some photo caption it is always better to place that info below the image. If there is no place below you can put it on a side or on the image. If you are placing captions on the image be sure that the text is visible. Don’t place the text above the images.
When working with several mugshots you can group them in several ways. You can place them in a row, giving each mugshot equal importance. You can place them one above the other or you can make them look more dynamic by playing with their position and size thus creating some interesting interaction between mugshots.
The most important mugshot will be the biggest, second most important mugshot will be smaller than the most important one and so on till the least important mugshot, which will be smallest.
If you are placing mugshots in a line you should scale those mugshots in a same size and align them in the eye level because these mugshots are perceived as a group.
Avoid placing mugshots in a catalog type of design, for example like in a yearbook.
Positioning mugshots on a page
You can direct readers attention to certain elements on the page with the position of the mugshot or you can “tell” the reader in which direction to continue reading the story.
For example if you are placing image on the outer part of the left page, image should be flipped in a way that the person on the mugshot is looking into the spine of the magazine. It would be wrong to place it to look out of the magazine. Although this is kind of rule, rules are meant to be broken sometimes when needed.
One such example is when you place image on the outer part of the right page facing the direction of the eyesight away from the magazine, into the bleed. In this way you are telling the reader to continue with the story on the next page.
If you have two mugshots you can place them on opposing parts of the spread and create sense of conversation between them by flipping image so that they look at each other.
If you are using more than one mugshot on the page you can place all the mugshots one on top of other in single column. In this way you will break up a bit multicolumn text blocks which will be easier for the reader to digest.
It is always better to place images above the main text. Sometimes pages laid out in this way will look boring but you can play around with mugshots and increase or decrease their size to get some dynamic on the page or you can cut out the mugshots and leave the background white to get some contrast.
When you have text heavy story on multiple pages and only few mugshots you can place each mugshot on the same place on each page. In this way you are creating continuous rhythm and reader will know that he is following the same story. To break the massive text blocks you can put some quote from the person in the mugshot below the image.
Sometimes you can place images below the main text and you can again play with the sizes of the mugshots. In this way you will get uneven white space between the main text and mugshots which you can fill with uneven column lengths of main text.
I hope this article helped you with the problem of mugshots and making them look more interesting than they are. If you have some more questions or ideas please comment.