Design Editor Ian Lawson had never turned the Ledger Independent's front page on its side before, but while designing the Friday cover that featured news of Moammar Gadhafi's death, he tried it at the last minute.

"I just didn't love what I had been working on for most of the two hours I get to design our A1," he told me by email. "To be honest, I'm still waiting for the email telling me my publisher's head exploded when he saw it."

Lawson, who has been with the Maysville, Ky., paper for four and a half years, had no newspaper experience when he started out. But after working on inside pages -- and a stint at Disney -- he became head of pagination a year ago.

The recently-redesigned paper, published six days a week, has a circulation of 8,500 and is distributed in seven counties. Below are the designs Lawson rejected and the final front page published Friday morning.

The final front page used a horizontal design, which Lawson has done on the lifestyles section front, but never before on the front page.
An early design used a photo of the young Gadhafi in uniform.
Another mockup featured Gadhafi in silhouette.