Truthfully, I’m pretty happy where the paper is right now. I think a lot of good decisions have been made on my part and the other editors who have helped a lot. I think the more the semester has gone on, the more the paper has turned into it’s own design, and less into a conglomeration of other newspaper design ideas I’d seen before.
However, there are some things that I still want to tackle. They aren’t as large as ones I’ve had before, but I’m still not happy with them, so I’ll just keep meddling.
This is one of the first major changes, because it appears on the front page. I haven’t been super happy with how much space the paper seemed to have up with the logo. I had the stories to the right, and the logo to the left, but I had “the” above “buzz”, and it felt like there was a lot of wasted space. So after playing around for a while, I have put the two words together with a B ligerature taking up more space. Here’s some pictures showing the difference:
Older version, with the “the” ontop of the “Buzz”:
Newer version, with the “the” in the shadow of the “B” in “Buzz”:
Sans Serif Change — Again
Yet again, I wasn’t happy with the “heavy” sans serif font we were using. I used “The Bold Font” first, then I used “Franklin Gothic Heavy,” and now I have switched to a still heavy looking, but lighter font called “Bebas.” Bebas is an all-caps font, with really tight line spacing.
Now, I want to clarify: Franklin Gothic Heavy is a great font, and I’ll still be using it. But it’ll be a lot more limited. Most of the time, I’ll really be trying to stick to Bebas due to the overall paper trying to have a tighter, more modern feel.
Older version, with Franklin Gothic Heavy
Newer version, with Bebas
Most Importantly — BODY TEXT CHANGE
This one is pretty huge, because it’s really uncommon in newspapers to actually change their body text font. It was a hard decision for me too, because I knew the font I was using was a great font that a lot of designers really like to use. So I’ll explain my full thought process here.
The text we were using previously was Minion Pro. Minion is a super well known and respected serif font that I know a lot of designers go crazy about. It’s used for body text, and actually looks great in justified columns (as opposed to say, Garamond or Timeless).
However, it looks really academic. It has high line height, and is generally a fairly light font. It would look super awesome for a paper, or a proposal, or something like that. However, for the newspaper.. well, it felt like a student paper, not like a “real paper” font kind of.
So this is when I went to a typography site, as well as the site FontsInUse to check out what a lot of newspapers were doing. For a great newspaper font, you need a couple things (along with basics such as readability, cleanliness, etc):
- It needs really tight line spacing. Because newspapers are really trying to fit in a lot of text and info onto a page, you need to make sure that literally the letters themselves are pretty tightly fitted into their own line. This means the g’s and y’s don’t stretch down too far, there isn’t a big difference in caps and lowercase, and a couple other little things like that.
- It needs to have a font that has uniformity of weight, especially in serifs. This is also known as low contrast. Now, because it’s a serif font, you won’t have quite as low a contrast as a sans serif, but you still need something that isn’t too crazy. (For examples about high vs. low contrast, compare the fonts Spinwerald, which I use for the actual Logo of the paper, vs. say Times New Roman, which is used for body text in academia)
- It needs to look good when justified. This has to do with how tight the letters are allowed to be, and naturally spaces where letters can break. Some fonts are made to be justified, others just really aren’t. When I was originally selecting fonts for the newspaper, one of the first things I did was create a bunch of columns of text, and tried fitting different fonts in there to see which ones looked normal, and which ones looked really unhappy.
SO, taking all of this into account, I changed my font from Minion (10.5 with 11 leading) to Utopia (9 with 10 leading). After the first issue I used this, I was super glad I made the change. This font, in my opinion, looks more like an actual newspaper, and less like an academic paper.
Here’s examples of some body text from both newspapers so you can (hopefully) see the difference:
Can you see how Minion seems to be less uniform, and seem a little less comfortable with the columns? Utopia seems right at home conforming, and the lines fit a little more tightly together.
So those are really the only main changes I made this time around to the paper. I wonder what it’ll look like at the end of the semester.
These blogs are meant to be a help and resource to whoever designs the paper after me. I was a little frustrated that almost nothing was left for me to use as a resource when I joined, so I want to be able to show my thought processes as I made decisions for the paper.