All in the name of newspaper design

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

After all the hard work, stress, chaos and swearing I hope you’re all happy with the new-look Southland Times that appeared in your letter boxes on Monday.

The new headline font we are using is called interstate. It was designed by New York-born designer Tobias Frere-Jones in 1993 and is based on the signs used on highways in the United States.

If you like it but don’t think you can justify buying a commercial version, there are a couple of similar fonts available as freeware: Blue Highway and Expressway Free.

One of the changes I’m most happy about is the new byline photo style. I’m hoping that the much smaller photo hovering at the top of this column in the print edition of The Southland Times will be less inclined to scare small children and that my skin colour’s close resemblance to the colour of newsprint won’t be so obvious.

Like any form of design, newspaper design is somewhat subjective and constantly evolving. Mario Garcia has a crack at debunking 10 universal design myths in his article on the Poynter website.

While I agree with some of what he’s saying, I’d just like to suggest that putting some paragraph breaks in that article would have made the thing a whole lot easier to read.

Each year, the Society for News Design judging panel selects what it believes are the best looking newspapers in the world. Last year’s winners are a diverse bunch.


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