The Philadelphia Inquirer launched a redesign Monday — according to Kevin Burkett, the Inquirer‘s deputy managing editor for presentation, this is the paper’s first major redesign…
…since Mario Garcia introduced color to its pages in 1992.
On the left is last Monday’s front. On the right is yesterday’s front page.
As always, click for a larger view.
Kevin tells us:
The approach was to create a fresh look that we could get to market quickly, but one that lacks the rigidity of many recent redesigns in that we want the design to evolve and settle in over the next 3-6 months.
I hired my former classmate, Jennifer George-Palilonis, currently the distinguished professor of multimedia and the journalism graphics sequence coordinator at Ball State University and a veteran redesign expert who worked for many years with Garcia Media, to partner with me on the redesign.
With a four-month window, the emphasis was on these target areas:
1) Cleaning up the front page and introducing a rail.
Here’s today’s front page:
For years we had been using skybox formats in various configurations, and we have added on extra clutter over the years to the folio and area around the nameplate. We wanted a streamlined, simple, elegant, strong nameplate devoid of color. The rail gives us the opportunity to present the top stories in the paper six days a week in a more reader-friendly form that can, when news dictates, be downsized or removed entirely.
2) Section fronts. We removed the skyboxes from inside sections and downsized the section flags to allow the art and headlines to take precedence.
On the left, here, is last week’s biz front. On the right is Monday’s.
Here’s a prototype of what the Sunday biz front will look like.
We introduced a new slab serif, FSJubilat, for section flags and package toppers.
3) “Destination pages.” For nearly every section, we developed a page for quick-read, useful information that includes such things as listings, best bets, briefs, and short contain-to-the-page stories.
A good example of this is page two of sports. On the left: last week’s page two. On the right” Monday’s.
4) A section. The new A section leads off with unique Inquirer reporting on our region, pushing wire stories and national and foreign news back in the section. A new approach to our nation&world roundup page introduces more items and varied story lengths (mid-length stories, “featured” briefs, regular briefs, and “micro” briefs).
Here’s a before-and-after look at that wire news page.
5) B section. We’ve added event listings to B2, along with reports from our blogs, a photo or the day, and short stories. On B3, we have new news roundups from our suburban counties and we’ve moved the crime briefs back deeper in the section.
6) A new, expanded Real Estate section will debut Sunday (more than doubling our current editorial space). Our Sunday Currents section will also get added space on Sundays.
On the left, here, is a Tuesday magazine page from August. On the right is a prototype page.
On the left, here, is a Wednesday food front from May. On the right is an early prototype — from before when the fonts were settled upon, in fact.
On the left, here, is a home and design front from last month. On the right is another prototype remake.
Our goal was to create a look that is brighter, more engaging, and more inclusive of information layering techniques without alienating our core readership. We took elements from our past (like the double horizontal rules and our already elegant collection of proprietary fonts created for us by Matthew Carter) and combined them with a new 10-column page grid, while dropping many of the screens behind graphics and info boxes, adding white space, and introducing new formats within stories for a cleaner look.
As we roll out this week, readers will see a new approach to our Sunday Bulldog cover and the Sunday home-delivery edition. Once we get through the first week or two, we will begin formulating a plan for the next series of improvements based on the core initial design.
Average daily circulation of the Philadelphia Inquirer is 325,291.