The Intelligencer Journal and Lancaster New Era of Lancaster, Pa. — circulation 78,819 — launched a redesign Thursday.
This was one of the more extensive print renovations I’ve seen lately: A big part of the change included a new name for the newspaper.
While I’d normally advise against changing the name of a 220-year-old newspaper, I think I like this change a lot. Can you imagine answering the phone and saying:
Good morning… Intelligencer Journal and Lancaster New Era… (gasp for breath)… How may I direct your call?
The new name has only three letters in it. On the left is a front page from last week. On the right is Thursday’s debut front page.
LNP President John Kirkpatrick — his friends call him Kirk — writes in a column on Thursday’s front page that…
…the name change “reflect(s) our full integration as a complete, multiplatform media company.
With the LNP name and “Always Lancaster” tagline, your new newspaper embraces who we are and who we serve — Lancaster County. Our company is now LNP Media Group, Inc., which includes LancasterOnline, the home of our quickly expanding digital offerings and a forum for community engagement.
As Kirk writes, the paper’s owners — the Steinman family — bought the paper soon after the Civil War. So that’s a lot of history they were potentially tossing away with the name change.
Visual editor Patrick Kirchner tells us…
The (new) logo was created by JPL Creative out of Harrisburg; they handled the branding and marketing efforts of the redesign.
A spadea that wrapped around Thursday’s paper explained the new logo:
Q. What does the green part of the N represent?
A. It turns out it means different things to different people. Some folks see a blade of grass. Others see the green-covered fields around the county. Still others think of it as corn stalks or as the farmland of Lancaster County. But regardless of what individuals associate with the green swoosh, they almost all feel it represents our county.
UPDATE – 10 a.m. PDT
Because it’s come up already on my social media feeds, here’s a little more from the paper about the “LNP” non-acronym…
Q. Why did you change the name of my paper?
A. When the evening and morning papers were consolidated in 2009 the names of the three newspapers — Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era and Sunday News — were retained. As a result, members of the community simplified our name by calling us Lancaster Newspapers. So we decided to take their lead.
Q. Why LNP? And why was the tagline Always Lancaster chosen?
A. We talked with the community. We spent 15 months asking questions and conducting research with people in the community. LNP resonated fully with residents in all age groups. We also knew we needed a unique and contemporary nameplate. We chose “Always Lancaster” as a tagline based on our deep and historic connection to Lancaster County and the people who live here.
So enough about the logo — let’s move on to the rest of the paper. Here is today’s Day Two front page:
Very clean. The use of white space is particularly nice. And I’m amazed by the ear at the upper right of the page. The best word I can think of to describe it is understated.
Patrick tells us:
We’ve introduced a new 12-column grid, more white space, and typefaces with high utility/readability, all with the goal of better organization and a more approachable feel.
The spadea also addressed the new typography:
Q. Did you change the text typeface throughout the refreshed paper?
A. Yes. Our readers have told us they want a type that is easier to read. The new typeface is actually larger with a little more space between each line of type. We have experimented with the new typeface on a variety of stories over the last couple of months and have received great feedback.
The new body copy type is Chronicle Text.
The new headline font is Sentinel (the slab serif that works, Hoefler & Co. says).
The secondary display or accent font is Gotham Narrow.
The other thing to note, typographically: The new LNP uses lots and lots of italics.
In the old format, the B section was local and biz. Patrick explains:
Structurally, the new design features a three-section paper Monday-Saturday, with a B section that rotates through a different theme each day.
Those themes are as follows…
Monday: Trending (everything from hard-hitting health and education trends to fun pop culture items)
Thursday: Home & Garden
Friday: Together (stories of family and community issues)
And Saturday: Faith & Values
Sunday’s edition will be a larger, 8-section paper with more comprehensive coverage.
I really love that Trending section prototype — or, at least, the part that I can see here. Very nice.
The third daily section is sports. Here’s a before-and-after look at the sports front.
On the A2 page every day, we’re featuring a section called Speed Read, which designed for quick, informative reading.
It features a quick-hit summary of news stories (and some fun, quirky blurbs) in digestible bites.
Lending a consulting hand with the project was my old friend Paul Wallen. I’ve barely heard a peep from him since he moved to ESPN the Magazine, eight months ago.
Patrick tells us Paul…
…was instrumental and fantastic to work with. Our design aesthetics are very similar, and we both share the belief that design – especially in a newsroom setting — needs to maintain equal parts utility and elegance. We had a great working relationship throughout this process; we couldn’t have selected a more talented and flexible designer for the project.
Not only am I from that area of Pennsylvania, I was born at the Lancaster General Hospital just a few blocks down from the newspaper building. It was a real treat to be involved in a newspaper redesign for my native city!
Here’s the spadea explaining the features of the redesign. Click this — or any of the images above — for a larger look.
Find Kirk’s Thursday column, plus most of the text of the Q&A from the spadea — along with comments from readers — here.