Friday, August 20, 2010
Most women (and quite a lot of men) would agree that periodic renewal of one’s image, look and presentation is a good thing. If you don’t change, you look dated and old, in danger of irrelevance. Just ask Blackberry. Or Lady Gaga.
So I approached the new design of the U-T (nee San Diego Union-Tribune) with interest. Newspapers are struggling and trying to reinvent themselves, and change is evident everywhere. The new U-T is changed utterly - in size (narrower) and the design, layout, and typefaces are totally new. The paper doesn’t look like its former self in the least, and I have to say that I am not a fan.
What they have done with their all-cap, san serif headlines is create an entire paper that looks like a bunch of ads trying to blend in with the rest of the editorial. You know those ads, the ones that are mostly type arranged in newspaper-style columns with headlines like “All-Star Real Estate Has Best Month Ever.” The U-T now looks like an advertorial - with smaller photos.
Also, announcing loudly in a 3” X 3” block that this is section B, C, D, etc. is not helpful. Do I care what letter it is? Where’s the local news? I found that info in small type underneath the huge B.
Finally, the narrower paper has reduced the advice columns to just one-inch wide in what looks like agate type. Older readers are not going to love having to get out a magnifying glass to read "Dear Abby."
On the positive side, there seems to have been no more layoffs since the last bloodletting a few weeks ago. If the U-T can manage to hold that line for a while, I’ll still take it, advertorial and all.
The U-T explains the redesign on their website.
What do you think of the new redesign? We'd love to hear from you in the comment section below.