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So I’m sitting there at my in-laws house and I notice a pinkishly hued newspaper called “El Economista” - The Economist - I pick it up, flip through some pages and my eyes felt watery, I was short of air, but most of all I couldn’t read more than two sentences. For somebody to call this newspaper “designed” would be a travesty. I know I might be exagerating, but when it comes to newspapers my opinion is that it must be readable.

The first page of the newspaper will give you an idea of where this is heading. This leads me to the horrible type choice, not the one on the masthead, that one is OK. After spending an hour or so trying to find out what typeface that was through Identifont and WhatTheFont I just couldn’t identify it, which leads me to believe that… I don’t know what to believe. The italics are pretty bad too, and to use it for body copy is just too much to handle. I almost forgot: Techno was chosen as the complimentary typeface.

But enough about this paper. This was just an introduction. Newspaper design seems to be way more complicated than we can imagine. I think that would be the only area of Design that I would try to avoid. And those poor people who have to typeset all the news at 3-4:00 am and make sure that everything fits perfectly. Boy! God have mercy on them.

I think the intangible value of Design has never been more apparent, or more influential, than with the Wall Street Journal’s redesign. Hundreds of thousands of people woke up one morning to a vastly improved news reading experience and they probably had no clue what was going on.

Let’s hear it for newspapers! What’s your favorite morning read?

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Jan.07.2003 BY Armin
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Speak Up of course!

On Jan.07.2003 at 02:55 PM
[Fabio]’s comment is:


The typeface used in the mexican newspaper "EL ECONOMISTA" is ECONOMISTA by mexican typefoundry KIMERA (http://www.kimera.com.mx/)

On Jan.07.2003 at 03:03 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>The typeface used in the mexican newspaper "EL ECONOMISTA" is ECONOMISTA by mexican typefoundry KIMERA

No way! way. Looks nice the way he has it set up. I'm sure Gabriel didn't intend it to be used with -200 in kerning. Just goes to show you that each typeface has it's own appropriate uses.

>Speak Up of course!

: )

I meant newspapers though

: (

On Jan.07.2003 at 03:55 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

Some of those glyphs are trademark GMM - and I think he's very talented (and a super nice guy too). The paper messed up the tracking, and sloped the Roman instead of using the real Italic, plus Techno is hyperpukey, but the main heading font is a great design, come on!

Can we see the body face?

Newsface design: Everest, baby.

Morning read: bbc.com


On Jan.07.2003 at 04:18 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Can we see the body face?

This one?

>but the main heading font is a great design, come on!

Oh... maybe you are right. I'm not caving in yet though.

>Some of those glyphs are trademark GMM - and I think he's very talented

No doubt about that. When I saw the type on his web site I couldn't believe it was the same one. And not using the real Italic is a waste of a talented typeface.

On Jan.07.2003 at 04:24 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

They're using a titling face for the body? Stoopid.

It's way too narrow for the point sizes one should use in a newspaper. People think narrowness saves space, while in fact in a newspaper it actually wastes it, as Walter Tracy once explained: narrowness only saves line-length (good in like phone book listings), but in running text with a lot of paragraph breaks (newspapers) wide forms allow you to use a smaller point size and save the more important vertical space.


On Jan.07.2003 at 04:42 PM
Kevin’s comment is:

My girlfriend and I are currently working on a university newspaper's redesign and it is turning out to be an immense amount of research and work. It is a great learnibng experience. When I was in Hong Kong, I was reading the South China Morning Post. I can't find an image of the paper itself, but it was beautifully clean in its design using something that looks a lot like DIN for its title heads.

On Jan.07.2003 at 04:56 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>They're using a titling face for the body? Stoopid.

Exactly! thank you. You have no idea how hard it was read just one sentence.

There is a new, small newspaper here in Chicago that's intended to be a quick read for the young, urban, hipsters called Red eye, it's pretty well designed, I think it uses some heavier versions of Champion from Hoefler. It has a real easy to follow hierarchy and great balance.

On Jan.07.2003 at 05:17 PM
guy’s comment is:

What would Gabriel have to say about El Economista's (mis?)handling of his type? Would that make for a good read?

Cause of colics. Type size is disproportionate to column width and leading. I think HRANT picked up on that too. With paragraphs, the ergonomics of setting seven to ten words per column and scaling the type size accordingly is tried and true. Chinese or Japanese newspapers being the exception.

> You have no idea how hard it was read just one sentence.

I second that. I like Gabriel's Economista...as a display type (headlines) and for short sprints in lead-ins or intros. I mislike it in voluminous settings. Me thinks there is too much contrast (thick and thin) for this to endure a modest type size at long intervals. It tricks the eyes, it does. Is condensed the only style for this face? No regular?

On Jan.08.2003 at 12:43 AM
rolf’s comment is:

The newspaper I read here in the Netherlands just redesigned. They started using Swift from Unger already in earlier stage, but they were still using almost 10 different fonts.

Now they are only using 3: Swift, Stone and Univers Condensed. Swift for headings and body. Stone only on some occassions, like pull quotes. And Univers for small articles set in a narrow column. The use of Univers takes some time to get used to - it's so different after reading a newspaper only in a serif all the time. Also, tracking and spacing often is a bit off when they justify the type.

They also used a little bit (0.3mm orso) more leading which improves overall legibility.

The overall design has been tweaked as well, though no real dramatic changes fortunately. It was already quite ok I think.

I think they did a good job..

On Jan.08.2003 at 03:29 AM
Hrant’s comment is:

Univers Condensed for text?!

Let me ask, was it in all-caps too? ;-)


On Jan.08.2003 at 09:53 AM
rolf’s comment is:

> Univers Condensed for text?!

> Let me ask, was it in all-caps too? ;-)

:) Well, not that but they did use some medium weight.

It's not illegible, you just have to get used to it. Univers Condensed works pretty well, at work we use it as one of the main fonts for a lot of identity stuff like letters, contracts, business cards etc. It looks good.

Hell, I love it! ;)

On Jan.09.2003 at 05:08 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>Univers Condensed works pretty well

I will have to agree with Rolf, I've used Univers Condensed in some small brochures and letterhead and it holds it's own pretty well. I wouldn't use it for longer bodies of text though.

On Jan.09.2003 at 09:16 AM