Goodbye blue at the Chicago Tribune
Click here (or on the image above) to download a high-rez PDF of the logos
The Blog noticed many papers getting narrower lately as the 48-inch web sweeps the nation. The Chicago Tribune is the most recent to make the transition, making the switch today (see the new front page below). The paper is using the format change to introduce other changes, perhaps the most noticeable: getting rid of the blue background on the Page 1 nameplate. Joe Knowles, the Tribune's AME for design and graphics took a few minutes to talk with The Blog about the changes:
What was the thinking behind changing the blue background to white in the Tribune's flag?
Joe Knowles: "We felt it was time to update it. Our world has changed quite a bit since we introduced the white-on-blue version 25 years ago. Color was a relatively new thing on Page 1 back then. We knew the blue bar had become a powerful brand identifier for the Tribune... it was originally developed to stand out and be distinctive and it certainly did its job. But it had become overpowering in a way. It was a difficult visual element to overcome on the page. The new one lets the content come forward. That's how we want to distinguish ourselves now."
When was the last time there was no blue background?
"The color bar -- which also ran in green for our now defunct afternoon markets edition -- was introduced in 1982. Before that, the nameplate was black on white."
Did you have the flag redrawn?
"Yes, we had Jim Parkinson, who updated our flag for our last major redesign in 2000, redraw the nameplate to work with the new approach.
Do you have any thoughts about what readers might think?
"We expect some negative reaction initially. I certainly think some people will like the new nameplate, but we're more likely to hear from those who don't. It's reasonable for readers to react strongly to such a change. They're very attached to their Tribune and the blue bar has taken on a sort of iconic status for many of them. I think they'll get used to the new one pretty quickly because it's more evolutionary than revolutionary."
What other changes is the paper making?
"We're adding more white space to the design in general, more space between elements all the way through the paper. There's some new type as well. We had Nick Shinn draw us a new Century Light Italic, and we're using Benton as our primary sans serif in place of Myriad. We also previously used Myriad for agate and small-type presentations, but we're now switching to Poynter Agate for those applications. There are some other relatively minor changes as well, most of them directly related to the narrower page size. We'll employ a five-column grid more frequently now, for example."