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Offline Design Inspiration, Part 2: Newspapers

    Jennifer Farley

    Last month, I wrote a post about how we could use magazine covers for colour inspiration. Continuing on this theme, I’m looking again at printed material for ideas and inspiration. This time the source for design ideas is the Newspaper.

    The first “newspapers” were handwritten newsletters circulated to merchants. Printed newspapers appeared in Germany around the late 1400’s, while the first American printed newspaper called “Publick Occurrences” appeared in Boston in 1690. These papers were heavily type based, as you can imagine.

    Today’s newspapers, however are literally a feast for the eyes, if you choose to look at them that way. Just think about all of the design elements that are involved

    • Typography
    • Photography
    • Illustration
    • Info Graphics
    • Banners
    • Logos
    • Branding
    • Layout Grids

    Don’t forget at the weekend, all of the additional sections, glossy mags and pull-outs that many newspapers supply, loads more eye candy and ideas.

    Let’s take a look at a few examples. You’ll see that all of the newspapers use a grid to layout the stories and images. Many web designers are now using grids or frameworks to layout their sites.

    1. The Australian Financial Times is pretty sedate in terms of colour and font choice. They have a very specific audience and the design reflects this. Notice the repetition of the colour blue. It’s in the newspaper title, the index, the large ad at the bottom of the page and even the main image.


    2. The Irish Independent is a little more colourful, but again there is repetition of the colours blue and orange throughout the page in both the text and the images. (On a slightly unrelated note, the main image on this page shows some Irish rugby fans. I’m not boasting, but Irish rugby teams have been doing very well this year!)


    3. The New York Times uses elegant typography in headings, sub-headings and pull-quotes.


    4. The Journal, UK has a fairly standard tabloid layout, with a large image and extra large headline. The reversed out type reflects the black and white of the football player’s uniform. This particular football team are known for their black and white uniform.


    5. The Daily Al Bayan, published in Dubai, United Arab Emirates has a colourful main image, three sections that are clearly demarcated using colour and a logo on the right. This looks just like a blog. I can’t speak Arabic, but I can clearly see the most important information is on the right hand side because the type is larger than on the left hand side.


    So even if the news itself is all doom and gloom, ignore the small print, step back a bit and look at the design.

    Do you find yourself looking at more than just the stories in a newspaper? Has newspaper layout influenced your designs or ideas?

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