Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Redesign Keys on Web Synergy

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Redesign Keys on Web Synergy

Article excerpt

Readers of The Journal of Commerce may have gotten a bit of a shock when they picked up the newspaper's June 1 edition, which offered a dramatic redesign combining a new, modern flag with a switch from traditional broadsheet layout to a tighter, tabloid format.

Willy Morgan, publisher and executive vice president of the daily trade publication owned by The Economist Group, says the new design will have four fewer pages and focus more on analysis and trend stories; much of the daily data and news will be shifted to the newspaper's Web site,

"We did great customer research asking our readers and prospective readers what they wanted to have. They said they wanted a lot more analysis and case histories on actionable business information," says Morgan. "Bringing more analysis into stories and asking 'why is something done?' The breaking news will be written but with more analysis."

The facelift of the 172-year-old publication occurred with help from Roger Black Consulting of New York, which whipped together the new look in less than three months, according to David Matt, Roger Black's vice president, publication design.

"It was a huge change," Matt says of the tabloid style and modern flag. "The previous newspaper was a big gray, and with this change, it is a little punchier and easier to consume." Morgan, former North American publisher of The Economist and an 18-year Economist Group veteran, says the change was done to make a statement.

"The broadsheet is a daily reporting format, which we will still be doing. But a lot of daily reporting will be on our Web site, which subscribers will get access to for free." Morgan says. "The business is becoming more electronic. About 75% to 80% of our readers are on the Web. so it makes sense to draw on that."


LETTERS: Column moved from right to left side, with smaller, bolder lettering for letter author's name and top of column.

"When you go from a broadsheet to a tabloid, the space goes down," says Matt. "The letters took a small hit, and it was an area to cut back a little bit."

MASTHEAD: Moved from top, left corner to bottom, left corner with use of new flag design and prominent web address noted. Flag of parent company, The Economist Co., added.

DAILY EDITORIAL Moved from left column to top half of page. Larger, italicized headline given to each editorial, with additional space for subheads.

"There was a big debate over whether the paper should be more horizontal or vertical," says Morgan. "This is part of that horizontal feel, looking at more analysis and getting away from the daily newspaper image, which is more vertical. It gets away from the daily news visual approach."

COLUMNISTS: Mug of columnists cropped tighter, with smaller, thinner lettering for columnist's name. Column headline lettering changed to italics. "The italicized is to differentiate the opinion page from the rest," Morgan says. "Cropping the pictures makes it look a bit tighter.


DATE: Moved from center of page below flag bar to left side below bar. All-capital lettering remains but with darker, bolder type.

FLAG: Changed from traditional Old English upper and lower-case lettering to bolder, modernized all-capital lettering that is spread across two rows. Black bar below flag changed to two parallel black and blue bars. …

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