The Trinidad & Tobago Guardian marked its centenary on September 2, 2017, with a redesign and relaunch. I was asked to carry out the redesign, with a brief to create a clean new look for the islands’ oldest and most respected national newspaper, restoring authority and clarity to its pages.
The tabloid pages are built in InDesign, working to a five-column editorial grid but accommodating a seven-column advertising grid. It was agreed that the old Guardian, with its blue masthead and fairly brash solid red front pages – which were standard fare most days – should reclaim its position as the most respected and authoritative of Trinidad and Tobago’s three national titles.
These are my initial notes on the project
I’ve sought to achieve quality with impact; clarity with pace.
The serif headline face lends authority but while it is elegant is also punchy and has an urgency about it that I think works well for a newspaper’s purposes.
I’ve made the pages busy without appearing to be trivial.
There is white space sufficient to make reading and navigation easy for the consumer but not so much that the pages run out of momentum and lose their hard-news edge.
Word counts are down and story counts are up.
The backbone of the design is the five-column page grid. It should hold the whole newspaper together – in all its sections – a constant and consistent structure from which the Guardian’s journalism can be celebrated!
These are the notes I pulled together when the project was further advanced
The new design seeks to achieve quality with impact – clarity with urgency.
Its strength is its simplicity. It is simple to follow for the reader and simple to execute for the page designer.
The design employs two type families only: Publico and Myriad. Publico is the primary typeface, a modern serif that carries the bulk of the design workload. Myriad is the sans serif contrast face that plays the ‘support role’ – picture captions, fact panels, page folios etc.
The Publico Roman main body type has been chosen because of its legibility. It is also the main body type in the UK’s London Evening Standard and Sunday Times.
The new body type is easier to read than its predecessor, Quiosco, and the white space between lines of text is greater than before, to enhance readability.
The Publico Black serif headline face lends authority but while it is elegant and intelligent it is also punchy and complements a newspaper’s mission to tell ‘new’ stories that matter.
The headline faces are condensed – by 15% – throughout. The more erect appearance lends urgency and pace. It also makes headline writing easier, providing the sub-editor with more characters per line.
Pages are busy without appearing to be trivial.
There is white space generous enough to make reading and navigation easy but not so extravagant that the pages run out of momentum and lose their hard-news edge.
Word counts are down and story counts are up. There are more stories of fewer words. This lends pace and urgency to the newspaper.
The backbone of the design is the five-column page grid. It holds the whole newspaper together – in all its sections – a constant and consistent structure from which the Guardian’s journalism can be showcased and enjoyed. A five-column page means that each column is close to what is considered to be the most reader-friendly measure, 10 pica ems – or 44mm.
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian’s vital statistics
Page dimensions 255mm x 330mm
Column gutters 5mm wide
9pt Publico Roman on 10.3pt leading
9pt Myriad Pro Black SemiCondensed followed by 9pt Publico Text italics
All Publico Roman bodytype is in upper and lower case, justified, with 3mm paragraph indents. Intro par is full out, no indent
Page lead headline
60pt Publico Black upper and lower case on 60pt leading,
85% condensed, no kerning
36pt Publico Black upper and lower case on 38pt leading,
21pt Publico Roman upper and lower case on 21pt leading, 85% condensed, kerned -1
9pt Myriad Pro Semi Condensed on 9.5pt leading, ragged right setting, no hyphenation
Vertical column rules are 0.5pt black
Horizontal rules are 3pt blue: Cyan 94%; Magenta 85%; Yellow 0%; Black 0%
Pictures have no borders or frames
Picture captions are in 9pt Myriad Pro Bold Semi Condensed on a 9.5pt leading
Picture credit line/photographer’s bylines are in Myriad Pro Semi Condensed caps, ranged right
Since relaunch, on September 11, 2017, I’ve kept in touch with the Guardian design team and exchanged ideas with them. Most days I send them a brief design review of the day’s paper…
Guardian design review, Monday October 9 2017
That’s such a powerful front-page picture, isn’t it? And the cross-ref panel works well too. It might have been good to let it drop all the way down to the top of the Colfire advert.
Page A3 is powerful too. The five-column grid works well. My only critical observation is to suggest allowing a bit more white space below the downpage headline, Blood on Govt’s hands – Richards.
Page A5 – the contrast between the size of the overline – Online video shows student… – and the main head – Garcia acts on violent attack – is about right, in my view.
Page A6 – but here I think the overline is too strong compared with the headline below it.
Page A7 – excellent use of the single-column head and shoulders picture of Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, perfectly positioned in the third of the five columns, brings balance to the page.
Page A21 works really well. It’s nice to see the comments running in single columns with single-column headlines. The Quotes of the Day panel is great.
Pages A36, A37 – Comic Relief looks good – and has done every day since the Guardian’s re-launch.
Back page – another powerful back page. I wonder whether a little inset head and shoulders pic of Tonya Nero sitting alongside her headline and underline would help clinch the message and pull it away from the Egyptian goalkeeper enjoying his moment of triumph!