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About our new press: Design

Months before the new press went to work, several of The Journal Gazette’s editors wrote commentaries about what it meant to them and to our readers. This was the third of those pieces of commentary:

The evolution of The Journal Gazette's design will take a big leap in a few months. It has been 10 years since our last redesign, and The Journal Gazette's in need of another upgrade. And our new presses will make this upgrade something special.

When I interviewed at The Journal Gazette 15 years ago for the position of sports copy editor, I remember cringing the first time I saw the design of the paper. It wasn't a pretty sight. That was 1992, but the paper looked much older. I've kept a few copies of those pages I designed from that period just to remind me how far The Journal Gazette's design has progressed.

A few years after I arrived, The Journal Gazette launched a redesign, dramatically improving the look of the newspaper. In terms of design, we changed almost every aspect of the paper.

The process by which designers lay out pages has also changed. Just three years ago, we were still using a pencil and ruler to design a number of our pages, and copy editors were doing a lot of design, especially inside pages. Today all pages are done on a computer by a staff of eight designers.

Although we've made a number of changes over the past decade, we're still playing catch-up. Newspapers across the nation have worked hard to make their pages more attractive and easier to read. The biggest changes have been the increased use of color photography and the switch to narrower pages. Even the most traditional newspapers have made this adjustment. On Jan. 2, the Wall Street Journal reduced its width by three inches. Early next year, the New York Times is scheduled for a makeover, reducing its width by 1 1/2 inches.

The limitations of our old presses made any of those improvements almost impossible here. In a few months, all that changes. Here's preview of what new presses will to mean to the design of The Journal Gazette:

MORE COLOR: The new presses will allow us to put color on every section front. Tired of trying to decipher the black-and-white photos on the Garden page? So are we. Now when we run a story on getting your garden ready for the spring, you'll actually be able to see the flowers.

SMALLER SIZE: The Journal Gazette will join the rest of the country's major newspapers by switching to a more manageable and easier-to-read size. If you pick up a USA Today, the Indianapolis Star, or any major newspaper, and compare it with The Journal Gazette, you'll notice The Journal Gazette is considerably larger. In most instances, The Journal Gazette is two inches wider than most newspapers.

NEW HEADLINES: We're changing the fonts of our headlines so they'll fit better with the smaller-sized paper. The basic font is something called Chronicle Condensed. It's much narrower than our current headline font, and should make The Journal Gazette look more modern while maintaining the feel of a serious newspaper.

ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE: Well, I don't want to give away all our changes before the new-and-improved product arrives on your doorstep. But very little will stay the same. The one thing that won't change is the size and type of our body copy. The paper might be shrinking a bit, but the size of the text will remain about 10 point and the font will still be Times Roman, a classic typeface.