Visual Journalism

Visual Journalism: Reading the Redesigns

Visual journalism, or the “ability to project a news story through image and design”, is becoming a very important compliment to the written part in journalism. Just like certain words are critically chosen when writing an article, visual elements like images, fonts, and layout should also be critically studied and picked. The article first discusses newspaper redesigning. Driven by the awareness that redesign can “alter the way readers navigate through news”, the Times and the Independent, among other newspapers, changed format from broadsheet to tabloid. Another reason that triggers the need for newspapers to redesign is the competition from websites and other media formats.

The article also discusses theories of visual journalism for news reporting. It says that news visuals are usually made to appeal to specific target audiences. Fonts, colors, texts, language style, layout image style, and poses are all factors that affect the image of the newspaper or magazine. The article states that newspaper or magazine design is a mediator of lifestyle. The article takes the Daily Post redesign as a case study. Design editor Gary felt that the newspaper lacked a clear identity. Research was done, and the newspaper was retargeted. The article compares the 2002 Daily Post title with the 2005 one. The 2002 title denoted “tradition, certainty, comfort, and confidence”.

Fonts can be used to represent ideas, offer attitudes, and give coherence. The 2002 Daily Post title had a thick and blockish appearance giving a sense of reliability, but the font was changed for the 2005 title into a non-heavy one, giving a sense of elegance instead. The 2005 Daily Post font was quite expanded, signifying confidence and being comfortable, but the 2005 one occupied less space in order to give a more socio-economic spacious layout. The title was blocky with little curvature, suggesting control and certainty, but the new one had more curvature connoting smoothness and femininity. The old title was also slightly squat or heavy; showing stability, but later acquired a greater sense of height. It was also unconnected and well spaced, connoting independence, and became even more so by having even more space. The Daily Post serif font was retained to still connote tradition. In summary, the new title font showed elegance and modernity, as well as sophistication and post-modernity, yet still showed lightness and space along with tradition. Fonts on the front pages of the newspaper also combined tradition and modernity.

Color of fonts can also be used to express ideas, attitudes, and textual organization. The old Daily Post title font was blue, whereas the new title was a white font written on a blue band. The blue color suggests a cool detachment, and signifies truth and science.  The new title had a blue of less saturation, which makes it less sensory and more subtle and tender. It’s blue is also flatter and unmodulated, suggesting modernity and certainty. The new paper was also changed to a purer saturated white paper, suggesting cleanliness and truth. The new newspaper layout was more spacious, and contained a lot more white spaces and bigger gaps between elements. Finally, the newspaper shifted from highly descriptive images on the front page, to more conceptual de-contextualized stock image photography.


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