Papers should look like the Internet

The new possible new design

When a potential version of the Chicago Tribune's redesign starting trickling its way through the Web, I fell in love.

Although I'm known as a Web enthusiast, I'm also a sucker for great design -- whether it be web or print. All graphic design is intriguing to me, and this prototype definitely sparked my interest.

If newspapers are going to survive, there needs to be major restructuring to represent elements of both the Web and magazines. I think this design accomplishes both:

  • Masthead content - They go with the name "Trib." This is brilliant because it's casual. It sounds like the name of a blog and it's what seasoned readers call the newspaper anyway. It's making that personal connection with the readers, a very blog-like appeal, I think.
  • Masthead style - This is no traditional masthead. Again, it reminds me of a blog banner. It feels so casual and clean. I love it.
  • The current, "old" design
  • Headline typeface - The current design uses traditional serif fonts, while this potential new design has a main headline in a Helvetica-like font (much like a magazine would)
  • Big central image - This is so magazine-like, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Newspapers are dying, but magazines aren't.  Everything about the layout reminds me of a magazine, and even the content is a lot more feature oriented
  • Basic, bold graphics - Although I can't read the teasers on the bottom (I'm assuming they're teasing to the Web), I can tell that the graphics are far more simplified than what the Tribune currently has in their print edition. They're very much like icons you'd see on a Web site
  • Infographics - The current Tribune is very text-heavy. This design adds more visual and presents statistics quickly and organized. Far more visually appealing than that traditional look of the current paper.

If newspapers want to survive, I think they need to do what the Chicago Tribune is considering: a massive redesign. Not only visually, but contextually.

Instead of being a place of who, what, where and when, the newspaper should be a place of "why?"

Instead of cutting pages and jobs and keeping the same content style, newspapers need to add pages and jobs and change their content style.

Instead of trying to break the news in the newspaper, the industry needs to break news online and use print as a deeper, more feature-like and in-depth look at the news that was broken online.

And the Trib already has a head start.