Thursday, August 21, 2008

RedEye tweaks design, trims 1.5 inches

COMMENTARY: The "R" in RedEye has gone from uppercase to lower case on the cover of the Chicago Tribune's youthful free daily. The paper itself is 1 1/2 inches shorter than before. And the headline font has been changed to Stag Sans.

But the changes appear to be mere tweaks to a very popular and successful newspaper. The reduction in size makes the paper easier to hold, which is a plus for readers who use public transportation. The fonts improve what was already a strong design package. The content of RedEye hasn't changed, and that's a good thing. Lots of short, snappy stories -- blurbs really -- that move a reader through the paper quickly.

For instance, the Aug. 11 issue (at right) served up stories about the dangers of driving while using the phone, why e-mail is making a mess of our lives, reader reviews of Chicago's newest bars and heavy coverage of Olympic phenom Michael Phelps.

They're the kind of stories you'd be apt to talk about over the watercooler.

Plus RedEye has celebrity coverage — in this issue, Bernie Mac's death and a RedEye interview with Jessica Simpson. But it's not all fluff — RedEye carries a full page of national and international news, and another full page of Chicagoland news.

EXAMINER REDESIGN: The Examiner papers have also improved their look with a redesign. Gone are the cluttered covers with multiple headlines, all about the same size in serif type faces. Now the Examiner cover consists of one photo, one major headline, and some teases. The inside pages look brighter with the new headline font and the addition of more white space. On Sundays, the cover features an illustration of a person being profiled by the Examiner. The content of the Examiner hasn't changed. You can still find "news" stories written by right-wing commentators like Bill Sammon and editorials more extreme than anything Rush Limbaugh has had to say, but as far as the design is concerned, it's better.