Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Washington Post redesigns Express

The Washington Post has redesigned its free daily, Express, by changing fonts, adding more color and going to a magazine approach on the front page.

Instead, Express now has a cover story each day consisting of a headline and large photo — but no text. Inside Express is devoting a full-page to the cover story, giving a writer an opportunity to go into more depth than usual.

The redesign wasn't a radical change — sometimes designers go nuts and readers don't recognize the new product — but instead appeared to be tweaking of an already successful free daily.

Unlike RedEye, TBT, Metro or amNewYork, Express isn't putting much celebrity news on the cover. Instead, the D.C. free daily has a heavy diet of hard news. Recent cover stories include:
    • Dec. 1: "Obama's War," a preview of his national TV speech on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan.

    • Dec. 2: The White House party crashers complaining their lives have been destroyed.

    • Dec. 3: The beginning of stem cell trials.

    • Dec. 4: The implications of the NBC-Comcast merger.

    • Dec. 7: "Emissions: Impossible," a preview of the Copenhagen climate conference.

    • Dec. 8: The uprising in Tehran.

    • Dec. 9: Improving test scores in D.C. schools.

    • Dec. 10: "The War and Peace Prize," the president's Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Dec. 11: "On Notice," the Metro transit system's boss is under the gun.
Notice that the biggest tabloid story during this period — Tiger Woods — wasn't a cover story, though it was teased on the front a couple of times.

"Our goal is to pack more news onto our pages than ever before while at the same time making the paper more attractive and easier to navigate," said a front page note introducing the redesign on Nov. 30.

As for the fonts, Express changed its news headline font from Knockout to Flama, its features headline font from Miller to Farnham, and its body copy (and decks) from Miller to Fenway. Also, they're using Popular in places.