Field Notes: Color

The body copy in The Guardian is black. Occasionally when there is a reverse, the text will be white. The Guardian keeps this text black to make it easier for readers to read the paper. The headlines in The Guardian are mostly black, unless their is a reverse. Many different colors are used if there is a reverse, including white and blue. Sometimes headlines can also be blue. Cutlines are black, but are underlined with a blue line for emphasis. The nameplate is always blue or surrounded by blue because blue is the color that is associated with the paper. Consistent use of blue with the nameplate helps with brand recognition. With columns, the Guardian uses red for the column section, for example “Historian’s view,” but uses black for the actual headline text. Certain special sections, “Like Crisis in Ukraine,” are marked off with a purple box across the top of the section with white text. Also, on the National page, sections will be marked off with blue text, though each individual headline is in black. Most infographics in The Guardian use the colors red, blue, yellowish gold and white. This helps keep things consistent as well as making sure the graphic isn’t overwhelming with too many colors. Photos generally have bright, catchy colors to grab the reader’s attention and draw the reader into the story. The Guardian tends to use color with its promos, teasers and refers to draw attention to these pieces. This is a good technique because readers might overlook these pieces if they were just in black and white. They also use a pop of color for the quotation marks in pull quotes, but usually keep the text of the pull quote black. This is smart because it draws attention to the pull quote without being overwhelming. Bylines are all different colors: black, gray and blue. They change depending on the section. Lastly, The Guardian uses color on many of its rules to draw a clear distinction between different parts of a page or to emphasize a section header.

Hierarchy and organization can clearly be seen on the National Page. The important sections of National news are denoted with blue text and the information headlines and text are in black, showing the reader that the information following the blue text is part of that section. The Guardian uses color in this way to create hierarchy and organization throughout the paper. The colors The Guardian uses create a very relaxed, but fun and interesting mood/personality. They don’t use an overwhelming array of colors, and they often reuse colors (like the purple) throughout the paper to create consistency and familiarity for the reader. Color is used more frequently for the entertainment or opinion content, while “more serious news” is generally simply black or just the subdued Guardian blue. This helps distinguish between the heavier and the lighter, more fun news.

I think The Guardian effectively uses color. They don’t use color too much, which would lessen the impact of the color when it is used. They use color in the appropriate spaces to create emphasis and draw the reader in. color is a great tool for emphasis, which The Guardian utilizes effectively. I think its good that The Guardian consistently uses its color palette of blue, black, red, white, yellowish gold and purple. It’s enough colors to create different vibes on each page, but not too many colors that it becomes overwhelming. I also think its good that The Guardian uses more subdued colors for hard hitting news because this news can often cover more serious or somber issues. It’s great that they occasionally use bright colors for hard hitting news for their “special sections” that don’t ordinarily appear in the paper. This helps distinguish these sections. I think its good to use bright colors more often with entertainment or opinion sections because these colors reflect the personalities of those sections. They also use color to create hierarchy and organization. The Guardian’s color strategy is smart because using too many colors can make a publication overwhelming to read. Also, using color to create hierarchy is a great tool. They are effectively using color for one of its main purposes.

The front page of The Guardian. Here you can see the use of blue on the nameplate, the use of color for promos, the use of blue lines in the refers and a reverse.

The front page of The Guardian. Here you can see the use of blue on the nameplate, the use of color for promos, the use of blue lines in the refers and a reverse.

Color use in a photo

Color use in a photo

Color use in an infographic

Color use in an infographic

Color in a special section

Color in a special section

Color in a pull quote

Color in a pull quote

Color for opinion

Color for opinion

 

 

 

 

 

 

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