Field Notes: Color

Aesthetically speaking, the Los Angeles Times is a traditional newspaper, through and through. This statement can be extended to its use of color as well. The photographs are mostly in color. Photos appear in full color, captivating the reader’s eye quickly, but toward the center and back of the paper many photos become black and white. From A1 to C2 all photos are in full color whereas C3, the second page of the sports section, becomes a black and white section, which is interesting because sports photos are often some of the best shots that readers would hope to see in color. Maybe this is the paper’s way of pushing sports fans to the website to see the stories and photos in color. Of course it has to save money by eliminating color in parts of the newspaper but the sports section is an interesting place for the paper to do so. The sports section finishes in grayscale and then becomes full color again starting with the “Calendar” section.

All headlines, body copy, captions and display text are in black, with the exception of major section headers: sports and calendar. The sports header is in a slate blue while the calendar header is bright red. The other major section headers remain in black like the other copy. Sports and calendar are likely in bold colors due to the sections’ popularity. Bright and bold colors catch people’s attention and draw them in, so I assume this is the thinking behind the color choices for these sections.

The drop cap used in a special front-page section called “Column One” is in a bright red. There’s also a bright red rule that occurs between the headline and dek. This feels like a direct attempt to draw readers in quickly when they’re skimming the front page for the news they want to read. There are typically three to five additional stories beginning on A1 and this “Column One” sets itself apart using read, a color known for directing attention to itself.

Other than these elements of the newspaper, there isn’t anything color-related that grabs my attention within issues of the Los Angeles Times. This publication stays true to its traditional style of doing things, which is ironically a refreshing change of pace in today’s modernizing news environment.
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