Field Notes: Cover/A1

nyt.pdf-page-001The New York Times is a self-identified Broadsheet newspaper (though with the dimensions 12′ x 23.75′, it’s closer to a conventional Berliner), that utilizes a 6-column grid and a modular layout.

The front cover serves as an entry point for the newspaper. It features around ten of the most important stories in that day’s paper with some being teasers to draw someone into opening the paper and reading on. It is different from the other pages in that only segments of the stories are printed on it (and then the reader is referred to a different page to finish) in order to fit more on the page. On the inner-pages, it is more likely whole stories will be printed on a single page.

The front page features the nameplate, a folio, images, and other graphic design elements used to organize the page. They utilize many (often too many)  rules in order to separate stories from one another, or cutlines from body text.

There is an obvious hierarchy on the page. The nameplate is front and center, having its own unique typeface and being the largest type on the page. The headlines are large and bold, the deks bold – but smaller than the headlines, and the byline is the same size as the body, only bold. These elements are separated by rules. Sometimes, in order for one story to stick out, they will set one headline in all uppercase letters. These design choices are carried out from issue to issue, which makes them consistent.

Visuals are used to spice the page up and further draw the reader in. For example, in the last issue of the New York Times, two very striking pictures were used. One was a very colorful picture of Chinese children getting their faces painted in preparation for a cultural celebration. It’s an eye catching, and beautiful picture that will make someone walking by interested in what the story will be about. Another graphical element was an infographic documenting the heights of past New York mayors. It makes someone wonder, why would they have a picture about mayors’ heights? I want to read that.

The design choices for the front page are very by-the-book and conventional. I think this gets the feeling of stability, dependability, and accountability across. The New York Times is a highly respected and reputable news publication and its design choices do well in enforcing that. It makes for a routine, if not bland, reading experience.

Noelle Devoe