Field Notes: Los Angeles Times

As an LA native, I’ve inevitably come across many Los Angeles Times front pages, but I’ve never really paused to consider the newspaper’s design. The typeface for the L.A. Times’ nameplate  is an adaptation of similar old-timey typefaces that have become a hallmark of some of the nation’s leading metropolitan newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. The design is relatively modular, save for stories that run on the grid’s two outer columns. In order to differentiate opinion pieces from straight news stories, red is incorporated in the drop cap at a column’s start, in the columnists’ name and/or the column’s title. It doesn’t appear the L.A. Times, which prints on broadsheet,  regularly deviates from black or grey colored text in headlines or its serif typeface, as we’ve observed in some international newspapers.

Softer, more magazine-like pieces are presented differently than hard news stories, in that they break from the paper’s six-column grid and are often presented in two wider columns. In a couple instances, some of these more magazine-like pieces were presented in a wider single column with greater tracking between letters.  In the last two weeks worth of Los Angeles Times front pages, the most dominant image was always a photo, as opposed to an illustration or information graphic. Head shots are also incorporated on the newspaper’s front page fairly generously.

Design-wise, I feel The Los Angeles Times is more restrained compared to other newspapers we’ve discussed in class, though that isn’t necessarily a negative. Personally, I feel the design conveys a level of sophisticated authority that’s always useful when trying to communicate a message to an audience.

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Debbie Truong