I went into my field notes pretty unprepared for a paper like the KC Star. I grew up reading The New York Times and The Boston Globe, two papers that take very traditional routes in design. Yes, they have modern infographics and endearing photo stories, but the use of color in mastheads and major identifiers of the publications were not used. Upon looking at the masthead of the KC Star, which isn’t afraid to cover the text with photographs and colors, let me know I was in for a different experience.
Almost everything in the paper is color-coded. Most sections, promos, logos and teasers use multiple color palates and bold, sans serif typeface. This gives the paper a sleek, modern feel on first glance.
But the Star is able to keep the dignified nature other papers use through its photos, language and story selection. Yes, everything down to the folio is colorful and pictures are in your face, but the content is real and focuses on the major stories of the day. Multiple photo galleries are used via the rule of thirds on big articles, and infographics accompany stories that require number crunching.
A major highlight for me was the way the paper made promos and teasers a major factor on each page. This made it seem like there wasn’t a thin group of information – the loud and colorful teasers made the reader feel like there was much more to experience inside.
The KC Star was actually a major factor for my prototype. As you’ll see from where I started, the Star convinced me to take chances, especially with color. This changed my mastheads and section fronts from traditional black and white to parts of promos in colorful boxes. The KC Star showed me there was a way to stay dignified with a splash of excitement added in.