The Colors of Libération

The front page of Libération represents the main colors that are consistently used throughout the publication. These include: red, black, white, aqua blue and magenta.

First of all, the nameplate is in red, black and white. The bright red color stands out on the page, and people in France will immediately recognize Libération even at a distance. As discussed in class, the color red is used by many other newspapers and magazines. It gives a sense of urgency and importance. So from the very beginning of the publication, the colors of the nameplate set the overall tone of the newspaper.

As shown above, colors are effectively used in section flags to represent the type of news stories that the audience will be reading. Libération starts out with hard news stories, in which the section flags are in red. The red color adds urgency and implies the gravity of the situation. The color then shifts to aqua blue, which still includes newsworthy stories, but those that are a bit lighter than the ones presented at the beginning of the newspaper. The cool blue color lessens the seriousness of the stories. Towards the end, the color magenta is used to present soft news stories, which include culture and entertainment news. The bubbly magenta color complements entertainment news well. Then, it switches back to red at the end to circle back to the nameplate on the A1. Also, it is important to note that the color of the section flag determines the color that will be used on the page.

Libération effectively uses colors to create hierarchy. Inside the publication, colors are mainly used to highlight a point or to show where the readers are. Pull quotes, drop caps, infographics and promos are in color to emphasize important points of the stories. Section flags, sidebar story labels and subheads are in color to show where the readers are in the story or in the newspaper. This makes it much easier for the readers to follow along inside the publication.

Headlines and body text (including bylines, credit lines and cut lines) are always in black. The bold black headlines make it easier for the readers to recognize where the story begins among other elements on the page. The big headlines initially grab the reader’s attention, while the other colors naturally lead the readers’ eyes to other elements on the page. Moreover, Libération uses a lot of white space, compared to traditional American newspapers. Thus, despite the vibrant colors on the page, because there’s enough white space, it is not distractive to the readers.

In addition to texts and infographics, Libération pays a lot of attention to the photos that they use in order to match the colors of the different sections. As shown above, the dominant image of the spread corresponds with the aqua blue color of the section flag, pull quotes, and sidebar story labels. This photo selection further adds uniformity to the design of the layout.

Overall, I think Libération does an excellent job in effectively using its main colors. The bright colors – red, aqua blue and magenta – add personality to the publication. It is new, fresh and modern, unlike the traditional newspapers that lack vibrant colors. In a way, the colors add life to the otherwise boring and lifeless newspaper. Moreover, the colors alone imply that the publication reports both hard and soft news stories, which can appeal to a broader audience. Furthermore, its technique of alternating between warm and cool colors creates a nice balance on the pages. At last, the publication’s great attention to detail regarding colors strengthens the uniformity of the overall design of the publication.