When I first looked at the DMN today I was disappointed. I don’t know why, the paper looks the same way it always does. I guess I just never realized how little color they actually used – especially on the front page. Aside from a blue online logo here, a random red splash there, and the weather illustration, color is relegated to the labels used for the inside sections and the photo. It isn’t lost me now why so many people pass over the DMN and think it’s not engaging. It’s just seriously drab. The most colorful part of the front page is the ad at the bottom from Kroger, which is really sad.
Section fronts do a little better, maybe because the news isn’t too, for lack of a better word, newsy. I thought this section, aside from the standard color banner, is really engaging. Of course, it benefits from the art they chose, but it seems like all the other section fronts were more dynamic and had better use of color. Here is another section front that I thought was really great, and used shades of black really well to grab the reader. The flashes of red in the illustration also are great.
It’s also important to note that there are brief flashes of genius when it comes to color and design. They are just so far and in between though that it’s hard to get excited to keep picking up the paper.
So all hope isn’t lost for the DMN. I think they have a very specific color pallet that they stick to and don’t like to deviate from. They favor blue, green and red in very specific shades and hues and only use purple and yellow in the Sunday edition when they run those two special sections. Again, I guess this can all point back to their easier-to-read motto and using only a very limited amount of colors to not make the reader confused by all these different colors, but I think they have proven that when they do use colors, it can be very effective. I hope whoever did the layout on the right proved some people in the newsroom how cool a page can look when you take some risks.