Typography – Libération

Libération alternates between sans serif and serif typeface to create a nice balance on the page, and it is pretty consistent throughout the paper. The publication has a nice blend of modern (sans serif) and traditional (serif) text. The nameplate, headlines, cutlines, bylines/credit lines, folios, sidebars, advertisements and the weather forecast are in sans serif typeface. On the other hand, the actual content, such as the body text, decks and pull quotes are in serif typeface.

Compared to the sans serif typefaces, serif typefaces have more weight because of the classic, traditional newspaper typeface look it has. Due to this differentiation, readers can immediately know what type of news they’re reading. Furthermore, in my opinion, the French accents give a more sophisticated look to the publication. Also, I prefer the French quotation marks « » over “ ”. As aforementioned in my past field notes, the shape of the French quotation marks creates a better balance and provides a definite closure to the words.

In addition, Libération creates hierarchy on the page through the usage of bold type, italicized type, all caps, sizes and colors. Whenever it wants to emphasize something, it makes the letters bold, italicized, capitalized or a bigger size so that they can stand out among other words on the page. These methods are used in headlines, pull quotes, folios, sections, captions and names of the authors. This is done to differentiate from the body text and to allow the readers to easily find information apart from the main stories in the newspaper. Especially the headlines of major stories of the day are in bold and at a much bigger size so that they won’t go unnoticed. Furthermore, the publication often plays with the drop caps. Depending on the tone or the characteristic of the story, some are serif, sans serif, bold or colored.

Color is a major design element in the publication. Libération effectively utilizes the nameplate’s main colors – red, black and white. Other colors that the publication frequently uses are aqua blue and magenta, which are the colors of the section flags. These are used in subheadings and pull quotes. They stand out on the page and catch the reader’s attention, but are not too distractive. In addition, these colors add personality and style to the paper. Libération uses bright colors in the text, giving a sense of freedom and release, which is what the name of the newspaper means in French.

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