Field Notes: A1 and Cover

The National Post is a daily broadsheet newspaper published out of Toronto. The publication uses a six column grid, but after looking at the last few issues, I noticed that they sometimes stretch content across three columns with quite a bit of white space surrounding the text, which makes their grid a little less obvious. It took some digging through a number of past issues to really figure out that it was a six-column grid they’re working with.

As is typically the case, the front page of the National Post acts as and entry point to the rest of the paper. It uses strong visuals–both illustrations and photographs–on the cover, often featuring bold colors to match the tone of the publication’s nameplate which always runs on the lefthand side in the same bright yellow behind black text. I think the paper does a good job of choosing graphic elements that balance the nameplate.

Teasers often run across the top of the front page, typically complemented by a photograph, and also towards the bottom underneath the nameplate with an index below that. The paper seems to be somewhat inconsistent with the written content they run on the first page. Sometimes they tease a sports story, other days they tease an opinion story called “Comment,” so it really depends on the issue. They do consistently run a banner teaser for the Finance section on weekdays, always in white text on a teal background. Hierarchy seems to be established through variance of color, size, and typeface selections, as you’ll see headlines run in sans serif and serif fonts, all caps, and italic or oblique type, with placement varying per issue.

I chose the following examples because I found the inconsistencies from issue to issue very interesting. On the first the primary/largest graphic is an illustration much like a comic you would see buried in the politics section of the NYTimes. The second example features two interesting text wraps to accompany two opinion stories, which are not generally considered breaking news stories in the traditional sense. The third example shows the six-column grid more clearly, and the primary image features an overlay of part of the headline text. From these examples and others I’ve seen, the paper seems to take some creative and unconventional approaches to the design and editorial content featured on the front page.