Field Notes – Color

The Dallas Morning News does not use a wide variety of colors throughout the publication. Most of the color is found in advertisements or photos. When you go through the paper, all of the body copy, cutlines and headlines are all printed in black ink. The most color that is seen on the majority of pages is a small blue rule line that is used to highlight jumps, email addresses, bylines, websites and refer page numbers.

Other color that is seen on the front page is references to stories in the Metro, Business and SportsDay sections. These section heads appear on the front page in the same color as the section head for that department. This allows readers to associate the promos with the specific sections. The front page also takes the opportunity to use color when featuring different data. The data is printed in red and is easily contrasted from the black text. In the paper’s Graphics Stylebook, there is a set order of colors used in graphs and data. All data starts with red and then continues down the palette as more information is needed.

The promo above the nameplate always uses a light blue screen. This screen is carried through the paper in other promos on the front cover. This helps readers navigate the page and see where they can find out more information.

When I started searching for color palette information for The Dallas Morning News, I happened to stumble upon the Graphics Stylebook. I kind of felt like a kid at Christmas! It was so interesting to see how much is stylized and what designers have to follow. And I was able to find out the typefaces for the newspaper as well.

I think the DMN should take better advantage of their ability to use color in the newspaper. They don’t really use color to show structure and hierarchy. Most of the color is used as accents to the black text.