Field Notes: The Los Angeles Times_Colors

The Los Angeles Times typically saves its use of color for its photography. Much of the type that you’ll find in the publication is black. Body copy, headlines and cutlines are printed in black.

However what I found interesting about the Times is that they are quite fond of the color red. This use of the color red struck me as a surprising pattern of color use because the paper is so “traditional” in its typeface choices and layout.

I’ve noticed that when the LA Times wants their type to “pop” they frequently use the color red. When red appears as a headline or byline, the letters are always set in all caps. There are other colors often seen in the publication: the teal color for the Sports Section flag and the beige-brown and beige-orange colors used for the Special Sections and California Sections.  Still it is clear that red is the key color for important aspects of a certain day’s issue.

The red is an excellent choice because of the attention it draws on a page dominated by black and white. Also, red text can easily jump out into the readers view when it is set against the Times’ vibrant photography.  The Calendar Section and the LA Events (special) section are the only sections that are set are set in the color red. This color is also effective for use in graphics and with text that may be placed near the bottom of a page but may still need to be singled out as an important piece of the layout.

These colors: red, beige, black, teals (and soft blues) all work together to give the publication a tone that is dependable and serious. Yet with an edge that captures what may be “hip” and trending. The bright colors and lively photographs make the publication adventurous and continue to maintain the paper’s ongoing sense of relevancy.