November 5, 2008

Designing History

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America has voted and Barack Obama is the new president of the United States of America. Students storm the libraries, cheers erupt in Collegetown Bars, and the staff of the Cornell Daily Sun frolick, drunk, through the Commons into a party held by the Ithaca Workers Council.
The staff heads back to 139 W. State street and up to the board room to hear the election speech. With Obama’s word of hope and message of change, we file downstairs to finish up the paper. Time to design the front page.
With the level of excitement on campus it’s clear: this news is huge. To follow suit, the front page must be huge. Obama’s name appears in clear white letters, roughly a third of the way down the page, beneath a large, banner photo. The font is exactly 180 pt tall, representing a 180 degree change from the republican control of house, senate and president 4 years ago, to the wide-margine democratic control we find today.[img_assist|nid=33307|title=A page to remember|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
There was much discussion around the photo editor’s desk: should we run a national photo of Obama’s speech, or a local shot of students reacting to the news. At the end of the day, the Daily Sun decided to keep things local, as an homage to our readers, and to document this moment, a la mode Cornell, in the Daily Sun archives.
The choice of white text was made mostly to help it stand apart from the photo. But a cool effect occurs when the photo editor brings out the redtones in the warm collegetown bar shot. The page becomes red, white and blue. Very patriotic indeed.
Knockout text is a perennial favorite of the back page, which often turns fun colors like green on Monday mornings after big football games. For the front page, we now find navy blue amid a sea of text for two stories: one national, and one local.
To break up the headlines and show our winning candidate, a secondary photo of Obama (not currently chosen yet) provides a national contrast to the local focus. A white photo frame continues the patriotic color scheme and provides the sort of framing contrast a traditional black one could not.
Our “big deal” sans serif headline makes a comeback for the election, but not bannered, reflecting that while this news is big, it’s not a breaking story. Now back to some drunk reveling… I here there are riots in Collegetown, and I’m heading up with our photo editor, Jenn Vargas ’09.