August 27, 2009


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ANNNDDD… we’re back! Another school year, another Sun redesign. The project du jour? Red Letter Daze. Just last semester I ran a series on the new look for Daze . We completely revamped the section’s style for its premiere in a new magazine format.
Well, the recession’s hit America hard folks, and even well endowed institutions like the Daily Sun need to make cuts. Opinion was shaved down to two pages, and Daze will now appear back in tabloid form.
Our task in the design department was to preserve the “look and feel” of the magazine while adopting it to the new format — a longer, more traditional page size. Other changes include fewer color pages.
I won’t show all comparisons from old to new, but one example of how simple the task was (at times) is presented by the fashion page:





Besides some strategic greyscaling and a new article tacked onto the bottom, we have almost an identical look. Some points for the trained eye: the Red Letter Daze logo has gone from the blocky reverse type (in the upper left corner) to a simple black logo in the same font. I decided to change this since the new tabloid form felt somehow lighter to me, perhaps because there was more space to spread out into, so I wanted the logo to feel lighter too. No rigorous motivations… just a gut feeling… One of the fashionistas in the top right hand corner has been switched out as well!

Page 1 has undergone the most dramatic change. For appropriate pieces, the feature story will now start on the front page, which has a more traditional newspaper feel now. The logo has been switched from reverse type (from white on red to red on white… but it’s in greyscale!). For weeks where the page will be mostly white, this is going to look like an artsy European newspaper… I’m very excited.


Page four is a nice demonstration of the additional freedom of the tabloid size. We can now fit three stories on a single page, and columns look great for this paper size! As a result, I decided to stick Overheard over on the far left in a nice slick column format.


Page five is one of the few bits of entirely new work I had to do for this redesign. It’s tabloid in the truest sense: trashy television! To bring out this feeling I used my favorite blend of skewed photographs and cartoon imagery. The artwork is all just basic shapes in the layout program we use, Quark. I traced the hand from a google image, but changed “Bud Light” to a slightly more sarcastic brand name. Note the Livestrong braclet — tres Greek, no?


Page 5 is the sole color content page, and home the feature’s carry. I know, I know, the front page would have made more sense for color, but unfortunately advertisers don’t cooperate with our design needs (the color is determined by the fact that the adjacent page is color ads). Damn capitalism.
This feature is written by yours truly, and features a walking tour of the town of Ithaca, the map is a giant composite of googleMap images. Like page 5, the photographs are skewed with drop shadows, playing with the idea of being “off grid”… that is, breaking the 90 degree angles of traditional news print. I discussed this interplay a lot in the original Daze redesign post last year.


The Complaint Department is another new element you’ll find in the retrofitted Daze. An interesting note is the mathematical trends in these images. The pointing finger gets rotated by 5 degrees in each iteration, and the shading is reduced by one half each time. It also grows by 5 percent each time in size. I find this nice juxtaposition of linear growth and exponential growth to be amusing.


Comments very much appreciated. We have some room for experimentation at the semester’s start!