The Daily Orange Redesign: Flags and typefaces

The first question I generally get when talking to people about the upcoming redesign is whether or not we are changing our flag. Our current flag was based off a 1910 Daily Orange logo that Jared Novack, then Editor-in-Chief, found in 2005. Logo designer Jim Parkinson then edited the 1910 logo, creating our current flag. Jared intended for this new design to be long standing as opposed to the previously constantly changing flag.

dailyorangeflags

When our initial “redesign congress” met last semester, it was unanimous that we wanted to keep the flag. We all felt that it was classic, tasteful, and fit the aesthetic style we were going for. One change we do want to make is justifying the flag to the left in order to make room for teases on the right. I also played around with stacking “The Daily” on top of “Orange,” – as I did here in our most recent feature guide – to help break up the front page. However we agreed that this took up too much real estate.

Feature guide, Sports front featuring Knockout, Feature front featuring Electra

Feature guide, Sports front featuring Knockout, Feature front featuring Electra

Making a decision about keeping the flag was very straightforward compared to choosing typefaces. Our two predominant typefaces for mac heads – our term for large, punchy headlines accompanied by smaller deks – are Knockout and Electra. We tend to use Electra for feature designs and Knockout for sports and news stories. The consensus was that Electra looks a little bit dated so we’d like to find a replacement. However, deciding whether or not to keep Knockout has been a point of contention.

Knockout is one of the longest standing elements of the D.O. It has a lot of weights that give our designs variety. Knockout in all caps is the perfect bold for our sports section. On the other hand, one of my dilemmas is that our current type styles lack a thin serif that I think could help give features a more magazine-like feel. However I don’t want to introduce a second sans serif typeface simply for a thin variation because it may look inconsistent.

One of the Pinterest boards created by the staff to help find type inspiration.

One of the Pinterest boards created by the staff to help find type inspiration.

Finding the all-encompassing sans serif to replace Knockout with tons of weight variation that would work in each section is challenging. I assigned my staff of six designers to look for typefaces to replace our current styles. They presented me with plenty of great options. I have been testing the typefaces by creating new section headers and I can’t seem to make a final call. I am being conscious of the fact that these styles will be around for the next 10 years so I want to make sure they aren’t too trendy. Recently I have been playing with slab serifs like Ziggurat and Clarendon. For a sans serif, Whitney, Benton and Interstate are contenders. The hardest part is making a decision and sticking with it. It’s easy to find something wrong with every typeface.

Question: Have you ever had this dilemma? How have you handled this situation?