[Editor’s note: Lizzie Hart — a junior at Syracuse University and presentation director of its student newspaper, The Daily Orange — is leading the paper through a redesign of its print edition. In this periodic series, she’ll chat about the successes and challenges she runs into along the way.]
With the start of the new semester this past week, we launched the print and online redesign of The Daily Orange. Throughout the upcoming weeks, some kinks will still be ironed out. We hope to use our new design elements in creative ways to keep the paper looking fresh long after the debut.
Starting with the front page, some of the changes we made include removing the blue tease boxes and opting for cleaner teases. We also adjusted the teases to be more flexible so we can run large cut outs with the teases and diversify the front page from day to day.
We changed the content on page two to include more substantial material that highlights Syracuse University students. It is now the home to our front-of-book features including Meet Monday, Tattoo Tuesday, Wardrobe Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday.
On each section front, there is a new header style. This flag was designed to be flexible and house teases to online content, interesting tweets and stats the editors find, as well as additional blurbs that relating to relevant stories for that section.
One criticism of our previous design was students were confused about which section they were reading. To help clarify this, we branded each of the sections with its first letter, so news is represented with an “N” and so on. This element is carried throughout the front-page teases, section flags and jump page folio elements.
The news front now contains a new feature we are calling the news bar. The goal of the news bar was to both break up the design with an alternative story format and deliver interesting, easy to digest information to readers. The bar uses lists and graphics to offer something unique to readers with themes that change daily and highlight national news stories, local crime, most read stories from our website and state news.
In both the news and feature sections, we revamped the specialty pages that serve to focus on one topic once a week. The branding in each section was modernized with our new type pallet. The feature specialty page brandings now hold key information on the topics being covered such as the album information for our music review page “From the Studio” and hours and location for our restaurant review page “From the Kitchen.”
As far as general styling goes, I have introduced design elements such as a 6 pt. rule that is carried through different elements of the paper. This creates a nice thin, thick dynamic that is replicated in our type treatment. Additionally we have a new circle icon system to mark quotes, tweets, Facebook posts and online photo galleries, among other things. These are used in the headers as well as break out boxes throughout the paper. This circle theme is used in other places, including columnist headshots and students perspectives.
Overall, we have been generally pleased in that we accomplished our two main goals of getting additional voices into the paper and creating more entry points. We stressed to our staff that the redesign is just the first step in the process of improving our paper and we must all continue to change our mindsets and think innovatively when it comes to content to achieve the creative result we desire.