The permanence of print
It has been over a month since the Bulletin (and the West Quebec Post) unveiled, or unzipped, their make-over. We’ve had these weeks to notice the changes and evaluate their effects. Do they make the newspaper easier to read? More attractive and enticing to pick up? Are the articles easier to follow and is it easier to identify the journalists who researched and wrote them?
A complete newspaper make-over is no small thing. It takes incredible study and comparison, plenty of time to experiment; it demands an attention to detail and a consistency of purpose that only the best graphic designers can muster.
The changes include not only the masthead and banners – on every page – but also the type and size of the letter fonts, the line spacing, the gutters between articles and down the centre of the page, the page numbers and ID, photo cut lines, journalists’ bylines (now with thumbnail photos), and so on. Daniel Lacasse (PromoPub) has done a remarkable job, as has the Bulletin’s
It is a normal practice to keep up with the times and incorporate modern fashions or discoveries about reading and gaining information. But such a massive undertaking also shows the Bulletin’s interest and confidence in the print medium and its future. That future is under doubt by many (just as long ago many predicted television would wipe out movie theatres), but there’s no doubt within the Bulletin’s crew, as this accomplishment shows
This attention to design principles, clarity, and ease of reading strengthens the Bulletin’s commitment to the permanence of print. Newspapers are raw material for future historians – Twitter bursts will unlikely survive, as newspapers do and have been doing for centuries. A gamma burst from the sun, or nuclear catastrophe, could easily wipe out every single digital post or stockpile, leaving our times vacant, as a second Dark Age for future historians. It is hard-copy print that will survive – just as we are still using cuneiform symbols in clay, hieroglyphics, and illuminated manuscripts to put together histories of our past. Hard-stuff lasts. Electrical micro-bursts don’t.
Your letter to the editor will be read by future historians; your facebook postings won’t even exist.
Just as this face-lift shows our willingness to invest in our media, it also is a measure of our commitment to bringing Aylmer readers the best of all that we do – the best journalism, the best design, the most stimulating opinions.
My question to the Bulletin’s readers is: how do you like it? Is the paper easier and more attractive to read? Do the ads stand out a little better? Are the pages and sections more easily identifiable? Or not? Let us know via e-mail or your social media. Mention your evaluation to any of the Bulletin’s team. These changes are done, in the end, to make your media experience a better one. Are we reaching that goal?