Yes, I’ve been a bit quiet. In the weeks before Christmas (also our busiest time of year), I led the redesign of Church Times. As a cost-saving move to tabloid format necessitated some layout tweaks, the opportunity was taken for a general freshen-up.
Everyone agreed we should honour the design of our revamped website, so each section has corresponding colours. These are picked out in the running heads (now also with previous footer details), tint panels, and various typographic elements. The introduction of heavy horizontal lines using these colour codes indicates the separation of articles as well as sections.
Although I wanted heavier rules, along with bolder dots for the verticals, for yet more emphasis and a lively feel, the editor wasn’t convinced. I chose my battles wisely and instead earned a small victory in closing up the space between pictures and captions. We were trying to save space after all.
I sourced a lovely font, Whitney, to replace tired old Gill, and we’re all happy with its versatility and easiness on the eye. It looks serious but friendly and I believe it will age well. Unfortunately, we weren’t let loose with the masthead, which looks a bit tired – and wonky! I was confident we could do something to smarten it up without losing identity or authority. Instead, we have retained it within a sharper front page layout which allows for dynamic images and text that won’t interfere with each other as before.
Enough waffle, see for yourself. I’ve now seen the new tabloid format for The Guardian, launched just days after Church Times (we had several months less time and fewer staff to work on ours!), and was interested to read about their process. There will be revisions along the way, of course, as we respond to readers and the constraints of the new format. So far I’m pleased to say it feels like we have gained more than we have lost.