The Mario Blog
The Philippine Daily Inquirer: it’s a new look, new rethink across platforms

Today, readers of The Philippine Daily Inquirer get what constitutes a new newspaper.  It is not just the design that has changed, but also the approach to storytelling across the media quintet.

It all began with an initial “getting to know you” workshop in Manila 18 months ago.  The executive team of The Philippine Daily Inquirer had invited me to come meet them to explore ways in which we at Garcia Media could help the 30-year daily with a sound history of investigative journalism to get better as it functioned in a digital world.

The workshop included an honest appraisal and evaluation of the Inquirer and how it presented the news—both visually and journalistically.  There was already major progress on the digital side, and The Inquirer even boasted of a smartwatch presence at the time of this workshop, something that impressed me.  There were, however, the usual gaps between how journalists viewed the print and digital editions.

We decided that there could be a true collaboration between Garcia Media and The Inquirer, and, thus, the process began. My first move was to bring in the talented designer Adonis Durado, creative director of the Times of Oman, and one of the most award winning designers in the industry today, to accompany me on this project.  There was no art director per se at The Inquirer, so Adonis and I mounted a search, in conjunction with the Inquirer team, and it was a win win when we were able to bring in Ralph (Apiong) Bagares, who has accompanied us in this exciting journey.

Several workshops and prototypes later, the Inquirer that appears today displays a contemporary and colorful look (appropriate to the also colorful Filipino culture and the vibrant, and sometimes chaotic, streets in which it circulates), but also improved storytelling strategies that adapt to the various platforms of the media quintet: smartwatch, smartphone, online, print and tablet.


The daily edition

Here is the front page of the first day edition of The Inquirer.

The last front page of The Inquirer with the old look next to the new

We decided to create a distinct look and feel, and content, to separate the daily edition from Sundays, which is a more lean back day where readers spend more time with their newspaper and expect for analysis and interpretation.  The first Sunday edition of The Inquirer with its new look will publish Oct. 9.

Modular advertising

Advertising, a vital part of the Inquirer, has undergone a total transformation and has gone modular, something new and different for Filipino newspapers, most of which still create what I call the staircase to hell in the positioning of ads. This was not easy to accomplish and I even addressed  a luncheon gathering of the newspaper’s advertisers to convince them that modular design brings order to the pages where their ads appear.

The Type and Color Palettes

The type palette of the new Inquirer includes:

Body text—Sindelar
Section Headers—Druk
Logo—Fritz Quadrata

Color is a key element of the Inquirer’s rethink.  We emphasize vibrant primary colors.



The logo

We prepared several studies for possible changes in the logo of the newspaper, the consensus was that the one using Fritz Quadrata worked best. Adonis Durado worked on creating a distinctive look for the letter Q.

The digital platforms

The new Inquirer is proud to showcase content across the five platforms of the media quintet, as seen here:




The Inquirer’s smartwatch edition is for alerts of breaking news stories.

The Mobile App

The Mobile app includes a menu for breaking news, trending, bookmarks and notifications.

Users can scan their own photos and send them as part of a report titled My Story

The tablet incorporates pdfs of the printed newspaper that become an e-paper edition.


The new offers users a view of 8 stories on the home page, substituting the existing carrousel of stories for a “card” system that gives each story immediate prominence. Hierarchy prevails for a lead story that is updated at all times. The Latest Headlines feature has been retained, but not at the very top of the screen.

Take a look at some of today’s pages from print edition

The team

Coming up

1.  Joey Nolasco  – Executive Editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer
2.  Jun Bandayrel – Associate Editor for Page One Operations
3.  Nilo Paurom   – Editor-in-Chief, Sunday Inquirer
4.  Jun Engracia  – News Editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer
5.  Volt Contreras – Metro editor
6.  Raul Marcelo   – Business editor
7.  Thelma San Juan – Lifestyle editor
8.  Rito Asilo – Entertainment editor
9.  Teddyvic Melendres – Sports editor
10. Pennie dela Cruz – Associate Editor, Sunday Inquirer
10. Mike Ubac – Day Desk editor
11. Tina Dumlao  – Desk editor, Business section
12. Rem Zamora – Photo Chief
13. Miner Generalao – Research Dept. Head

1.  Ralph Bagares       –  Group Art and Design Director
2.  Elizalde Pusung     –  OIC for Art and Design, PDI
3.  Ricky Velarde       –  Design Consultant, Sunday Inquirer
4.  Belen Belesario     –  Page Designer
5.  Jerito dela Cruz    –  Page Designer
6.  Steph Bravo Semilla –  Illustrator/Graphics Artist
7.  Albert Rodriguez    –  Illustrator/Graphics Artist
8.  Lynette Villariba   –  Art Director, PDI

Editorial Production
1.  Mary Ann Perido  –  Section head, Editorial Production System

Central Desk
1.  Juliet Javellana –  Director, Central Desk
2.  JV Rufino   –  Social Media Director and Deputy Director, Central Desk

1.  John Nery           –  Editor-in-Chief, and Associate Editor for Group Special Projects
2.  Sephy Garibay       –  Web Designer
3.  Matikas Santos      –  Newslab
4.  Sara Pacia          –  Newslab

1.  Pepito Olarte       – Senior Consultant, Group Sales
2.  Lita Pascual        – AVP Advertising, Philippine Daily Inquirer
3.  Cathy Pumarega      – Sales Director, Group Sales

Information Technology
1.  Gary Libby         – VP Pre-press and IT, Philippine Daily Inquirer
2.  Josie Mendoza      – AVP – IT, Philippine Daily Inquirer
3.  Noli Navarro       – Network, Information Technology


Tomorrow: The Inquirer’s marketing campaign, both internal and external.

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