The Mario Blog
11.01.2017—1am
White (space) is the new trend for print

Behold white space, designers always remind everyone who will listen. It is good for the eyes, it creates a cleaner environment for various elements on a page, it rocks. We are seeing more use of white space on the pages of printed newspapers.

Let me put my disclaimer out here first: I am a fan of white space as an essential element of design. I have said so in my books. I continue to reinforce that notion in my workshops. I think white space is like punctuation on a page: it allows us to take a deep breath, and to separate one item from another.

And I am happy to see that, for example, the opinion pages of The New York Times are now building white space as part of the grid.  I like also, as we see below, on the Times’ editorial page, that the alley of white space separates the newspaper’s editorial from the letters to the editor on the right. The grid allows for the editorial to be set in wider column than the narrow set for the letters. All of this is good.

 

 

The same grid concept is used on all of the opinion pages, as we see below. Sometimes that “alley” of white space can be used to incorporate small texts.

 

 

Meanwhile, at USA Today

Just as I was putting together this blog post about “white space” on the opinion pages of The New York Times, an Atlanta friend, Jim Okula,  sent me a note asking if USA Today had undergone a redesign lately. His text read:

Morning.  Is it my imagination or has USAToday undergone a redesign/touchup?  Columns are wider; more white space; maybe less content?

I answered that I was not aware of a recent print redesign for USA Today. So, he sent me pages to show me what he meant.  In these pages we see two things of interest: more white space above headlines, for example. Also, use of wider columns across these section fronts.

Okula did study the pages carefully and got back to me with this:

Checked it against an issue from last week.  I was right.  I would bet changes to accommodate fewer reporters and few stories.  Columns wider.  More white space.  Less content.  Not a happy camper.  Questionable value.

 

 

Jim Okula, who is now retired after decades working as a communications creative, is quick to point out that he, too, likes white space:

 

I love white space also.  While USA Today did “news lite or news brief” sometimes called the McNewspaper, I loved it for what it is.  Now it all seems like sections from the Sunday NYT, which I also love.  To me it has gone from a NEWSpaper to a features paper.

Today each section was only 6 pages.  Is this the last iteration before there is no more print edition?  If this is not accepted, is the death kneel playing?

 

Two different uses of white space

We see above two distinct uses of white space. The Times’ has used white space wisely, incorporating it as part of a grid that allows for white space to be functional, separating content and creating air on a page that tends to be text heavy due to the nature of the content.  The Times’ basic grid is six columns, so the designers turn that into a 12 column grid, to allow for that skinny rail to be a systematic part of the look of the page.

I am not so sure that the excessive white space we see above the headline (top) of USA Today is systematic.  The danger here is that, as my friend Jim related, the reader sees the excessive use of white space as reducing the value of the content. “We get less,” say the readers when white space is not part of a grid, but appears to be there because there is nothing else to put in its place.

Good thoughts for designers of print newspapers at a time when value offered is key, especially for print readers.

 

 

Of related interest: about USA Today and format

 

https://www.poynter.org/news/usa-today-network-brings-together-109-local-newsrooms-redesign-print-nameplates-wont-change

 

Mario’s Speaking Engagements

 

Nov. 16-19, WAN IFRA Latin America, Buenos Aires, Argentina

April 18-19, 2018-Newscamp ,Augsburg,  Germany.

 

June 3-6, 2018The Seminar, San Antonio, Texas.

 

 

 

Our digital transformation workshops

If you would like to find out more about our workshops for digital transformation, email me: mario@garciamedia.com

I will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information. Our workshops are offered in both English and Spanish.

 

 

TheMarioBlog post #2726

 

 

Blog Post01.22.2018—1am
Are we using better photos today?
Blog Post01.19.2018—1am
The challenge of that fold
Blog Post01.18.2018—1am
The Washington Post: another profitable year
Blog Post01.17.2018—1am
Did I really read that much?
Blog Post01.15.2018—4am
The Guardian changes more than just the format
Blog Post—1am
Are vulgar words now part of a journalist’s styleguide?
Blog Post01.12.2018—4pm
The new New York Times campaign
Blog Post01.11.2018—1am
The good news about paying for content
Blog Post01.08.2018—3pm
Prof. Miguel Urabayen (1926-2018): Tribute to a grand maestro
Blog Post—2pm
Fire & Fury: Here’s a cover that tells more of the story
Blog Post—1am
End of print edition for Montreal’s La Presse
Blog Post01.07.2018—11am
Happy New Year…..I am back, sort of
Blog Post12.19.2017—10am
My prediction for 2018: we will write, edit & design for mobile
Blog Post12.13.2017—1am
Best wishes for the holiday season!
Blog Post12.12.2017—1am
Every year should be year of the audience
Blog Post12.11.2017—1am
The Post Most: curated content as easy as 1-2-3
Blog Post12.08.2017—1am
The power of a comic
Blog Post12.07.2017—1am
Those European ePapers Continue Growing
Blog Post12.06.2017—1am
Journalism students and print (not a romance)
Blog Post12.05.2017—1am
The nuances of using ragged right type
Blog Post12.04.2017—1am
Monocle’s habit-forming daily briefing
Blog Post12.01.2017—1am
2018: More digital everything, more of the Trump factor
Blog Post11.30.2017—1am
That time of the year to think what next
Blog Post11.29.2017—1am
Apple goes romantic
Blog Post11.28.2017—1am
E-mail newsletters can be a real seductive hook
Blog Post11.27.2017—8am
An e-newsletter with visual appeal
Blog Post11.21.2017—1am
So 2017 was really NOT the year of video……
Blog Post11.20.2017—1am
The New York Times: the Spanish weekly
Blog Post11.17.2017—5am
Paywalls, storytelling highlight Latin American conference
Blog Post11.15.2017—5am
In Argentina: the hot topic is “paywalls”
Blog Post11.14.2017—1am
The NY Times’ Jobs Classified: Really?
Blog Post11.13.2017—1am
At The New York Times: a kids section on Sunday
Blog Post11.10.2017—12am
“I read it on Facebook.”
Blog Post11.09.2017—12am
The flow of a breaking new story in the mobile era
Blog Post11.08.2017—12am
When content hits the spot
Blog Post11.07.2017—12am
When hierarchy makes a statement
Blog Post11.06.2017—12am
When the advertising wraps around
Blog Post11.03.2017—1am
New Hebrew fonts from Typotheque
Blog Post11.02.2017—1am
Favorite branding logos? No surprises
Blog Post11.01.2017—7am
A New York terrorist attack on the front pages
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.