A look at newspaper logo trends and styles

Out of all the evolutions in newspaper design in the last century, none have been more transformative than the styling of nameplates. They are the crowning jewel of a newspaper’s design, setting the tone for the style of the entire publication.

The nameplate is the lynchpin in a publications brand. And to most casual observers it is the single most recognizable element of a newspaper’s design. It helps readers to develop a connection between the brand and the content in a way that enables the formation of preferences and judgements.

Technology has heavily influenced nameplate design trends over the years. And although some newspapers have opted for a traditional look, paying homage to the letterpress era, the opportunity to innovate and explore new styles has never been so apparent.

Here’s a visual look at several different North American broadsheet nameplate styles.

Blocking


Visually separating the nameplate within a block of colour can give it significantly more page dominance. It draws all of the weight to the top of the page to showcase the paper’s brand.











Clipped images


Interweaving clipped images or graphics around the nameplate can bring a typographic logo to life. Readers drawn to faces and photos are forced to subconsciously separate the images from the nameplate, and in the process it builds their connection to the brand and the content.





Content above


Running content above the nameplate can be a bit of a gamble, but if executed carefully, the impact can be worth the risk. Stories or photos with mass appeal can serve to capture the readers immediate attention. As their focus shifts from the lead story, the nameplate is the next element they see, allowing them to connect the content with the brand.







Advertising above


There is no doubt that the top of page one is primo real estate. There are usually mixed opinions about selling ad space above the nameplate, but for papers that go that route, the ads can have the effect of drawing the readers focus to the top of the page. Just so long as they don’t overwhelm the page.



Less is more


Many iconic papers have done very little to alter their nameplate over the years, opting for traditional, less-is-more aesthetic. For these newspapers, the long-established and clean look speaks volumes to the credo of the publication’s brand. And if it ain’t broke…







More is more


Alternatively, some newspapers load as much stuff as they can on and around the nameplate. Sometimes this can work to keep the reader’s attention up top, but without an incredibly sharp editing eye, it can quickly turn into a overcrowded mess.



Incorporating icons


Integrating locally recognized architecture (usually a line-drawing) into a nameplate design was trendy several years ago, but I seem to be seeing it less and less. It brands the paper as being distinctively local and adds a visual element to the logo, making it easier to recall.





Horizontal and vertical rules


Using horizontal and vertical lines above and/or below the nameplate can be a great way to add structure to the design. They clearly divide elements without overwhelming the page.





Different shapes


Most commonly newspaper nameplates are oriented horizontally. I’d have to speculate that this is because of the technology that newspapers have had to work with over the years. Traditionally nameplates were composed of nothing more than typography, which in the English language, runs horizontally from left to right. It’s becoming more common for newspapers to experiment with different nameplate configurations.









Playing with whitespace


Using whitespace can be an incredibly effective way of visually highlighting a newspaper’s logo. However, it needs to be tackled with care. There is a huge difference between whitespace and emptiness.







Skyboxes


Skyboxes are cordoned off blocks of space used to throw to content inside the paper. They keep the reader’s focus around the nameplate and add structure to the design.





Teasers


Teasers typically accomplish the same effect as skyboxes without adding the extra weight at the top of the page from being contained in a box.





Category: Trends

17 comments

  1. Well done.

    I was attracted because I was checking if any newspapers were moving the logo to the right to give more prominence to the haedline. However I see that most newspapers find that risky. You can check our newspaper’s logo on newseum.com under Haber Ekspres, Izmir, Turkey.

    Best regards,

    A Bilgin Owner, Haber Ekspres

  2. Hi Aydin,

    Thanks for visiting the site and commenting.

    There is an overwhelming tendency for North American newspapers to run their logo either to the left or centered. But that’s not to say that it can’t be pulled off successfully. The Sun Sentinel out of Florida often runs their logo along the right side of the page, and it works for them.

    Best of luck with the Haber Exspress.

  3. i came across your site while looking for ideas for the re-launching of a high school paper.
    thanks a lot.

  4. Hi I am a designer for Ekurhuleninews a community paper in the East Rand, South Africa. We currently in the process of overhauling the whole newspaper comming up with new strategies from department to department and my concern is how to run a proper graphic design department for a newspaper from structuring a proper ogarnogram and how we work wiith other departments especillay marking and editorial. if anyone can help me in regard of how the design depart should work. please help, i have to present this to management in 3 days.

    Kind Regards
    Charles

  5. I got to say you got a pretty amazing site….I need your help, you see our school was just a neophyte in the world of journalism…. Then I found your site which I found is plenty useful. Do you have more tips like what fonts are to be used the scale the figures, gauges? Online resources and Open/Free resources? Thanks in regards 🙂

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Article by: Matt French

Assistant art director for The Globe and Mail. Matthew is an award-winning editorial designer based in Toronto, Canada.