Casual Newspaper Observations

aquatoad's picture

After visiting family on the west coast over the holidays, I returned home the long route due to snow in Chicago, (over 24 hrs city hopping on standby). The upside was that I got to gander at several newspapers along the way (New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle). I was too shot to compare from a content standpoint, but it was interesting from a design perspective. The SF Chronicle is a lovely looking paper, tops of the group in my opinion.

I've spent a bit of time researching the Chronicle redesign and didn't find too much (it was Danilo/Black job I think, but their site lays claim only to the sunday edition). Anyone know what the type is and who did it (not the condensed sans, the serif headline and body)? It is a beautiful combination of fresh character and legibility. By contrast, the others looked stale (suprising to me, even Gulliver in USA Today seemed blah).

The San Jose Merc type is ugliness personified (IMHO) despite it's redesign.

In the end content is king, but a casual design survey was fun.

Cheers,
Randy

hrant's picture

Gulliver looks bad in USA Today because:
1) They do all kinds of distortions to it (even for the text).
2) I think it's too "cute" for news headings. Then again, it is USA Today...

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

WRT Gulliver I've heard conflicting reports regarding Prof. Unger's opinion of USA Today's use of the typeface - does anyone have any quotes, from the horse's mouth, so to speak?

Cheers, Si

hrant's picture

Funny, Simon, I was wondering the same thing the other day. Unger seems to take a pragmatic stance about those things, in that you can't control what the user does with your work (and you should just be happy they bought the stuff). Of course a very good reason not to get nasty is that a past customer could be a future customer.

The type of stuff he says about it is "you wouldn't think it would work but that's the way their readers seem to like it", etc...

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

Hrant, you're right I wouldn't expect him to go on the record with his opinion, but he does reference the paper's use of the font on his site...

http://www.gerardunger.com/fontstore/store-gulliver.html

...which I doubt he would do if he felt the distortions you're seeing had totally ruined the appearance of the type.

Si

Si_Daniels's picture

Okay - should have done this before posting. Google had no trouble with... Unger Gulliver "USA Today"

http://typographi.ca/000489.php

Si


aquatoad's picture

Thanks for the link. Of interest to me were the comments about using Gulliver for text and display. The SF Chronicle also uses the same font for text and headlines (alternated with a sans), though it looks like a special display version. At any rate, it looks sharp and unified. Again, anybody know who did the type? I'll post in the ID section too.

Randy

hrant's picture

One thing you can do is visit the indispensable newseum.org , go to the "Today's Front Pages" section, see if the paper you want entered that day (it's highly variable), download the PDF (sometimes a bitmap PDF though) and check in the doc info for the font names. Custom faces often have unpublished names however, but you can always sic Google on it.

hhp

trae's picture

When I can, I often pick up the Sunday Baltimore Sun and think it's lovely to look at, very easy on the eye.

Stephen Coles's picture

Simon: Okay - should have done this before posting. Google had no trouble with... Unger Gulliver "USA Today"

Cool! Google has been really kind to Typographica lately.

Randy - I answered your your SF Chron post in the Font ID forum,
but I am going by memory of a long-standing design. Was it
recently redesigned? I haven't seen it since my last Macworld
excursion in January 2002.

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