I recently started browsing the design mecca website, Dribbble.com. When searching the tag “newspaper,” I was a little bit shocked to see most results turn up as iPad app icon designs and everything very online-based design rather than page layouts. The first actual page layout I came across was this one, and I was interested to see the designer, Youssef Sarhan, comment:
Newspapers, for the most part, are a passive experience. They write, we read. I’m trying to bridge the gap between print and web, with the hope of altering the writer-reader relationship. To use the paper (which has approx 250,000 daily readers) as a launchpad to the digital content. By Incorporating icons that would be placed in the corner of feature article photos/infographics. These icons would correspond to multimedia content that is available to readers online. There would also be a (bit.ly style) web-address that would link people to the article and extra content.
He also linked to another post of his that caught my attention. Linking print and online is definitely something that I’ve had in mind since I found out that we might be switching to a different sized paper for The Daily Californian, which also might mean changing the layout around a bit. Nothing major with change, but one element that will be impacted is our “Page 2” content, which teases to our online coverage. This got me thinking about how print and online should be integrated in our paper. Everything that goes in the paper goes online. In breaking news situations, people often probably see our online coverage before the print paper comes out. In fact, in some case like the “Tents Remain on Upper Sproul” headline, the print paper misses critical changes in information.
So what does this mean? How can we integrate print and online content? I think that Youssef’s designs pose an interesting solution. Integrating the iconic elements of our online designs into print makes a more fluid transition between the two mediums. I think we try to do a lot to link our print readers to our online content, with our little “Check Online” kickers and Page 2 teasers. But a problem that I see is that the design of these print elements don’t really align with the design of our online content. There’s a lot that we could do to make these two mediums match up together better. Creating simple yet recognizable icons and logos to be used simultaneously online and in print would definitely be a good start. I think online we’ve been using a more modern style in News coverage, with the little blue “dc” square that douses our Twitter feed, while the print product ofThe Daily Californian is stuck in the past with our old-school masthead and packed pages of texts.
I think a more fluid conversation needs to happen between the design changes that are happening online and what we can do with our print product next semester. I think that we’re lucky to have a GREAT team of people working on designing the web content - especially since some of them have hands-on experience with page layout design and night production. But if we open up this conversation with the Design desk, I think our overall package of The Daily Californian will be even better. Establishing not just an online branding of the website, but also an overall design brand for The Daily Californian will help bridge this very clear gap that is occurring between print and online. And hopefully give print more of a chance at survival in a Dribbble world where page layout is one in a million.