Richmond Times-Dispatch
redesign unveils Dec. 7

Richmond Times-Dispatch redesigned front pages

Prototypes for Sunday and daily pages, Richmond Times-Dispatch redesign. Click twice to enlarge.

Yes, Virginia, there’s a lot to look forward to this holiday season, for lovers of improved newspapers. The Richmond Times-Dispatch launches design and content changes this week (Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010). Above is a quick look at daily and front page prototypes; live pages will be posted here this week.

Among the changes: Bigger body type. An improved Weekend supplement. Beefed up investigative/”watchdog” coverage. Expanded coverage of state news. Expanded coverage of health and religion. More local news briefs. To learn about these changes in detail, read the paper’s preview for readers in Sunday’s paper this week.

The paper is the second of Media General’s three metro newspapers to adopt a shared new look, to be produced by consolidated editing and design centers in Tampa and Richmond. In October, the Tampa Tribune was the first of the papers to successfully adopt the new look, along with a number of content and navigation improvements to the paper. (Previous related blog posts.) Next week (Dec. 14), the Winston-Salem Journal will be the final of Media General’s three metro papers to adopt the new look.

Aside from larger body text, design changes include a bold new serif headline face (Boomer), new section headers, a more systematic approach to page grids, and many other refined elements. Tom Bond, Special Projects Editor for News at the Times-Dispatch, has created a brand new and extensive Design Style Guide, which has been and will be critical for the smooth and quick implementation of the shared design required by staff at the new editing centers. Tom was joined by Paul Whelan, Deputy Editor in charge of design, in leading a team from their paper, Tampa and Winston-Salem in agreeing on the new design in dramatically short time – about six weeks – earlier this year.

The daily circulation of the Times-Dispatch was 125,011 for the six-month period ending in March 2010, and Sunday circulation is at 171,510.

Also this week, a separate new design is being rolled out at Media General’s two dozen smaller community newspapers, which will ease production tremendously and allow greater reallocation of resources to creation and delivery of more community news. (Watch this blog for updates and design samples from that project.)

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