Newbie newspaper designer requests advice


New Member
Hi there,

My name's Tom. I'm a newcomer to these forums, and I've come in search of advice.

I work as the news editor of a weekly newspaper called the Harrogate Advertiser, which is about to make the change from broadsheet to tabloid. It has been a broadsheet since 1836, so it's a pretty big deal.

Beside the simple change of size, it also means a complete design overhaul. I have only been a page designer for 18 months, so this the first major redesign project I have been involved with, which is massively exciting, but filled with headaches. I design through trial and error, since I have no training, so when I hit something I think looks great, I'm delighted, but I also can't think myself out of design problems because I'm not familair with a lot of the basic principles.

Anyhow, I was wondering if I could post the odd PDF here and ask for input. I'll attach one now as a current example.

For reference, I use InDesign (we only have CS2, which is a bit of a handicap) and have no access to Illustrator or Photoshop.

The page I'm linking is set to be the front page of the Weekend section, which contains arts and entertainment stuff (theatre, galleries, music, cinema, and a lengthy what's on listings section). I'm pretty happy with the way the top half of the page looks, and I think I have to stick with the fonts (Futura Bold and Times New Roman regular for the headlines, Times New Roman Bold for the logo and "inside" furniture, and Times New Roman for the body text). The lower half of the page is supposed to be four plugs for inside content and a larger plug for the food and drink section - but I can't seem to make it look anywhere near as classy as the top half. Please forgive the fact that I've used the same plug/photo repeatedly.

If anyone has any advice or pointers on where I'm going wrong, I'd be really grateful! As a reference, I have also linked the front page of Weekend as it currently looks, pre-redesign.

Thanks - and a Happy New Year to everyone,


New design draft: Weekend new.pdf

Old (current) design: Weekend old.pdf
Hi Tom,

I can't say I've done a lot of newspaper design, infact I've done none, but to me, your new design looks 100% better.

As a newspaper I'd certainly invest in the latest Adobe Creative Suite. The newer versions have lots of great new tools that you'd find very useful.

I like how the top half looks with regards to layout I mean. I'm not keen on the 'new heights' typeface though.

The bottom half isn't right though. You have a mixture of white type on coloured boxes, coloured type on white background, black type on white background, some are surrounded by a box, some arn't. Too much going on there for me.

I'd pick the way you prefer and use it throughout. I'd also try and rotate some of those boxes with the curved corner so that they look symmetrical. Maybe have the top image's curved edge facing the left image, the same with the middle image on the bottom row, then add a curved corner/box to the right side of the right image on the bottom row.

Like I said, I don't have any experience in designing newspaper layout, but I'd start with those changes.
the revised version is alot better the large image at the top is really striking and grabs your attention, also it is alot cleaner. The first looked like you were putting everything on the front page and everything was too close together. Now that everything is segregated it is easier to take in, good job there.