Saturday, 5 February 2011

Fresh look for Highland newspapers

The old versions are on the left, the new on the right

The new-look Inverness Courier and Highland News series were rolled out this week. My colleague Mike Brough and I have been working with the staff at both titles to modernise the papers while ensuring their character remains undiluted. The changes have rightly been subtle. The bi-weekly Courier's script titlepiece has been turned solid and made bolder, the display typography has been changed from Dutch to Utopia Bold, the body copy made more readable, new artwork and a colour palette have been introduced and the paper is now an eight column broadsheet rather than ten-column. The red-top Highland News, North Star and Lochaber News also had a revamp, including a change to their slab-serif titlepiece. These were really 'reviews' rather than full scale redesigns. We concentrated on making the papers more readable and structured while retaining their traditional quirks and charm. It was great fun to be working simultaneously on an understated and traditional serif broadsheet and a full-on red-top tabloid. It was also rewarding to work alongside committed journalists turning out great papers that really matter to their communities and a management team looking to expand rather than contract.  
Editorial director David Bourn, former editor at the Evening News in Norwich and deputy editor of the Hull Daily Mail, is pleased with the changes. He said: “We were faced with the difficult task of freshening up the papers, giving them a cleaner, more logical and contemporary layout without losing the brand values and there is no doubt that Peter and his team have managed this – and some!
"Now we plan to do the same thing with the rest of the papers in our stable and, having seen the results of the redesigns of the Inverness Courier and Highland News series, the rest of our editors just can’t wait.”
Looks like we will be heading back, which is good news for Mike and me as the Scottish Highlands are a fantastic place to work and the views over the Moray Firth are probably the best from any newspaper office in Britain. The pubs (particularly The Castle, where many creative discussions took place) aren't half bad either.

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