Gag me with the Globe
This morning, like most Globe and Mail subscribers, I woke up in a parallel universe. The proof was at my doorstep: my morning Globe looked just like USA Today, and read like it too. The edition’s most ballyhooed story, in the new Life section, was about how kids of divorce act out on their cell phones, with prominent reference to Alec Baldwin’s tirade on his daughter’s voicemail—a belaboured attempt to extract a universal truth from a celebrity blooper. After I’d recovered from the shock and wiped up the spilled coffee, my first lucid thought was, “this redesign is a disaster.”
But “disaster” is everyone’s reaction to redesigns, and it springs from the fact that someone has thrown a wrench into your personal routine without your request or consent. Plus redesigns are always works in progress, and the Globe’s masters will no doubt get busy with the tweaks starting today. So I will withhold final judgment until the dust settles. In the meantime, two relatively lucid thoughts about this redesign:
1. It reads like the Internet. The front page of every section is like a homepage, with a quick paragraph and a link to the deeper recesses. This particular design trend has actually been evolving for some time now, but today marks a watershed. The Globe seems to be acknowledging that the Internet, not print, is now the primary forum for news reading. Once upon a time, webmasters scratched their brains trying to figure out how to shoehorn a newspaper into a web site. Now it’s the other way around.
2. Because the Globe remains Canada’s national newspaper of record, in the minds of Canadian readers its design is synonymous with the concept of “authoritative news coverage.” This new look says many things to me, but one thing it doesn’t say is “take me seriously.” The headline font looks like it was lifted from the tray liners at McDonald’s. You have to go back to the 1980s to find a time when the Globe relied on a sans-serif font for its headlines. In this sense, the redesign is a bold one. Let’s see if it takes.
P.S. Paul Wells got up awful early this morning just to see the redesignand beat all us bloggers to the punch with the earliest post. Since he winsthe race, it’s only fair that I link to his entry.”