Wall Street Journal re-design
January 3, 2007 1 Comment
Yesterday, the WSJ implemented their latest major re-design. They changed a lot of things – a new custom-made typeface (nice), new sections and layout, new graphics, etc.
However, one of the biggest changes is that they “narrowed” the size of the paper, as others have recently done. It is now 5 columns across, so actual page size is smaller, and therefore the content per page is less.
And this leads me to my main first impression of the new format – it just doesn’t “feel” right. Call me petty, but one thing that really bothered me was that I was turning the pages too fast for a Wall Street Journal – I’d glance at any given 2-page spread, often see little of interest, and quickly (as if it was a copy of USA Today) be moving on to the next page. The proportion of ad space vs. news/analysis per page spread seemed out of whack. My experience with the WSJ over the years is that you go through slowly and deliberately, because there is a lot of substance per page.
OK, maybe I’ll get used to it, and it’s just a passing reaction to something new. I’m a fairly conservative person (one reason I read the WSJ, after all!) and don’t always immediately react positively to change. And I do appreciate the efforts the paper makes to modernize and improve. But it is remarkable to me that the most powerful impression about this new format, for me, was “feel” of the pages – size, and speed of turning. It’s interesting, how many contextual attachments we can develop around a product/brand, and what impact a change can have…