Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 8, 2014

New-look Commonwealth Journal will be launched Saturday

Somerset — A modernized and streamlined edition of the Commonwealth Journal will roll off the presses tomorrow morning. It’s the first redesign in more than 20 years. Our staff has been working day and night to make it a reality, and we’re excited about the new look.

The redesigned edition includes changes in organization and layout — all done with our readers in mind. The new design frees up room for more content, and to that end steps are underway to bolster the CJ staff.

Among noticeable changes will be a redesigned flag or nameplate. Many call the nameplate — the stylized logo of the newspaper’s name that’s at the top of each front page — the “masthead.” The term “masthead” has become generically accepted as an alternate definition for nameplate. However a masthead is a statement, often boxed, giving the newspaper’s name, address, owners and editors, subscription, postal, copyright and other information. The Commonwealth Journal’s masthead with rare exception runs on Page A2, with an abbreviated version running on the Opinion Page.

The name “Commonwealth Journal” comes from the two weekly Somerset papers, the Commonwealth and the Somerset Journal, which merged in the 1960s to become the Commonwealth-Journal. Sharp-eyed readers will note that in those days the name was hyphenated. However the hyphen was dropped some years ago after the paper left private ownership and became part of a national chain.

One thing that has not changed in almost a half century is the nameplate’s typeface — Old  English Text — which will appear for the last time at the top of today’s front page.

Tomorrow will mark the unveiling of a restylized nameplate with a more contemporary look that is bold and impactful. There was some trepidation among the staff when this change was suggested. The “Commonwealth Journal” in Old English Text was our brand, and there was resistance to changing it.

However, Ed Henninger, the veteran newspaper designer who guided us in the process noted: “Many national brands, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, Apple, Procter & Gamble, and many others have changed their trademarks over the years. We shouldn’t be afraid to freshen ours.”

(A note for you history buffs: At one point it was suggested we shorten our name from Commonwealth Journal to simply “CJ,” since that is what we are commonly called. In the end we decided CJ was too much a departure from our brand, although it would have offered some unique design possibilities.)

Another area addressed in the redesign was changing our headlines and other typographical conventions to provide readers an uncluttered, easy-to-read newspaper.

In undertaking the redesign, our goal has been to give the Commonwealth Journal a cleaner, more modern, and attractive appearance to better showcase our content. At the same time, we had to make sure that the redesign was not so drastic that it gave the impression that the CJ had become a completely different publication. After all, we did not want to jeopardize the credibility and reputation built up over the past half-century. Hence a balance between too little change and too much was paramount.

Of course the proof is in the pudding.

Tomorrow you will have the opportunity to see for yourself. We hope that our new look will make you even more eager to open up your redesigned Commonwealth Journal and enjoy!

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