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Seeing what you get: A comparison of newspapers’ visual brand personalities and consumer perceptions
Unformatted Document Text:  define and portray personality. As logos, nameplates have the potential to imbibe a newspaper with an obvious personality (Henderson & Cote, 1998; Rehe, 1985). However, current newspaper visual branding strategies produce remarkably similar nameplates. While there is a distinct difference between the nameplates of traditional and nontraditional newspapers, there is relatively little personality communicated. All four traditional papers used blackletter fonts, while the nontraditional newspapers branched out slightly, using serif or sans serif fonts. Only three of the eight sample newspapers incorporate a pictorial element into their nameplate – a practice that is common in many commercial logos (Henderson & Cote, 1998). Developing and consistently using a more unique brand mark could help newspapers build a stronger brand personality. In addition to having similar nameplates, there was also little distinction in the eight sample newspapers’ use of photo placement and color. Each of the broadsheet newspapers ran a large photo above the fold. Additionally, all the newspapers ran almost exclusively color photographs, and four used a similar red as their sole spot color. During the 1970s and 1980s, newspapers experienced a design revolution, investing time, energy and money to attract readers (Pasternack & Utt, 1986). While this revolution transformed the look of modern newspapers, it may have also doomed them to anonymity. When everyone conforms, no one stands out. As evidenced by an analysis of the top-circulating U.S. newspapers, today’s consumers are faced with a sea of sameness, staring at rows of newspapers with similar designs and little 22

Authors: Jewett, Adriane. and Reinardy, Scott.
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define and portray personality.
As logos, nameplates have the potential to imbibe a newspaper with an 
obvious personality (Henderson & Cote, 1998; Rehe, 1985).  However, current 
newspaper visual branding strategies produce remarkably similar nameplates.  While 
there is a distinct difference between the nameplates of traditional and nontraditional 
newspapers, there is relatively little personality communicated.  All four traditional 
papers used blackletter fonts, while the nontraditional newspapers branched out 
slightly, using serif or sans serif fonts.  
Only three of the eight sample newspapers incorporate a pictorial element into 
their nameplate – a practice that is common in many commercial logos (Henderson & 
Cote, 1998).  Developing and consistently using a more unique brand mark could 
help newspapers build a stronger brand personality.
In addition to having similar nameplates, there was also little distinction in the 
eight sample newspapers’ use of photo placement and color.  Each of the broadsheet 
newspapers ran a large photo above the fold.  Additionally, all the newspapers ran 
almost exclusively color photographs, and four used a similar red as their sole spot 
color. During the 1970s and 1980s, newspapers experienced a design revolution, 
investing time, energy and money to attract readers (Pasternack & Utt, 1986).  While 
this revolution transformed the look of modern newspapers, it may have also doomed 
them to anonymity.  When everyone conforms, no one stands out.  As evidenced by 
an analysis of the top-circulating U.S. newspapers, today’s consumers are faced with 
a sea of sameness, staring at rows of newspapers with similar designs and little 

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