‘News Today’ comes from cutting-edge printing facility

Chennai: Mere articles and pictures do not make a newspaper the best among the lot. Presentation is also one of the paramount determinants in making a reader pick up a newspaper and read it.

In addition to a strong editorial team, News Today has been backed by a supportive and creative designing crew right from inception.

Over time, with technological advancements, News Today also witnessed a sea change from the first edition that was printed 7 December 1982.

MASTHEAD MATTERS

The first logo had the name of the newspaper in letterpress font that was created with blocks. In the late 1990s, an additional illustration of a pen with feather symbolising press freedom was included. For a very long time, Adobe Pagemaker Macintosh was used for designing the entire newspaper. With the usage of CorelDRAW version 12 from 1 September 2004, the designing team let its creative quotient flow and came up with the 3-D logotype that had contemporary elements like drop shadow, emboss, stroke, colour and change of font which is still in usage. News Today was the first newspaper in these parts to bring out its front page in colour, way back in 2003.

PAGE DESIGN

In the initial days, when the publishing industry had not seen a well-developed software exclusively for designing newspapers, the paper had around 12 designers and did manual designing. The entire process was computerised by introducing Pagemaker in 1997 and a style guide was created detailing and standardising the font type, point size, the number of columns.

In 2006, stand-out components like blurb, box and vectors were introduced. The years also saw changes in the placement of teaser row (which was later brought under masthead), effective management of white space paving way to increase the total article count and experimenting with a short introduction column in the front page encapsulating all the stories in the newspaper.

In 2018, visible changes in the layout were made that includes changing fonts, icons, Clipart and photo feature. Leaving no stone unturned, the creative team has been experimenting with several new elements.

TOWARDS TIME MANAGEMENT

During the days of manual work, it took more than 40 minutes to completely design a page. However, with the advent of productive software, the designers have significantly reduced the time taken to design a page and at present, just 20 minutes are enough to do a single page layout.

There was a time when floppy disk was used to copy the pages and was given to the printing press by a worker and the entire process took around 1.5 hours. Over the years, the establishment of network system has given extra brownie points of an hour to the editorial team to publish the latest news until the time of printing.

The printing process was initially film-based where the designed pages were developed into films before casting in positive and negative plates. At present, computer to plate (CTP) imaging technology, comparatively a faster procedure involving direct casting on the plates has been used and saves time.

(With inputs from R Sundararajan, Head – Graphic Designing)

Bhavani Prabhakar