Can you introduce the Palmer Watson company and its designers?
Palmer and Terry Watson first worked together on The Scotsman
newspaper, when it was recognized as the single best-designed newspaper
in the world by the international Society for News Design in 1997. They
each have more than 20 years experience of working in newspapers, earning
many national and international prizes along the way. They worked as
design consultants throughout Europe, South America and Africa and formed
Palmer Watson in the spring of 2004, when they were joined by a former
design colleague Gavin Munro. Three of their newspaper designs, The
Scotsman, The European and The Herald (Glasgow) have
been awarded the titles of World’s Best Designed Newspapers by the Society
of News Design.
What are the main elements to consider when designing a newspaper ?
This can be difficult to define as it depends on a lot
of things: if the
What is the place of typography among all these elements ?
Typography is a key aspect of the design for us. It is
the main way that you can express the tone of a newspaper and the main
way you can help make it distinctive.
Legibility is the most obvious thing we are looking for
both for text and display. A
Why do you choose different typefaces for different
newspapers? (We can
Different typefaces have different personalities in the
same way that
Which typefaces have you chosen for your last projects ?
In our most recent projects we have used Whitney
(Hoefler & Frere-Jones) for
What were the specificities of your work for Le Monde newspaper ?
In the case of type we were asked to increase the text size or at least make it more legible. It felt strange to remove Le Monde Journal as it had obviously been designed specifically for the newspaper but once we started working with Matthew Carter’s headline face it didn’t feel right. With the Le Monde logo it was never suggested that we would change, in fact we tried to use it more in the paper by adding it to the page folio. In terms of page layout and design the brief was to create a stronger hierarchy or the stories and headlines and allow for a better use of supplementary information. The biggest structural change was to introduce three more obvious sections and this required a different feel for each of the sections. The front page was probably the biggest challenge as they really wanted to create a different look while retaining the feeling that it was still Le Monde. They were also very keen to make more use of photographs which was a big cultural change for the paper.
All the typefaces used for Le Monde (Rocky,
Fenway) are designed by
the serif faces are from Matthew Carter with a new and expanded version
of Rocky for headlines and Fenway for text, but we also
used Benton Sans by