Human beings resist change. What little change does come, tends to come slowly.
Perhaps this is an evolutionary legacy from a time when change almost always meant bad news, whether in the form of a predator, an avalanche, a storm, or a sudden illness.
In any case, we fully expect a certain amount of complaints about the fairly radical new look of Connect Savannah, unveiled in this week’s issue. Not because there was necessarily an unusual loyalty to the previous design, but simply because that was the design readers were accustomed to.
But let’s face it: Our former design, while serviceable in its day, had run its course. While in this business you never want to redesign too often — that’s a sign of a publication that doesn’t know what it is or aspires to be — by the same token an occasional redesign is absolutely necessary, not only to liven things up and to stay relevant, but to keep up with the changing way people consume news and information.
People do read differently today, and of course the main culprit, as in almost everything else, is the internet. Our former design came from a time when “packages” were all the rage, i.e., two or more related stories and accompanying photos delivered as an image-driven bundle of connected information.
But nowadays nobody bothers with packages. They’re accustomed to the internet, where you click on one story at a time, whichever one interests you at that time. So if our new redesign looks and feels like the internet, there’s a good reason for that — it’s quite intentional.
A few more key changes:
• Our listings sections, like Art Patrol, Soundboard, and Happenings, have thinner columns, both to make them easier to scroll through and also to more clearly set them off from articles.
• We’ve exploded our table of contents over several pages for a more dynamic effect and to enable more description of content.
• We’re continuing to feature more editorial picks of recommended events, building on the idea from Jim Reed’s “Noteworthy” column.
• Writers’ bylines and contact info, as well as photo credits, are more prominently featured.
For those of you who like to keep up with this sort of thing, the redesign was developed after weeks of consultation with Katherine Topaz of Topaz Design in Portland. Her portfolio includes redesigns for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and Boston’s Weekly Dig.
Here on the ground in Savannah, much thanks has to go to our art director/production manager Brandon Blatcher for bringing Katherine’s design templates in line with our systems here and really making it work in a real-time journalistic environment.
Bottom line, I cannot tell you how stoked we are about this new redesign. I’m sure some of you will disagree, but I feel just as sure that the majority of you will agree with us that the redesign is a huge net positive for our readers.
In any case, by all means send your comments, good or bad or somewhere in between, to my e-mail address — which you’ll now find up near the top of the column instead of here at the end where it used to be!