I never thought I’d use the word wobbly to describe the New York Times. But here I am, looking at the announcement for the nytimes.com redesign, with crossed eyes. This one-page site is dominated by a rare instance of off-brand typography. FF Enzo has too much sway for a venerable publication. The Times wants readers to believe in an unimpeded, immersive reading experience, but Enzo contradicts that tone, waving like an excited kid.
The body copy is set in NYT Cheltenham, so I expect to see their sans, NYT Franklin, when a punch is needed. An earlier marketing page relied solely on Cheltenham and it’s quieter, perhaps too passive. This announcement is meant to reach more people, so a bolder design makes sense. The video, which also uses Enzo, is an engaging way to get people excited about things like new grids. Is it possible that the video came first, determining the type selection? Maybe; but Enzo is served via Typekit, so it’s availability there makes me think this was a simultaneous decision. Anyway, that wouldn’t explain the deviation of brand.
Tomorrow the redesign goes live. At which point this promo will be moot — no previews or leaks have revealed that new fonts like Enzo will be introduced in the redesign. Too many of us know that marketing pieces are often produced separately from a publication’s design department. Nonetheless, this should serve as a reminder that the wrong typeface will hijack the mood. And nobody wants to read when they’re being held hostage.
Update: On the new homepage, a link to this promotional site is front and center. And FF Enzo is being used in promotions, like banner ads, post-launch (show below).
If you are serious about digital, then you must strive for high contrast in the font. Using gray scale in the body font, as you do, does not work. The text appears washed out and is difficult to read. Use the deepest black that you can find.
dkelly505: well, technically speaking you’re right. From an esthetical point of view, your opinions wouldn’t be shared with the design community. Digital and print are two different mediums—but thanks to modern web standards and displays with high pixel density as well as contrast and color output, you really don’t have to worry about the things you talk about. Of course, design choices should always be made with visual impairment in mind. But instead of using black as in #000, I’d say it is fine to use #333 or even #666 on a white background.
Contributed by Stephen Coles
Contributed by Love Lagerkvist