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Saturday, December 30, 2006

New look

The new edition of our excellent neighborhood newspaper, The Hollywood Star, has arrived, and it looks different. The word "Hollywood" is being played down, and the word "News" has cropped up, as big as "Star":

The old masthead logo looked like this:

So what does it mean? Too much confusion with the other Star, down in the more famous Hollywood? More emphasis on news? Ambitions to expand its coverage territory? (Already it covered a larger area than the Hollywood District.)

Inside, Star owner Mary DeHart assures us that it's a matter of design and format, rather than content. They've moved the heart of the paper -- the neighborhood news column written by Lee Perlman -- back to page 6 rather than page 2, and they've moved some features up front. I think there are more photos than before. All in all, the changes seem quite benign. It's still a great resource, and we're lucky to have it. (Alas, no serious web presence, but it seems to be thriving without it.)

Comments (9)

It really is a great paper. Always a satisfying and informative read. The new masthead, however, is hopelessly poor quality. I hope the next time they redesign they hire a designer.

So all the news is given less importance while puffy features are moved up? And yet the design says "NEWS" more prominently?

What they really need is a blog with some swear words and porn.

If I lived one block to the south, I'd get the Star in the mail. If I lived three blocks farther east, I'd receive the Mid-County Memo. Instead, I always make sure to pick up copies at the Gregory Heights branch of the Multnomah County Library. Both papers are examples of good "community journalism." Unpretentious. A little quirky. Perhaps too boosterish, but committed to their audience and full of information unavailable anywhere else. Such papers are well worth reading and supporting.

That picture looks like a Village People photo op...

So all the news is given less importance while puffy features are moved up? And yet the design says "NEWS" more prominently?

Posted by Matt Davis | December 30, 2006 6:10 PM

What they really need is a blog with some swear words and porn.

Posted by Jack Bog | December 30, 2006 6:17 PM
Some pigs head salad recipes would be nice too.

At least they retired that bad, bad, way-overused Algerian font (the face that the word "Star" was set in) in favor of Gill Sans, which is starting to see a little overuse itself, but it such a classic it can take a bit of overuse.

Actually the whole layout shows a certain maturity of design that is quite pleasing. Even though the big word "NEWS" looks a little funny so highlighted, it does fit in with the grid (notice how the yellowish background to that word aligns with the picture below). They've got a good solid grid there and they're designing to it, and for a general interest publication like that you can't go wrong doing that.

For those of us who don't need to be educated about taste and style, the redesign is entirely devoid of interest and personality. It's a blown opportunity. Though, yes, it certainly may win awards for fitting a solid grid.

It's just more of the same: ubiquitous. tired, standard-issue template design. Aside from laziness and ugliness, there's nothing wrong with that. But it certainly isn't good work.

I commend Lee Perlman for writing in-depth, thoughtful news about neighborhoods, and especially simplifying land use issues that the average Joe can understand. Sometimes he may miss the nuance of a complicated issue, but he comes very close (or it is editorized or shorten for brevity). Thanks Lee for your service to this city.

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