The Times has quietly eliminated some of the typographic cacophony that erupted on the front page in October. Gone are the skinny, sans-serif headlines, the stacked decks of secondary headlines on selected stories, and apparently the all-capitals type on the lede headline. Those caps caused reader confusion the very first day of the new design last fall by shouting about LAX — but the story wasn't about the airport, it was about "lax monitoring" of something or other. Guess that hed would have worked OK in, say, Chicago. Anyway, the latest changes undo some of the October re-design that was put forth by Creative Director Joseph Hutchinson and rushed into print by then-Editor Dean Baquet over warnings by several editors that it wasn't ready for prime time. New Editor Jim O'Shea had the Chicago Tribune's former designer, Tony Majeri, in this month, so the refinement of Hutchinson's vision isn't much of a surprise. Oddly enough, the "ransom note" critique of the Times front page that I reported last week has been getting ripped on news design websites.
Art directors unite!: Visual journalists always think they get the shaft from their print comrades, so they will find the masthead of Sunday's West magazine in the LAT is a keeper. With top editors Rick Wartzman and Anne Reifenberg having fled, the senior spot on the list belonged to Art Director Heidi Volpe.