For 160 years, the 19,000-circulation Newport Daily News has been a fixture in southern Rhode Island. Today it continues its proud newspapering tradition, but with an updated design and a stronger focus on local news and readers.

In late April, 2005, the redesigned Newport Daily News was unveiled. The look should not have shocked readers and advertisers — this was a subtle redesign that focused more on details like agate and body copy than on broad, sweeping changes.

Every aspect of the editorial product was scrutinized during the nine months leading up to the launch. The goal was to maintain an already strong identity and tradition, but to bring a contemporary look to the paper, as well as to find ways to make the experience better for readers. In addition, the staff received training in photo editing, design and packaging, typography and headline writing to help them implement new ideas that were generated through the redesign process.

The nameplate was redrawn to bring consistency and strength to a historic blackletter that was originally custom-made by a local stone carver. In addition, the names of the four major towns in the area were added to the nameplate to emphasize the local nature of the newspaper.

In addition, those town names are being used as labels on town-specific stories and information to help readers more quickly find the news that interests them. Other reader-friendly initiatives include an expanded television page which includes not just a daily grid, but more information about what to watch and why.

We also improved the paper’s refers to help readers navigate. Sports, which does not get a section front during the week, now has a prominent refer on the local section front every day.

Though the overall redesign is subtle, dozens of small changes add up to a much-improved Newport Daily News. The redesign has already proved popular with readers, and it both maintains a strong identity and positions the newspaper to better serve a diverse and changing audience.

Bill Ostendorf directed the project, Kevin Dilley was project manager, and Jennifer Boucher Albers worked on the design and nameplate.