This week, the Georgia Straight has a new look, thanks to designer Swin Nung Chai.
The UBC and Art Institute of Vancouver grad has given the paper a more contemporary and colourful appearance, while still retaining hallmarks that have made the newspaper a familiar touchstone to Lower Mainland residents for five decades.
Chai was the graphic designer at Vancouver and Western Living for 12 years, providing her with deep insights into the world of glossy publications.
"Working in the magazine industry gave me a different perspective to redesign the Georgia Straight, which I found quite helpful in updating the overall look of the newspaper," she said. "I have always been interested in art. I love creating things with my hands—and to be able to do that digitally gives me great joy."
To help readers gain insights into the redesign, Chai offered some answers in an interview after the first issue rolled off the presses
Georgia Straight: What were your overall objectives with the redesign?
Swin Nung Chai: I wanted update the newspaper to a more contemporary look and also to give it more white space. More airy and less cluttered. More white space gives the design elements, text, and images more room to breathe so they flow in a more cohesive way. This makes it easier for people to read and navigate around the page.
Georgia Straight: What changes have you made to the cover of the Georgia Straight?
Swin Nung Chai: The cover’s overall structure is still the same but with updated fonts and new design elements. I wanted to create a more cohesive cover where all the elements are on one page—clearly showcased and easily read by anyone who picks up the paper.
Georgia Straight: How were you able to make more efficient use of space?
Swin Nung Chai: Choosing the right font is the key to make use of the space efficiently. By using a thinner and slightly smaller font type, it visually gives more white space to the page, which allows more room for images and fun graphic elements, like pull quotes. These will help with the flow of the story/stories as well as providing some visual interest.
Georgia Straight: What are some of the new features that readers will see in the print edition?
Swin Nung Chai: Some are informative sidebars as well as little pops of colour to make the pages easier to navigate. The sidebars were designed with flexibility in mind so they can run in different sections. There is also the addition of pull quotes, again, to create some visual interest on a page. It’s a nice visual break to a page full of text. More room for the story to breathe.
Georgia Straight: What’s your favourite aspect of the redesign?
Swin Nung Chai: The best part of the redesign is going through the process from the start to finish. There's a great sense of accomplishment seeing the printed piece as the final product, just as you envisioned it. For a designer, it's really something to behold.