Redesigns saved money while increasing readership

The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette get smart redesigns

McClatchy dailies needed to become close twins while staying true their own identities and markets


Two sister daily newspapers situated in the Lowcountry of South Carolina – The Island Packet, covering Bluffton and Hilton Head, and The Beaufort Gazette – wanted to make the most of their switch to a 48-inch web and new, state-of-the-art presses.

Goals for the project included retaining as much content as possible despite newsprint reductions, providing lots of training for both staffs and creating a clean and contemporary look for each paper.

Another challenge for Creative Circle: Create two distinct products that reflect two very different areas, but use the same typography, color palette and other elements to facilitate sharing material between the two newsrooms.

Kristen Powell and Bill Ostendorf worked closely with the staffs of the papers to help them create those two distinct looks. Both redesigns incorporate more color in harmony with the South Carolina Lowcountry to take advantage of new press capabilities, including color potential on every page. In addition, the redesigns utilize more layering devices to attract casual readers, create a more consistent and uniform look and provide the papers' design staffs with the tools to create more energetic, varied and compelling pages.

"The 48-inch web provides some difficult challenges. There is always the temptation to squeeze or shrink everything. But that is a huge mistake. We worked hard at every turn to try to maintain or improve legibility on everything from the comics to body type," said Ostendorf. "The cuts have to come from smarter editing or assigning. That means training and a well-thought-out design are essential to preserving or growing readership."

For the Beaufort Gazette, we created a look that, while fresh and current, maintains a connection with the paper's long history and emphasizes the local news that is important to those longtime readers. From the newly designed nameplate down to new, more readable agate type, The Gazette's look is urgent, no-nonsense and connected to the community.

The Island Packet has a high concentration of elite readers, many of whom are transplants from elsewhere. The new Island Packet is sophisticated and elegant, with a classic American newspaper feel updated for the 21st century.

In addition to complete editorial redesigns for both papers, Creative Circle provided streamlined upsells, improved navigation and a matching color palette for a full-color classified section to help preserve legibility and grow revenue.