From BRASS TACKS DESIGN, Fall 1998
Build circulation or die
A presentation for the Society for News Design
In these Darwinian days a newspaper redesign has to be more than a cosmetic makeover — it has to help the paper fulfill its reporting strategy, manifest the community's priorities, keep loyal readers happy while helping to attract new ones.
Trouble is, a good many designers don't grasp the importance of the bottom line. Their work is little more than a pretty face on the same, old approaches. Their impact on circulation is often no impact at all.
Brass Tacks Design keeps an eye on the bottom line.
The Virginia firm has spent more than a decade launching designs that make a difference in the numbers. In St. Louis, Post-Dispatch AME Bob Rose says Brass Tacks Design's redesign was behind a recent turnaround in daily circulation. Mark Lett, former editor of Knight-Ridder's Post-Tribune in Gary, Ind., credits a Brass Tacks Design redesign with rising single-copy.
Jacobson will show off the prototype of a St. Louis front page that treats both editorial and advertising as content. He'll unveil a new section — moneysexestech&stuff — aimed at jump-starting a weak-kneed Sunday Post-Dispatch. He'll dissect a new look and outlook for the Stars & Stripes. He'll share his proposal — and prototype — to turn a New Jersey daily's front page into a billboard promoting local news.
Jacobson leads a Brass Tacks Design team that offers not just design, but the technical know-how, editorial background and marketing support to make it work. The company has newspaper clients in Europe, Asia and North America; Jacobson's clients have been honored 16 times by SND for overall design and redesign, including a Judges' Special Recognition.