I didn’t have to do much for this section cover, just the text to accompany Eric’s awesome photo. I don’t want to sell myself short, though, because there are so many ways this could go wrong if the text isn’t right.
I started with adding 2008 Pigskin Preview at the bottom. This football preview comes out every year. It’s been called the Pigskin Preview for as long as I’ve been at the Times, so even though this year the section is named “Kickoff,” I wanted it to still say Pigskin Preview somewhere. I used the font (Machine) that we used when we did Football Friday sections.
KICKOFF didn’t look right in Machine. At 200+ point size, it was too blocky. I wanted the head to have punch, like a football to the chest. And though I promise I didn’t pick the font out by name only, KICKOFF is in Impact. For color, I chose a reddish brown both to pull out the color of the Titans’ helmets below and to emulate a football.
The text at the top is a light blue to echo the sky in the photo and also because it’s not really teaser text. It’s just stuff that needs to go on the cover… publish date, web addresses. It’s okay that it doesn’t stand out very much.
If you think font choice couldn’t make much of a difference, consider if I had used these instead:
Here KICKOFF is in Stencil. It’s bulky, bold. But it doesn’t work. Not enough presence.
Pigskin Preview is in Optima. Sans serif seems like a good choice, why is this not the right font, then? Because it’s the sans-serif font you see at the Clinique counter.
For the teaser copy and “with the Times,” I swapped our core design fonts. In the actual cover, the teaser is in our sans-serif and “with the Times” is in our display font. This is a more subjective choice, in my opinion. Both fonts are part of our paper’s design, so both are available for use. But how they are used makes all the difference.