The first issue was created at the University of Waterloo Imprint office. The logo featured Casablanca Antique font, but many readers saw two heads facing outwards in the lett ‘O’. Nope, it was just a font.
March 30, 1996
Adding some colour
Not long after we started to publish, the Kitchener This Week paper folded. We borrowed their green colour and a few design elements. We bumped up our circulation and started delivering the paper with The Record.
January 18, 1997
Local graphic artist Ron Letkeman approached us with a mockup design of a new logo using Bauer Bodoni font and a new newspaper layout. This was the beginning of printing full-colour pages every week, the first local paper to lead the way.
July 26, 1997
Blue and red colour was introduced to the logo. Much research was compiled before finalizing the colour. Both colours were deemed to present a professional timeless appeal which is what we were going for. This palette was maintained throughout the years.
September 5, 1998
Big and bold
Drop shadows were introduced in Photoshop … ugh. We weren’t alone over-using this feature. Big bold and chunky was the theme of this redesign. The Observer was online and wanted to identify as Canadian so introduced the maple leaf into our logo.
September 2, 2000
A minor tweak to the design after a year of the heavy drop shadow. This was the last design to feature a price. We assigned a value because free implied the paper had no value – we know that’s not true. Some local stores sold them and kept the money for themselves.
September 1, 2001
Teasers looked great and highlighted stories within the paper. These little cut-out ones were a pain and designers spent hours cutting out images and rebuilding body parts that were out of the shot. This design survived five years without a tweak.
October 5, 2002
Bold, blue, grey and chevrons introduced. We used a condensed version of Bauer Bodoni and put a solid fill of red in the maple leaf. We dropped Woolwich from Observer as we had extended coverage to Wellesley township residents.
February 3, 2007
Matthew French was a staff graphic designer who did a complete redesign of the Observer by himself. The first and only time. No surprise to us that Matthew heads up the graphics dept. at the Globe and Mail. We introduced a masthead ad spot which has been a sell-out since. French also built our first WordPress website that he learned on the job. That site placed in the top 4 just under The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Now Magazine.
February 10, 2010
All in the fonts
This redesign was based around fonts. Gotham and Tiempos were paired, the white in the logo brightened up the nameplate. Tiempos was sourced from a boutique font bureau in New York City. Seven years with this design is the longest run. The masthead and section heads took on the speech bubble appearance as metaphor for conversations.
March 3, 2012
Less is more
Include detailed timelines for your Sometimes less is more. A little more whitespace is always a good thing. We re-introduced weekend weather again (last was 1997), as well as gave our teaser story a more prominent feature on the cover. Gotham replaced by Proxima Nova font.
February 7, 2019
A solid blue nameplate was missed and returned as part of the iconic design element of the Observer brand. Tiempos is paired with Inter font which is also the font displayed at www.observerxtra.com. A redesign of the website accompanied this design.
October 8, 2020