Did you notice the big change with our latest issue? The flag-the ``Rubber & Plastics News'' nameplate on page 1-changed with our Aug. 12 issue for the first time in two decades. For us, it's a big deal.
The old flag worked well for many years, so why mess with success?
Well, for a couple of reasons.First, the type was too thin and too small. We were satisfied with the blue color we used for a long time.
However, today we can use lots of color and graphic devices on page 1, and they take away from the impact of the flag. It was getting lost.
We didn't want to make a really radical change-``What the hell is this?'' wasn't the effect we were seeking.
So literally after years of hand-wringing, we went with an evolutionary look, with our resident computer graphics artist, Marc Mathies, doing the creative work.
This isn't the first time we've toyed with the look of RPN.
If you lined up issues of RPN at ages 5, 10, 15 or 20, you'd notice the difference.
Computers, color and graphics gave us the opportunity to change.
Twenty-five years ago when Ernie Zielasko founded the publication, the first issue had a magazine-style cover.
Not long afterward it developed a ``Wall Street Journal'' look to it: kind of formal, conservative looking.
Artistically, Ernie strove to make the newspaper readable, and it was.
However, he spent most of his time getting good, solid stories rather than ``prettifying'' the issue. The words came first.
Our reporting of news events about and of interest to the rubber industry has evolved over the years, too. With more and better editorial staff members, we've improved our coverage of non-tire companies. Rather than just our version of news reports circulating in the public domain, much of the news we publish today is exclusive to RPN.
In the future, we plan to make lots of small graphic changes to the newspaper, intended to make it easier for the reader to navigate through the pages.
But presenting breaking news and features will remain our primary focus.
Whatever we do to spruce up RPN, it is the written word that counts the most to us. Always has, always will.
Noga is editor of Rubber & Plastics News.