The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 18, 2011

Our pages take on a new look


DANVILLE — Today marks a new day for the Commercial-News.

Today’s edition looks different than yesterday’s, and we hope you find it easier to read and more pleasing to the eye. Allow me to give a little background on the reason for the change.

Decades ago, the newspaper industry agreed upon a standard six-column page. Column widths were around 2.25 inches wide, and that was deemed a good width.

Page designers at that time had to be sure columns weren’t too wide, or your eyes would tire as they worked their way across the line of copy. And if the column was too narrow, your eyes would tire from bouncing from line to line as the eye moved rapidly across the smaller columns.

There are people who make a science of typography, and even subtle changes on a page can make a big difference in terms of readability.

Years later, as the industry worked to reduce expenses in the face of harsh economic conditions, page widths were narrowed. Believe it or not, shaving an inch or two off a newspaper’s page will save a lot of money during the course of a year.

As we continued to narrow our pages, we clung to the old six-column format, meaning we forgot why we adopted this format in the first place. Hence our columns became much narrower.

Today, most — but not all — newspapers have converted to a much narrower page, yet they are clinging to the old six-column format. Today, the Commercial-News is breaking off on its own, with a redesigned 4-column page that we believe will be easier on the eyes.

In addition to wider columns, this four-column format also allows us to more easily introduce modular ad sizes. Under the old format, there was an almost infinite array of possible ad sizes. While that abundance of choices had its good points, it also made for a sloppier page, not to mention making the ad buying process much more complex than it needed to be. This new program will bring a better presentation of both news and advertising to you, the reader.

We believe this will make our newspaper easier to read and a pleasure to spend time with.

Of course, what we believe is really irrelevant. It’s your opinion that counts, so please let me know what you think. Send me your thoughts at

And thanks for reading the Commercial-News.

Chris Voccio is publisher of the Commercial-News. E-mail: