Dear City Paper readers,

For the first time in nearly 10 years, Washington City Paper’s newspaper has a new design. As City Paper’s Creative Director, I can tell you firsthand that this did not happen overnight. The weekly coffee meetings and discussions began in early January, new branding ideas were turning months before that, and I even mentioned a redesign of the paper during my first interview for the Creative Director position. This is a project that we, as an editorial team, are proud to share.

So why launch a redesign now? Simply put, the previous design wasn’t doing justice to our editorial work anymore. We are under local ownership for the first time in our nearly 40-year history, have new partnerships with local and national organizations, and are building a membership-supported future. With this in mind, we set out to create a print product that reflects who we are today.

The redesign gave us the chance to question what our staff could do better to serve our readers. To highlight a few key changes, City Paper is taking a visual direction that is specific to newspaper design: There are no spot colors in our editorial content. Color is exclusively used in graphics and photography, placing a higher emphasis on original visual work.

The navigation of the paper is smarter, too: Outdated vernacular for sections of the paper have been replaced with concise, consistent language. In some ways, the redesign is also a rebuttal to the old design: There are no more blocky section headers. The number of typefaces has dwindled down to a tight two, and the space on each page is maximized to make room for higher word counts and larger art.

Another significant change to mention is City Paper’s new tagline printed on the front cover: The District’s Free Weekly Since 1981. City Paper‘s ethos, mission, and legacy are clearly stated: We will always be the District’s hyper-local paper, producing free, accessible, and high-quality journalism for everyone and anyone.

Through all of this, I was lucky to work with people who supported this project to its fruition. Thank you to City Paper’s design assistant, Maddie Goldstein, who is a brilliant designer and co-conspirator in the redesign; also to City Paper’s online engagement manager Elizabeth Tuten, who gave structure and guidance to this project. My appreciation also goes to our editorial staff and publisher, who read long emails and documents explaining the importance of this redesign and provided ideas to make this a stronger editorial product.

I encourage you to see the newspaper for yourself, in print or online. Tell us what you think. I hope it will inform and delight you, and I hope it brings you comfort knowing somewhere there is a small (but mighty) newsroom working to bring you the news about your community and committed to bringing you a print newspaper every week, through the best and worst of circumstances. 

We are invested in you for the long run, reader, so please consider investing in our work through our membership program. Hey, you can even get our redesigned newspaper delivered right to your doorstep. It’s $250 for home delivery for a year, and comes with some other cool perks.

Even with a launch as big as a print redesign, I can assure you that my work, and the work of my colleagues, is not done yet. There’s so much more to come—we’re not going anywhere.


Julia Terbrock

Creative Director

Our newspaper is free

But redesigning it wasn’t. Hundreds of readers support our work and keep our reporting free for everyone. Will you become one of them?