The newspapers I work for are nearing a fresh redesign, possibly as soon as April. I can’t show you the early concept pages yet, but one thing we’re seriously considering is saying goodbye to traditional feature skyboxes in lieu of a rail with news and sports.
A cutout of sports action could be incorporated with our flag, but with subtle type treatments. (Geez, I wish I could show you, but our consultant is Frank Mina, AME/presentation at the San Francisco Chronicle, and you can glance at their front pages for a taste of his design aesthetic.)
I support the idea, although I always liked to put Food or other lifestyle skyboxes on page 1. It’s one of the first things I initiated here when I joined the Post five years ago. But many others are skeptical that they do their job at the newsstand. Ever buy a paper because a skybox promised new ways to bake potatoes?
Still, I like them for simply bringing color to the page and reflect the variety of the news items inside. Then again, they can distract from more important elements on a page, like great headlines and photography.
How do you feel? Are featurey skyboxes a waste of time or even counter-productive?