Our View: Changing composition

Our View: Changing composition
(Photo Credit: Aleksandra Kochurova)

The composition of an entity largely determines its success.

This is true in many arenas, from design to bazaars. Below, we discuss how the design composition of the Alexandria Times is changing with this week’s issue, and how we think the composition of the Old Town Farmer’s Market should also change.

The Times undergoes a facelift

The elements of design in a newspaper are of vital importance.

They can be the difference between someone stopping to grab a paper out of a news box or walking by. Continuity of design is important, but so is making sure the paper’s look is fresh and interesting.

To the casual observer, nothing will look dramatically different about this week’s edition. The deep blue front-page banner is still there; the size and shape of the paper remain the same. Beneath the surface, much is different.

Times Graphic Designer Sasha Kochurova started with us the week of June 22. She did remarkable work in that first issue, in which Times staff traced the footsteps of gunman James T. Hodgkinson before his attack at Simpson Field on June 15.

Since then, Kochurova has been experimenting with different fonts for type, headlines and headers and introduces changes for each this week. We are moving from that staple of newspaper lettering, Times New Roman, to the more modern PT Serif as our newstype. Don’t worry – the new type is also easy to read.

Slight tweaks are also being made to our headline fonts. The headers in our Times Living section will still be color-coded to reflect that section’s different components, but they will consist of the single word being in color, rather than the entire top of the page.

In this way, we will continue to distinguish between that section and others, but the tops of those pages will look more like the rest of the paper.

We hope you enjoy the changes.

Old Town Market needs new composition

The most compelling outdoor markets are those where the stalls are full year-round. A great example of this is the Straw Market in Charleston, South Carolina, which operates with a set of permanent vendors as well as list of provisional sellers who can fill in on any given day if a permanent vendor is unable to be there.

Such a setup seems like a win-win, as the permanent vendor has paid for their spot, while an additional fee would be paid by a temporary fill-in. Plus, markets are most appealing when all of the slots are full.

At the Old Town market earlier this year, several prominent slots sat empty through the spring and into early summer in what seemed to be a waste: the market was less appealing because it was not completely full even though, as the Times story this week attests, there are local businesses and nonprofits that would love to have stalls at the market.

We think the memo City Manager Mark Jinks just issued tweaking regulations governing the market, to essentially favor a city business or nonprofit if all other things are equal, is a step in the right direction. But we think it’s high time that the entire composition of the market be reevaluated. Let’s take a comprehensive look at who the vendors are, where they are coming from and what they sell.

Just because someone has been there for years doesn’t mean they should have an automatic stall forever – particularly if they’re not local.