Most student newspapers are indeed a rehash of the print product but there are a select few that go above and beyond. It’s worth noting the remarkable number of schools relying on the templates provided by College Publisher. It’s still up in the air whether this is a good or bad thing, but there is something to be said about individuality and creativity. Good design isn’t expensive, it just takes some effort and ingenuity. Here are the sites that are breaking out of the mold:
The University Daily Kansan, University of Kansas
At first glance, The Kansan doesn’t look like a student newspaper site at all. Rather, it looks like many other professional media outlets, which is actually its strength. It’s use of the color blue and scrolling news headlines, coupled with its unobtrusive advertisements and navigation make it stand out as more mature than any of its peers.
The Independent Florida Alligator, University of Florida
The Alligator is an incredible example of the potential greatness of an online student newspaper. Its black and white design makes the fine journalism happening on the site look even better. Sections and stories are easily scannable and the site’s headlines are large enough to catch the eye. The Alligator also makes great use of its footer — a contrasting black to the rest of the page — something that is rare in online student paper design.
The Dartmouth, Dartmouth College
TheDartmouth.com is serene, like reading the news on a lazy Sunday regardless of the day of the week. Every section is featured prominently with an image or graphic, including the paper’s print efforts. Equally impressive are the site’s archives in which the attention to detail given to each issue is most evident.
Marquette Tribune, Marquette University
The Marquette Tribune’s use of strong, eye-catching typography together with its blue/tan/peach color combo makes it the standout design of any online college newspaper. The design incorporates a bit of whimsy and is reminiscent of the fictional Daily Planet, but still captures the seriousness of a mainstream publication. Most importantly, the site has a one-of-a-kind look and brand that is unmatched among student newspapers and the web in general.
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