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Fantastic response to the new Rapport

Hundreds upon hundreds of SMSes and emails have poured into the Rapport offices complimenting the paper for the redesign.

One reader blamed the paper for a late dinner because “I spent all my time reading Sake (the business section).”

Another said he had not read the business section for 14 years but could not resist the reincarnated edition.

There were SMSes praising the use of typography, colours and design. One typical SMS was about how easy it was to read the paper, clearly referring to the typography. I had opted to use Farnham Text 9.5pt on 11pt leading, compared to the old Nimrod of 8.5pt on 10pt leading.

But of course there were complaints. The majority was about the TV listings, with older readers saying it was too small with two days’ listings in one page. Some did not like the magazine format of My Tyd, preferring the old A4 size. And strangely, a few did not like the bigger Blokraai, a kind of crossword puzzle.

There will be a few tweaks to the design in the next few days. Hopefully, there won’t be further complaints.

New Rapport wows readers! Smoothest launch ever!

The new Rapport hit the streets quite a few hours ago. Some surprises. Some bewilderment. Some shock. Some disappointment. But plenty of wow!

Here’s a typical response: “I am blown away. The new Rapport is absolutely stunning. I absolutely love the vibrant colours and the white space. It is young, beautiful and sexy. I am sure it will attract many young readers.”

I spoke to someone who had just bought the paper from a newsagent in Rosebank, and his simple words were: “It’s a huge improvement.”

Believe it or not, this has been the smoothest relaunch of a newspaper redesign I have ever experienced. And I’ve had plenty.

Editor Liza Albrecht and her entire team,  Ryk van Niekerk and David van Rooyen and their gang at the Business section, Bokkie Gerber and Rudolph Lake (a good friend and golfing partner of Ernie Els) and their sports stars, Magda Swart and her magazine geniuses, Arlene Prinsloo, Jan Morgenrood and the team of designers, the photographers, reporters and the artists all did a magnificent job!

And of course my ever-dependent poet, designer extraordinaire and fashion icon, Adonis Durado, and designers Ariel and Rodolfo who helped me make this happen. Thanks too to Charles Apple the blogging supremo who helped me with the graphics department.

I have worked on the concept and the prototypes for the past five, six months and it is such a pleasure to see the birth of a new look – without the birth pains!

I started out with massive tests with the typography. You name it, I’ve tested it! And there were at least six incarnations of Rapport on my Macs.

BUT THE BAD NEWS: My internet connection is so bad I can’t upload any photos! Boo!!!

I will be putting lots of pages on flickr soon.

It has been an awesome experience working on Rapport. This is one super huge broadsheet, measuring 58 cm x 41cm. It’s like an Airbus A380 compared to a Boeing 737!

But what a fantastic canvas that makes. Huge photos, acres of white space and plenty of playground space for designers and artists.

A black-and-white photo on the front page of the serious Weekliks section would cover the top half of an American broadsheet.

I took advantage of the printing capabilities of the presses and turned Rapport into a symphony orchestra – broadsheet for the main section, Weekliks, Sports and Careers, tabloid for Sake (the Business section which used to be a broadsheet and pronounced sarker), Doen Dit (meaning Do It, a going out guide), and a magazine format for the former Tydskrif which we renamed My Tyd (My Time).

The colour palette was chosen to reflect South Africa, with plenty of red (a link to the old paper) and yellow which I seem to see wherever I go in the country.

Typography is limited to three families – an interplay of the various weights of Boomer and Farnham (both from Font Bureau) and Zine (from fontfont in Germany).

There were lots of fantastic stories in the launch issue. And zillions of superb ideas from all the sections.

I could see everyone was having fun. Can’t wait to see the circulation figures, but that will come next week. Will keep you posted.


That’s Jan and I with the Page 1 on the screen.


Here’s Editor Liza and I inspecting the first copies on the grass patch outside the printing press.

Infectious TV jingle for Rapport

Millions of Afrikaaners are being infected by a fabulous jingle on television, humming and singing it in their bath-tubs, in the kitchen and at work!

The ditty is a part of a TV campaign to relaunch the national Sunday paper, Rapport, this Sunday (Oct 25). Here is the jingle on YouTube:


The jingle is a take-off from a 1950s Afrikaans song, Ou Ryperd (meaning Old Horse, ryperd rhyming with Rapport). The words were re-written to describe the new paper, and ends with the words “Be prepared. Oct 25″.

Rapport got a very famous singer, Kevin Leo, to sing the jingle aired on national TV.

Hundreds of full-page ads have also been placed  in Afrikaans broadsheets in the past two weeks with the same line.

There is certainly a buzz in the newsroom like they have never seen in decades.


Sneak preview of Rapport

Rapport, the naitonal Afrikaans daily, launches its redesign this Sunday.

Here is a sneak preview of the prototype.


20 days to relaunch!

The Big Day draweth nigh.

A redesign of South Africa’s national newspaper, Rapport, is to be relaunched on Oct 26.

My team and I have worked feverishly to make this happen and from the zillions of emails between Johannesburg and us in Sydney, we know this is going to be one hugely exciting experience for the folks there.

Rapport is a 330,000-circulation Sunday paper in Afrikaans. It has not had a redesign since 1999.

Together with the new look, we are doing some exciting things with the content and packaging but more of this later.