Newspapers have been around for hundreds of years. Their news coverage varies based on the location, target demographic, political views of the publisher or owner, and many other factors. They are also varied in the way they are designed. Today’s newspapers are rarely laid out by hand, and instead use graphic design software to arrange the content on the pages. One of the main factors determining the look and design of a newspaper is the paper size.
Since 1712, the broadsheet page has been among the most popular newspaper designs in the industry. This 33.1-inch by 23.4-inch page size became popular when publishers decided they needed to get more information on a single page to cut down on the page count. This is because the British imposed a newspaper tax that was solely based on the number of pages in the publication. Fewer pages meant less tax. The broadsheet became the standard for most American newspapers as well, and today many daily metropolitan newspapers retain the broadsheet design, although at a much narrower spread. Major publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post are laid out in broadsheet form.
Another popular design for American newspapers is the tabloid. Each page of the tabloid layout is generally 16.9 inches by 11 inches. It is approximately half the size of the broadsheet design and is often folded in the middle to make an even smaller package. The name tabloid came from the type of newspapers that once used the size almost exclusively. Tabloid journalism featured tightly written stories that were easy to read, and which were often sensational. Although tabloid design was once primarily used by publications such as the National Enquirer or Star, more established newspapers have converted to the smaller size because of its popularity with readers. The New York Daily News and New York Post each use tabloid layouts.
For newspaper owners who feel they are best served by the tabloid format, but consider themselves to have too high a journalistic standard to be referred to as a tabloid, they opt for the compact design. Compact design is different in name only. The typical compact newspaper design has pages that are 16.9 inches by 11 inches, the same as the tabloid format. Some presses may have slight variations. The name is simply a way to separate the publication from those with lesser tabloid reputations. The Sun in England and the Daily Telegraph in Australia both choose this alternative design classification.
Berliner is a type of newspaper design that is 18.5 inches by 12.4 inches. While this in-between size of newspaper is not commonly found in the United States, it is prominent in Europe. The Guardian in the United Kingdom, The University Observer in Ireland and Le Monde in France are all newspapers designed in the Berliner style.