Design of the Times 1900s 1903: The South China Morning Post was born. The masthead is the identity of any newspaper. In the Post's first edition, the masthead was in an ornate gothic style, which undoubtedly would have been hand-rendered by a skilled artist. This grand style helped give the impression of authority and was similar to the mastheads of many newspapers at the time. A century ago, advertisements made up the entire front page. Copy was set in a single serifed typeface but different sizes of type were used. Serif typefaces, like this one (as opposed to sans-serif faces, like the one used in the picture-caption lower down this page) are considered easier to read and continue to be used by the Post and most other newspapers. The complex production process at the time, where metal letters were individually set in a frame, limited the design options, but simple visual elements, such as thin black ruled lines, were used to separate advertisements. 1920s 1923: The paper changed significantly between 1903 and 1923. News stories now shared the front page with more eye-catching advertisements. Stories were laid out in narrow columns and were far shorter than articles in newspapers today. Two or three word headlines were complimented by a sub-heading. The headlines were centred and separated from the body text by a ruled line. These rules formed part of the overall design of the front page, with varying weights, double rules and diamond embellishments reflecting the popular art-deco stylings of the time. Improvements in the production process allowed advertisers to use a variety of typefaces as well as illustrations and logos to gain readers' attention. The Post maintained its gothic masthead, but in a less ornate style. 1940s 1941: The paper's overall look was constant through the years of the Great Depression and the second world war. The news section of the front page remained in a three vertical column format. The main news story ran in the middle of the page, using a series of headlines. The story was longer, and broken up by a sub-heading midway through. As articles increased in length, visual elements like sub-headings and so-called cross-heads in the text were introduced to bring relief to the reader. Without them, the front page would risk becoming an off-putting grey mass of words. A logo tops the right-hand news column, providing both a visual point of interest as well as providing identity and personality to this section of the paper. The advertisements became more interesting as more intricate illustrations were made possible by advances in production technology. 1960s 1963: Over the decades, the paper began to look more like newspapers today. Changes in the layout of the page gave editors the ability to convey the importance of stories through the use of different typefaces and also a more complex layout grid. The front page was not only more interesting to look at, but also gave readers an indication what were the top stories of the day from their placement on the page and headline size. Differing weights of typefaces also made the page more visually compelling. Advertisements were now secondary to news, with only two on the front page, placed at the bottom. The introduction of photography heralded a new era in newspaper design. Not only were the photographs eye-catching, they helped to tell the story, providing a new dimension to the news - at times providing the reader with an insight not possible through words alone. News graphics like maps and graphs were also introduced, allowing complex information to be conveyed visually. 1980s 1983: The masthead underwent a total redesign around this time, its style reflecting the trend towards cleaner, simpler design. The earlier ornate stylings were replaced with a bold roman typeface in 1971, to coincide with the Post's move from Wyndham Street in Central to Quarry Bay. This was a brave decision, because it meant that the paper needed to re-educate its readers about its branding. News graphics became more sophisticated, both complementing text and drawing readers into the story. Navigating the page was becoming more difficult, so different typefaces and ruled lines provided stronger contrasts. The paper also underwent a major change behind the scenes, which impacted on its design. In 1971, hot metal production was replaced by photo type-setting, a technique sometimes called bromide. This new technology gave designers and editors far more flexibility and control over page layout. 2000s 2003: In 1996, the Post introduced electronic pagination, streamlining the layout process and allowing for more design-intensive layouts. The full-colour printing process has also made a big difference to the look of the paper. Colour gives added impact to photographs and news graphics, and also makes page pointers easily identifiable. Photographs have become a central feature of today's Post. But as they gain more space, and promotional teasers compete for the reader's attention, fewer stories appear on the front page. The masthead has also undergone changes. While the style remains unchanged from earlier editions, it has become a more dominant feature, stretching the entire width of the front page. A banner running beneath the masthead, called the 'skybox', draws readers further into the newspaper by highlighting other stories. The focus of the design is on navigation and helping readers find what they need quickly - as ever, clarity and readability are the priority.