Holiday Greetings from Hoy
Hoy is the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States. Every year, they print special holiday greetings in the paper to thank readers for their support. Hoy has won the highest prizes for Spanish-language investigative journalism. These holiday ads should reflect the quality of the publication itself, with friendliness and warmth. It should be welcoming and instantly like-able.
The imagery needed to be safe for Hoy readers and their youngest family members. The client would not allow alcoholic or religious imagery for these ads.
The Design Process
Type is the first step. I needed the display numerals to be bold and decorative. I was inspired by the numbers on dollar bills, but didn't want something too antique. I studied the form of the numbers, figured out the proportions, calculated the best locations for control points, and drew the vectors in Adobe Illustrator. Then I added decorative shading and shadows for depth.
I drew the illustrations in the same style as the numbers for unity and consistency. For details in the illustrations, I introduced a new contrasting red. This color contrast gives the illustrations emphasis in the overall composition, establishing the visual hierarchy. The illustrations catch your eye first in the chaotic and distracting context of the newspaper.
I chose my own typeface Chicago Gothic for the headline type. Its tall proportions and even stroke width compliment the wide display numerals. I designed the diacritical marks for the Spanish words, and tested their readability on a native Spanish speaker.
Because I designed this typeface myself, there were no surprises during typesetting. I already know the spacing is good and the kerning pairs are good, because I spent months refining them.
Successes and Achievements
The cyan and red color palette is cool and appropriate for winter, without skewing towards Christmas or Hanukkah. Cyan and red are also the colors of the Chicago flag, which has a fanatical cult-like following there. I've seen everyone from gangsters to hipsters with Chicago flag tattoos!
The color palette and typography give the ads a consistent look and feel, even with the different headlines and illustrations. It looks like an integrated campaign instead of random one-off ads. Hoy's marketing team did not ask for this, I pitched it to them. Visual repetition reinforces the message. Consistent style raises the reader's perception of the brand. At the very least, Hoy looks organized and strategic.
This particular client was very hands-on with the design, but was not a trained designer. I was asked repeatedly to make changes that were design crimes. I had to make the change, then carefully explain why those changes looked ridiculous and the original was much better. I learned the hard way that sometimes being a designer is being a design educator.