Opinion

New look, same mission: A newspaper of a different color

The AMNews masthead color changes from green to the signature purple of its publisher, the American Medical Association.

Posted April 3, 2006.

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To our readers:

You might have noticed a change at the top of our front page this week. The AMNews masthead -- the large and distinctive type that announces our name -- is purple. The new design also incorporates the modernized staff of Asclepius symbol of our publisher, the American Medical Association.

Design matters are a much greater newsroom obsession than most readers might think. Our masthead design is critically important to us, because it is the symbol that helps you find this newspaper on your desktop. Other visual elements make AMNews easier to navigate and our coverage more understandable. We never treat redesign work lightly. Nevertheless, it is time for a change.

Green, in one shade or another, has been a consistent part of our masthead design for more than 35 years. Before that, our masthead was a riot of color that changed weekly: pink, orange, green, blue (purple, too). No one knows for sure why green stuck, though it's thought to be a nod to the use of the color by the AMA at the time.

Purple became the AMA's signature color last year, and now we making the switch as well.

The AMA's new color replaced a green of sorts, a utilitarian teal the AMA adopted in the 1990s. Purple is a striking departure and a fitting one.

Instead of the shade of the scrubs that might identify a doctor, purple is a statement about deeper aspects of medicine. It is a striking color that reflects the nobility of the standards and ethics that define the practice of medicine. As noted in an editorial at the time the color made its debut, purple is "a combination of red (connoting energy) and blue (stability)," resulting in "a powerful, arresting color that is also warm and welcoming."

That's a lot of heavy lifting for any color, but, as noted earlier, we're a little obsessed when it comes to the importance and possibilities of color and design. Just not so much that we forget what's much more important.

Whether under a banner of purple or green, the same objective drives our actions every issue cycle -- to provide useful news and information for physicians. Your practice concerns guide our every working day, and your acceptance of us as a part of your professional life is what keeps us in business.

Following that philosophy has brought us to a fortunate place among the multitude of physician publications. Within our own large part of the market, we are ranked at the top tier by most important measures of readership and reach. It is a privilege, and that, too, is something we never take lightly.

All of us at AMNews thank you for making that possible.

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Editor, American Medical News

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