American flags were hoisted and flown across the nation on Memorial Day, less than a week after the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune took one down.
The Herald Tribune replaced its 142-year-old "dingbat" masthead logo in favor of an all-text header in English Towne-Normal, the same font the Times uses.
The old front-page banner featured an eagle atop a clock, surrounded by an hourglass and implements of manual labor: an Asian farmer pushing a hand plow; camels standing in silhouette against the Egyptian pyramids; an airplane flying over a factory, and, in the foreground, a woman raising an American flag.
Removing the flag and the logo, which took place for the May 21 edition, was part of an effort to give the paper a "cleaner, more contemporary, and more international presentation," according to the communications manager of the Paris-based Herald Tribune, Vanessa Whittall.
"We wanted to update the International Herald Tribune nameplate, and by removing the traditional 'dingbat' graphic between Herald and Tribune we have created a more contemporary and concise presentation that is consistent with our digital platforms," Ms. Whittall said. This meant doing away with the motif, which "included a U.S. flag but also a number of somewhat obscure references," she said.
The founder of Innovation International Media Consulting Group and editor of the Web log Innovationsinnewspapers, Juan Antonio Giner, expressed dismay at the Herald Tribune's decision to "play with such a traditional, magnificent, beautiful, well-done logo."
Mr. Giner said the paper is struggling financially and needs to focus on larger problems, such as management and marketing, not cover design. Still, he said readers would be unlikely to notice the disappearance of the American flag. "The last thing that changes the character of a newspaper is the masthead," he said.
Until 2001, the online edition of the International Herald Tribune featured in its header a folded copy of the paper, with the print masthead small but visible. Since then, the Herald Tribune's Web site has undergone a series of design changes featuring all-text logos in the site's signature colors, black and yellow. The print edition has made similar adjustments intended to reflect the paper's ownership. It was known as the "Paris edition" of the New York Herald Tribune for decades, until the Times bought it and changed the subhead to "Published by the New York Times." Now both print edition and Web site are labeled "The Global Edition of the New York Times."
The Times has owned the Herald Tribune fully since 2003, Ms. Whittall said, and this latest change "signals the continuing integration of IHT and NYT operations."
Amparro Lizarazo-Sizemore, a managing partner in charge of design at Influence Communications Group, a company specializing in corporate branding, said companies with Web and print editions face challenges with branding equity. "Continuity is the most important aspect of going cross-platform," she said. A trademark should also appeal to current customers and prospective ones, she said. "It's absolutely necessary to keep a brand fresh, alive, and moving along," she said, but "if you've got great brand equity, there are other ways of modernizing your overall brand image."