By Dom Galeon
In 1964, Bob Dylan sang, “The times are a changin’.”
And have they! You need only look at the smartphone in your hand, where you can also read this article right now, to see how things have changed indeed. Technology, after all, is the easiest marker of innovation, progress, and change.
True to its mission as the “exponent of Philippine progress,” the wording of which it first adopted in 1939, the Manila Bulletin has been in step with the ever-changing times, often even ahead of it. The nation’s leading newspaper has transformed from a newspaper originally “published in the interest of the merchant marine” to a media outlet present in both print and digital, as well as other platforms current and coming.
With almost 120 years of history and heritage that have been published in every page of every issue, the Manila Bulletin marks another change, one you may have already noticed in today’s front page.
It starts with the masthead. From its years as the Daily Bulletin (1900-1906), the decades when it was called the Manila Daily Bulletin (1907-1972), and then briefly becoming Bulletin Today (1972-1986), to finally becoming the Manila Bulletin in 1986, the masthead has changed eight times. For the first time in nearly 100 years, the masthead now simply carries the Manila Bulletin name. It looks simpler and leaner.
While nearly radical in its obvious simplicity, this more modern masthead retains several elements crucial to the identity of the Manila Bulletin.
The new font belongs to the same typeface as the previous logo, for instance. At the center is the keystone, a design element that first appeared on the masthead in the 1920s. The revamped look of the keystone still contains a map of the Philippines and representations of the three industries the country is known for, all set in waves that mimic the ribbon from the previous logo.
The words “Exponent of Philippine Progress” are now found at the runner bar below the masthead, together with the newspaper’s founding year.
With the new masthead comes a new layout—a design refresh—for the front page and for every section inside the newspaper. Each of these sections has also had their respective logos redesigned, following the masthead’s typeface. A detail that may not readily be noticeable is the change in the fonts used for the articles in the newspaper.
As proof of how the Manila Bulletin has been ready to move forward into a digital media future, the articles in the newspaper and on the website are now in Google fonts—a seamless interweaving of two platforms, both of which remain relevant and essential even in today’s changing world.
This change is not breaking from the past. More than anything, it is embracing over a century of informing, inspiring, and empowering readers. It is an amalgam of nine previous mastheads the newspaper has had since 1900, a countdown marker to the Manila Bulletin’s 120th anniversary on February 2, 2020.
You might ask, what’s in a logo? Well, in the case of the Manila Bulletin, and as highlighted in its upcoming anniversary’s theme, it’s 120 years of telling “timely stories” of “timeless truths.”