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It seems as though America has gone ‘makeover’ crazy with shows like Queer Eye, the Swan and Extreme Makeover becoming huge prime time hits on respectable television networks.

The REVIEW, along with its fellow Wednesday Journal Inc. weeklies, will join the makeover rush next week. Do not expect pink hair or Botox however. The redesign will improve the paper but not change it radically.

The redesign process began in November when the REVIEW began working with newspaper designer Phillip Ritzenberg. Ritzenberg was the long time lead editorial designer for the New York Daily News and has been doing freelance design work across the country for the last 10 years.

“He is an expert when it comes to redesigns,” said Dan Haley, REVIEW publisher. “We first worked with him five years ago when we launched Chicago Journal in the South Loop and West Loop. That to me is a very handsome and stylish paper.”

Obviously impressed by Ritzenberg’s attention to detail and eye, Wednesday Journal, Inc. has since hired Ritzenberg to redesign its Chicago Parent magazine and now, as part of the company’s 25th anniversary celebration, he is back to redesign the company’s four other weeklies”the Review, Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest, Austin Weekly News and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.

“All of our papers started out with a set design. But over time and with the advent of desktop publishing and all its bells and whistles, they mutated and became a mish mash of text and headlines that don’t really fit together,” Haley said. “It’s like accumulating furniture from different resale shops and putting it in your living room. One day you realize they don’t go together.”

The redesign will simplify the paper’s look and make it easier for readers. It will also take better advantage of the paper’s increased color capacity.

Despite undergoing a simultaneous redesign with the rest of the company’s weeklies, the REVIEW will remain a distinct paper both in design and content.

“When we started the process, it was a logical time to ask if we wanted to continue to emphasize each paper’s distinct look and feel. It was really a pretty easy question. The whole focus of our company is on publishing very local papers that fit with their towns. So each new design is separate and each one reflects the roots of that paper,” Haley said. “We didn’t want this to seem like a sausage factory that puts out a string of the same product.”

“This paper is a uniquely Forest Park paper and it should always be set apart from its peers in Oak Park and River Forest,” said REVIEW Managing Editor Melissa Lou. “It began as a separate entity and we have worked hard to ensure it will continue to be different, even though it was purchased by Wednesday Journal, Inc. many years ago. The audiences are different in the different communities”they have different tastes, wants and needs and our paper needs to fit Forest Park’s taste.”

At a quick glance some elements of the redesign are quite subtle. Headline and body copy fonts will change. The paper’s flag has been retooled.

“These are considered to be cleaner and more vertical fonts making the paper easier to read,” Rebecca Lomax, REVIEW editorial design manager, said.

There will also be more space and a brighter shade of blue will grace the flag, as well as some minor changes in its appearance.