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Louis Silverstein, who redesigned NY Times, dies

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2011 9:23 AM
Louis Silverstein, who redesigned NY Times, dies

Former New York Times art director Louis Silverstein, who helped modernize the Times and was credited with influencing newspaper design nationwide, has died at age 92.

Silverstein's daughter, Anne Silverstein, told the Times that her father died Thursday of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Brooklyn.

Silverstein was charged with transforming the so-called "Gray Lady" into a more visually appealing newspaper that could attract readers in the age of television.

Former Times managing editor Arthur Gelb said Silverstein responded with a vision for opening up the newspaper's design. Gelb said Silverstein made more creative use of typefaces, enlarged photos, added graphics and ran fewer stories on a page.

"He wanted the paper to breathe," Gelb said.

Many of Silverstein's contributions remain evident. He enlarged the typeface to make it more comfortable to read and engineered the reconfiguration of the front page to six columns from eight in 1976.

When the Times expanded to four daily sections from two, adding SportsMonday, Science Times, Living, Home and Weekend, Silverstein oversaw the look of the new sections.

"Every time you pick up the paper, you have in your hands a reflection of Lou's sparkling talent," former Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal once said.

Before becoming the newspaper's design director, Silverstein was an abstract painter, an art director for advertising agencies and the corporate art director for The New York Times Company.

He retired in 1985 but stayed on as a Times consultant, redesigning 35 of the company's regional newspapers. He also redesigned newspapers in Kenya, Brazil and Spain.

In addition to his daughter, Silverstein is survived by his wife, Helen, and two grandsons. His son, Jamie, was hit by a car in 1964 and died.

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com