The design should be clean, elegant and professional-looking.
We don't want anything too bleeding edge, and we would like to steer away from anything that looks too much like a blog.
Please feel free to be creative. We are open to different styles, colour schemes etc. but it is important the design works with itself as a whole and has a consistent look and feel.
We are not after a niche look, as the design may be used for more than one newspaper (maybe with some small variations). On the other hand, we realise that trying to be too generic can stifle creativity. We will have to find a middle ground.
The website will be built using the Drupal content management system. You don't have to know anything about Drupal, but it may help you understand the sorts of elements that may appear. For example, we quite like http://www.nbr.co.nz (but of course, don't just copy an existing site).
The results of the design should be a PSD (or equivalent XCF) file with no colour profiles, and a PNG version of the flattened PSD. Showing the front page is enough as long as all the major elements of the design are present. There is no need for any coding.
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I have been asked what the name of the newspaper is. We haven't decided which newspaper to put up first, so please just make something up like 'My Newspaper', or 'The Online News'. Thanks.
I would like the theme to be fixed width, about 960 pixels wide. There should be at least one sidebar.
We have found that most online newspapers are base white, with a dash of colour, and I would like to suggest this as a starting point.
Please also look at my comment http://99designs.com/contests/22641…nt-2938967 which is in response to retro rocket.