The Times launches its new-look paper this week with a low-key redesign by Neville Brody’s Research Studios that features a bespoke font and subtle visual changes.
A new typeface – Times Modern – has been applied to headlines and all text above the body copy of the paper. Its body text font remains unchanged. The Times Modern headline font on the masthead has been redesigned by Research Studios designer Luke Prowse and the coat of arms has also been redrawn by wood engraver Edwina Ellis.
Other changes include a greater focus on fact boxes and sub headings, the use of bold pull quotes and arrow-shaped bullet points.
‘Readers are used to the short headline and trail that is used on the Internet and some of this is reminiscent of Web usage,’ says Brody.
Opinion pieces are now differentiated by the introduction of a sans serif font, Gotham, and a five- rather than six-column grid to ‘give a change of pace’, according to Brody.
Brody says the revamp was prompted by the newspaper’s move from broadsheet to tabloid size, and comes in recognition of changing reader habits and a more Web-savvy audience.
‘Readers today have shorter attention spans and demand clearer navigation,’ says Brody. ‘You can’t just squeeze a broadsheet into a smaller size. [At the time of the relaunch] the paper didn’t have time to make fundamental changes and it had become very dense, grey and quite difficult to read.’
Brody acknowledges that changes are unlikely to be immediately obvious to the average reader, but he says this was deliberate. ‘Some people might be disappointed that it’s not more obvious, but if readers can’t pinpoint the changes then that meets our goal. It’s about making the paper easier to read and the stories leading the design rather than the other way round.’
Brody worked on the project with lead designer Jon Hill, who was recruited specifically for this job. Research Studios was appointed last year, following a four-way pitch process.
• The quality newspaper market has been plagued by falling sales since 2001
• The Times moved from broadsheet to tabloid size in November 2003, following The Independent, which resized in September 2003
• The Independent then launched a redesign by Barcelona-based Cases Associates in April 2005
• The Guardian launched its Berliner format in September 2005