In 2013 there was plenty of amazing design like David Pearson – Nineteen Eighty-Four Cover and SagmeisterWalsh – Function Engineering. It is impossible to just pick one definite favourite but, for the purpose of a blog post, I decided to pick The Independent re-design as my Design of 2013.
The bold redesign is a clean and stylistic look at newspaper design. With the new logotype sprawled down the side creates an instant impact, especially compared to the previous (and by no means worst) design.
The changes themselves are less a redesign and more a complete overhaul, thanks in part to the new set of typefaces designed by Henrik Kubel of A2/SW/HK and A2-Type, that are worked through the newspaper. Designing from the type up has meant that the way each page works has been rethought, restructured, and, in particular, de-cluttered and simplified.
[Creative Review 07/11/13]
The paper’s new design, its third since 2010, took three months – and Willey worked closely with head of creative Dan Barber and Stephen Petch, art director of the Sunday New Review. According to editor Amol Rajan, the aim was to recreate the ‘classic with a twist’ design of its 1986 launch, and radiate “the feeling of a broadsheet in compact form.”
While The Independent retains its compact format, a fresh editorial strategy informed the redesign. Willey says that stories are now mainly short news-in-briefs or longer features, with less mid-length content. This enabled the team to contrast the story lengths, creating more clean space on each page.
Nowhere is this more prominent than on the front page, where the new masthead placement is intended to allow the lead image and headline room for impact. However, the new layout presents a common editorial design challenge: by positioning the picture story directly above the lead story, there is a danger the two could be perceived as connected, placing increased pressure on the main headline to create the necessary visual hierarchy.
[Computer Arts Issue 222]
Designed by Matt Willey and the in-house team at The Independent