A landmark in the evolution of 'The Irish Times'

Mon, Nov 5, 2012, 00:00

Today we publish a changed Irish Times. With designers Palmer Watson we have redesigned the newspaper to make it more modern, readable, and convenient to consume by virtue of being slightly narrower in size.

Our journalism is also being enhanced to better serve our readers from Monday to Friday, and to do so in a distinctive way at the weekend.

News, business and foreign coverage which has the hallmark of our significant input features more in the front part of the paper, especially where we are in a position to provide context on news, events and trends that shape people’s lives.

The changes are balanced carefully to retain the core of The Irish Times; while highlighting elements that make it so compelling for readers.

Newspaper and digital developments over coming months will help us reach readers and consumers of all ages, especially at key stages of their life.

This is being done while retaining our values and independence which are guaranteed by The Irish Times Trust.

A smarter Irish Times – in look and content – will continue our tradition of quality journalism. We intend that the newspaper together with our digital offerings will play an essential part in informing and enriching the lives of a growing number of print and online consumers.

Design 2012: The nuts and bolts

The designers

Palmer-Watson is an Edinburgh-based newspaper design consultancy with a long record in papers in western and northern Europe. They previously worked with The Irish Times in the 2008 design refresh of the paper and were also involved in the design of The Ticket.

Their remit was to give The Irish Times a design that would serve our journalism by making the newspaper more accessible and readable.

The size

In the beginning there was a big broadsheet that was 400mm wide – now it is 368mm wide. The reduction in width is only 8 per cent, but in your hands you should feel a bigger difference in terms of making our broadsheet more manageable and readable.

For our compact publications, such as Health + Family, the reduction is in the depth while the width remains the same. The same is true for the Magazine.

The redesign to a smaller size has required changes at our Citywest printing plant and that transition has been taking place over the last few weeks.

Typography

The Irish Times typefaces are largely unchanged and we will continue to use Expresso and Flama, albeit with slightly less use of the sans Flama fonts.

We have brought two weights of Expresso into the equation, with the extra bold face in use for headlines in our news sections and the black, with a tint applied, used in headlines in the Arts and Life pages.

Both new fonts allow us to use smaller headlines that can still pack punch.

The body text is the same Expresso typeface as before but it has been increased slightly (from 8.5pt to 8.7pt). The text settings for spacing between letters and words have also been adjusted to give a better reading experience.

Colour

This design signifies a departure from the dominant red/black palette of recent years and introduces colour-coded sections. The red and black survives in our News and World sections but as you move through the paper and supplements you will see the new, enlarged palette.

Design features

The design provided by Palmer-Watson is aimed at opening up our pages and making them more engaging for readers.

They include more structured, hierarchical pages with better definition between stories (strong grey rules) and strong vertical pillars that allow us to cover smaller stories easily while giving more space to those we choose to develop and expand on.

There are many points of entry with more subheads, quotes and information panels. The design allows for greater use of images too.

The process

Palmer-Watson were briefed and engaged in early summer. After an intensive period of consultation with The Irish Times editors and design team, they worked with us to come up with a design template.

Their tools were handed over to the core Irish Times design team of chief subeditor Brian Kilmartin, our publishing system IT specialist Mick Crowley and myself.

Since mid-July we have been working with Irish Times editors and staff to see how we can make the new design work for our journalism throughout the paper. We believe the design will serve our journalism well – we hope you do too.

If you have any comment or queries about the redesign please email us at change@irishtimes.com

Today

* Pricewatch returns to the main paper. Page 12

* Food Farming begins in Business + Innovation

* Reconfigured Bulletin page now including Sudoku and with a new weather service

* Body + Sole moves to tomorrow's Health + Family

* Units page appears tomorrow.

Tomorrow

* Health + Family widens its brief from parenting

* Your new Business + Your Money section covers the issues around your personal finances.

Liam Ryan, Production & Design editor