On Monday, January 15,2018, The Guardian changed to a new format and design. I’m newspaper designer, founder and organizer of the European Newspaper Award and I have asked — now eleven — newspaper designers from all over Europe to give their opinion about the changings.

To show the changings, I have compared old and new design. The comparison is Monday January 8 to Monday January 15, 2018, because the last Berlin format version from Saturday has another layout than on other days. We have only pdf files to compare, no printed version. That means we don’t know exactly the different in size of the berlin and tabloid format. I have also an opinion about the new design: I placed it in the captions together with remarks of Jordi Catala, Professor at EINA — Centro Universitario de Diseño y Arte de Barcelona.

If you want to have a look at the new Guardian, please follow this link: http://guardian.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx It is possible to make a one day free of charge subscription of the epaper.

Background: The reason for the format changing was published in 2017: “Guardian Media Group (GMG), the parent company of the Guardian and Observer print and digital businesses, has decided to move from its Berliner Newspaper format to the smaller size as part of a major cost-saving drive.”

It is good that the new redesign and visual identity are launched at the same time in all platforms — important to any modern news brand. The new design is of course of a very high class and executed with great talent. It’s a bold and risky project to swift The Guardians very strong format in print; ‘The Berliner’

for a more common format as the ‘tabloid’. A smaller format somehow diminish The Guardian.
The overall impression I grasp from this very first day is of a more ‘classic newspaper’ look, that somehow looks less modern and contemporary than the previous Guardian did.

Guardian changed to a new title-piece in black and white, a new drawn typeface by The Commercial type called ‘Guardian Headline’. It’s an elegant typeface but the placement of it is not really working, the logo feels somewhat on the way out from the phone, where it sits to the right… In print The title-piece also looks a little misfitted.

A clear mistake in the new design is to loose the lower case character ‘g’ for the capital ‘G’, as the letterform of ‘g’ in lower case, has so much more character than any capitol ’G’.
The most important design dna of Guardian in print and digital is the Egyptienne typeface and it’s a relief, a lot of the Guardian egyptienne are still in play. It’s one of the most efficient newspaper typefaces ant yet it’s beautiful too.
The print frontpage looks incredible common. The Sport ‘front’ on the backside looks more appealing than the newpaper front. Visually it looks like The Guardian really lost it’s focus. It used to really have great edited news photography but the choice of photography today is not creating impact.

Orange is the new ‘black’. This warm red/orange with black, put me somewhat back to the old Guardian 1998 redesign. The range of colours are somehow conflicting and the weaker colours disturbs me. It looks more like a Financial Times, with bright and light colour tints. For example a salmon pink background behind the columnist text bars, is perhaps too sophisticated?

The rulers that is also a very important part of the Guardian design are updated too. It’s was the famous Massimo Vignelli who did it first in the history of graphic design, when he invented the NYC subway system in the 60ties.
It will be interesting to experience how the new Guardian redesign feels on day two. It is always a question about how you use the design and presentation in your journalism.

 Während sich der deutsche Tabloid-Hype (Gottseidank!) wieder gelegt hat, kann man den Kollegen vom Guardian nur viel Glück wünschen. Der Brexit vom alten Berliner Format und damit die neue Handlichkeit (gut) hat ihren Preis: die linksliberale Tageszeitung wird einigen Boulevardblättern auf der Insel immer ähnlicher. Hintergrundberichte sind wie beim Handelsblatt oder bei der FR nur noch auf Doppelseiten oder auf noch mehr Seiten möglich. Das neue Konzept bedingt optisch und inhaltlich neue Formate. Basis-Typo: klassisch-feuilletonistisch — passt weiter gut zur intellektuellen Leserschaft.

Titelseite: Oh je, mir etwas wild!! Hier klemmt es an allen Ecken und Enden. Die knallig-farbigen Anreißer bedrängen den Doppeldecker-Zeitungstitel, dazu noch ein Freisteller. Das Bild des Tages “rutscht” deshalb zwangsläufig nach unten (schwierig, völlig im Gegensatz zur Küpper-Lehre!) Die optisch plakativen Seitenhinweise (gut) sind dringend notwendig, sonst würden sie völlig untergehen. Unten beim Foto typografisch zu unentschieden.

Gewöhnungsbedürftig: die 4er-Linien oben (auch bei den Sektions-Titelseiten und über den Autoren), sollen wohl eines der neuen Markenzeichen sein. Viel Glück damit! Und die schockroten Autorenzeilen, fallen als erstes ins Auge! Sind die Schreiber hier wichtiger als der Inhalt? Fand ich die frühere Version in zurückgenommenem Blau angemessener.

Innenseite: Für ein politisches Blatt mit etwas mehr 150.000 Auflage zu wenig Hintergrundberichte über 2 oder noch mehr Seiten. Die Texte sind ob des neuen Formats auf zahlreichen Seiten noch kürzer geworden. Das Zurechtfinden innerhalb der Ressorts ist etwas schwieriger geworden. Halt geben die optisch kräftigen Elemente wie Seitenzahlen in runden Feldern, Zitate, Infoboxen etc. Sektionstitel mit den Anreißern funktionieren gut.

Mit dem Verzicht auf das bisherige Farbschema und die Farbflächen ist dem Guardian die bisher angenehme Harmonie verloren gegangen. Ziel ist offenbar eine grafisch reduzierte Zeitungsoptik mit sehr betontem Typo- und Farbeinsatz.
 
- Die neuen Bildzeilen, jeweils mit einem kleinen roten Pfeil. So funktionieren auch Bildüberschriften, Bildnebenschriften etc. gut.
- Die neuen Zitat-Sprechblasen auf den roten/gelben Feldern, wenn sie richtig angewandt werden.
- Die neuen Infoboxen, die konsequenter als früher angewendet werden. Und die Gliederung der Infoboxen (Zahlen, Fakten mit Farben, Typo farblich hervorgehoben).
- Bei Hintergrundberichten ganze Info-Tableaus.
- Freisteller mit den runden Farbflächen. Bei Porträts gut, bei Sachaufnahmen diskussionswürdig.
- Einsatz von Cyan, Gelb und Rot bei der Typo. Spannend insbesondere die gelben Farbflächen bei den Headlines im Sport (knallig)
- Klare Pullout-Sektionen.
 
Verschlechterungen:
Nicht so pfiffig:

 - Titelseite, mal schauen, wie sich diese in den nächsten Tagen präsentiert.
- Der Fokus zu sehr auf die Autoren mit der Schockfarbe Rot. Wenn die Person auf einem Porträt zu sehen wäre ok., aber so etwas übertrieben.
- Die weitere Begrenzung der Vorspänne. War früher schon wenig, ist nun aber noch enger.
- Noch weniger Infografiken (wo sind die alle hin????, Infoboxen und Datenkästen ok, aber…).
- Noch kürzere Texte auf vielen Seiten = weniger Inhalt?
- Die frühere Farbe Blau findet man nur noch im Sportteil und im G2-Teil (da ist es noch farbiger) — arg konstruierter Gegensatz.
- Online unterscheidet sich wesentlich, hier wäre eine Harmonisierung gut. Spannend das Förderprojekt mit den Lesern, um eine Paywall zu vermeiden!

The team behind the Guardian project are confident, explosive and innovative from day one. The Guardian is still a welldesigned and a role model brand judged from an overall perspective. And for that reason a lot of the design choices should be questioned and critizised.

Guardians famous design for the print edition used to differentiate itself from other quality papers with the Berliner format, the flexible colour system and the even more flexible Guardian typography. So in which way does these qualities still define The Guardian?

The new tabloid edition is a sellout on the format. Period. Money matters!

Editor-in-chief Katharin Viner says that Guardian introduced “a range of energetic colours”. But today it looks like there’s a conflict between the old — but still existing — sophisticated coloursystem and the new raw black-red coloursystem.

So all the news are red and black except for the blue all over the Sport. For the conservative eye the sportspages feels more Guardian than the rest of the paper — but the reader will probably get used to all the dynamic red elements. And the yellow marker technique will probably be even more trendsetting for our industry than it already was — since Guardian is a trendsetter. I really like how Guardian master to turn something flashy into something aesthetic. The layout of page 56 with Roger Federer is a great example of this fine use of yellow marker.

There’s a young happy feel about this first new front page all though it’s too messy in the upper part. It’s like Guardian desperately wants to tell the reader that all the colours of the rainbow are still in play in Guardian. Is the new range of colours endless in reality?

The original Guardian Egyptian family comes is big numbers of cuts and today we meet a new member: called Guardian Headline. It is supposed to be easier to read and that’s a quality! The look of those headlines in Guardian today is crisp and modern. But without the character of the Egyptienne. The big question is how all those great cuts from the design experts ‘Commercial Type’ will combine in the upcoming weekend sections. Look forward to see that.
 
The old blue masterhead is replaced with a new black masterhead. It gained more classic beauty but lost coolness and suddenly the ridiculous word ‘The’ is way too dominant and heavy. I will also question the use of the new headline font for both the masterhead and the standalone ‘G’ for the app. The look is almost fragile — not my Guardian angel.

My favorite detail are the red quote boxes. What a great tool with subtle reference to the body-language of cartoons!

My hate detail is the overused triple line. Ornament is crime!

Finally my thumb up for the powerful presentation of the new design on all platforms simultaneously.

New size: Inspired by reducing the cost it seems a logical move. I can’t help myself, but I loved the Berliner (size and quality of print). Although the new size is perhaps more practical to handle, it lacks somehow the authority of a full-sized tabloid. 

New front page: The masthead looks classy, but less distinctive than the one with the famous blue bar. I like the detail, it still feels like The Guardian. Coulours a bit subtle, orange, red, purple, magenta very close together. Makes it look kind of muddled. I like the typography and the clean architecture of the frontpage. I can’t shake the feeling that for me it’s less authoritative in comparison with the former design. I wonder how it works on actual paper (I only have seen the pdf-version)

New inside pages: Overall more detail, very properly done. Architecture, use of photo’s, typography. Still very Guardian. In general it eyes more popular than before and more magazinish in my opinion. The yellow bars in the sport-section, the highlighting in yellow. It looks a bit cheaper. I wonder out loud if the perception of authority is diminished because of the detailing and colorization. It’s beautiful, to use the words of Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner. But I don’t agree that it feels bold. I certainly hope size doesn’t matter, like it mattered somehow to The Independent. Apart from that still state of the art.

innovation: In-house designer Mark Porter surprised everybody with the Berliner Guardian back in 2005. By far one of the best innovative designs in the history of newspapers. I still think the design of The Guardian stands the test of time and is being honored in this redesign. The design-team did a very good job in updating the design to the (not so easy) size.

Webdesign: The webpages still seem to have the structure of the former design. It still looks good, but again less distinctive. The use of color in the headlines makes it a bit more messy. Nevertheless in my opinion one of the best newspaper-sites in the world.