Irish Times relaunches, with the help of Edinburgh-based designers

THE Irish newspaper, the Irish Times, has relaunched – with the help of Edinburgh-based newspaper designers.

Palmer Watson were commissioned – says the paper’s editor, Kevin O’Sullivan –  to provide a design that is “more modern, readable, and convenient to consume by virtue of being slightly narrower in size”.

Adds Sullivan, Palmer Watson previously worked with the Irish Times in a refresh of the paper’s design four years ago.

He writes on the Irish Times’ website: “Their remit [this time around] was to give The Irish Times a design that would serve our journalism by making the newspaper more accessible and readable.

“In the beginning there was a big broadsheet that was 400mm wide – now it is 368mm wide. The reduction in width is only eight 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.

Palmer Watson is the team also behind redesigns at El Pais, Le Monde and Politiken.

Ally Palmer told allmediascotland: “It was a challenge to work on a redesign of one of our own designs, but it was also an opportunity to push it further than we were able to do in 2008.

“The Irish Times is very much an institution so it can be difficult to introduce change and not shock readers. But the response has been generally very positive other than the reader who complained that the slightly smaller newspaper wouldn’t cover his car windscreen quite so well on a frosty Dublin morning.”

Continues Sullivan: “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.

“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.

“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.”