Notebook 2 March 2016 | NEWSPAPERS
I dislike the Daily Mail and the Daily Express – not just because of their political stance and bias but because they just look so ugly and old fashioned. Headlines are set in crude bold condensed fonts and insist on shouting at the reader in CAPS from their front and back pages; other headlines have tired underscoring; text is splodgy and difficult to read and their lead front page stories start with the first para in about 12pt, the second para in about 10pt and then the rest of the copy in the regular smaller text size… arrgh! This is design from the dark ages and it’s a style that has unfortunately pervaded much of the national and regional press for many years. So what a relief it was to see the bright and breezy The New Day hit the news stands on Monday 29 February. Here is a paper that looks lively and modern and feels like a breath of fresh air when seen alongside the Mail and Express. Fonts are more contemporary, colours are fresher and there is a lightness of touch. (In 2004 The Guardian was redesigned with a brilliant set of fonts that included a slab-serif or ‘Egyptian’ in a huge range of weights – and since then we’ve slowly been seeing other newspapers, such as the i, adapt slab-serifs as their font of choice for headlines. The New Day has opted for its own ‘Egyptian’ which it combines well with Helvetica in a variety of weights.) The design is by Trinity Mirror Group Art Director Adele Jennings.
10 years ago or so, with declining circulations, the march of the internet and the availability of instant news through TV and social media, some newspapers finally twigged that they needed to change and provide more news-analysis type news, more feature content and be much more like a magazine in style – and the overriding feel of The New Day is that of a woman’s magazine. Gideon Spanier, Head of Media at Campaign, sums it up well describing it as “a less edgy version of Grazia meets Good Housekeeping, with a dose of Take A Break”.
Despite its freshness, I found The New Day to be lacking in substance and a bit throwaway and I was confused by its page planning with the sport splashed haphazardly around the middle rather than tucked in at the end. The second issue on Tuesday 1 March suffered with some low resolution pictures but I’m sure these are just teething problems.
The New Day has been compared to both the i newspaper and the Metro. The i has more style and a lot more meat on its bones and on the Monday that The New Day launched, the i felt it necessary to brand itself quite rightly as ‘Britain’s only concise and quality newspaper’. Up against the Metro (and The Evening Standard in London), The New Day may well struggle – who’s going to fork out 50p when they can grab a similar paper for free? No, their best bet is to target those Mail and Express readers who want something fresh and modern with a more positive ‘glass-half-full’ approach to life – and this is where The New Day may have found a niche for itself in this troubled market. It’s not really my kind of paper and I’m not the target reader but I welcome its fresh approach in this sector of the market and hope that it does well.