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A tabloid Guardian, is this death of good typography?

By David Wilson

As a designer who loves good old smart typography a print newspaper well done is a masterclass in how to deal with information design. Learning that The Guardian had changed to a tabloid format from its wonderful Berliner format was for me a bit of a worry: would The Guardian’s great attention to typography be lost?

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Ever since doing my degree in Graphic Design at Coventry University in the late 90s I’ve always been fascinated by how newspapers manage to guide readers through the mass of information they contain using typography, layout and images to communicate. Understand how a newspaper deals with that and a designer can cope with anything. In fact I’d forgotten that my dissertation was partly about this very topic.

Over the years newspapers have changed, most going from broadsheets to tabloids. The Guardian of course was one of the old broadsheets that made the unique change to the Berliner format – a format smaller than a broadsheet but larger than a tabloid: a wonderful mix of formats that The Guardian made its own.

But in a changing world of how we consume news (youre reading this on our website after all) the printed newspaper has lost ground and has had to cut costs to thrive: The Independent entirely went online, let’s hope The Guardian doesn’t go that way as it has always put great layout and thought of design into how it communicates.

Looking through the tabloid edition of The Guardian this week I’m pleased to say that great consideration of design and typography is still alive and well. The refined, and compacted masterhead on the cover aligns well into the five column grid, drawing attention to the name and allowing for content to be wrapped around it: nice I’d say!

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Inside, the paper still has loads of navigational devices to draw your eye around the page and even with the smaller page they have still managed to use white space to give balance and pace to pages. ‘The long read’ goes across three pages and its a relaxed but in-depth layout. The G2 section has a great look using typography on its cover in such a playful way.

Some people seem to be critical of The Guardian’s G2 section looking like the rest of the paper, in Creative Review article they ask if the paper could be mistaken for The Times or Standard. I don’t think so personally because it still has a bold intelligent respect for how typography can guide someone around a page. I think the new tabloid Guardian is a good example of how print design can adapt in a modern changing world, lets hope that The Guardian doesn’t have to go the way of other newspapers and be entirely online. Only time will tell. But for me this redesign reinforces that good design is always the thing that makes something stand out and any business that ignores the role design plays is missing out on an easy win.

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