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Introducing our new look newspaper

Master designer Mario Garcia: the new design will make this newspaper "easy not only on the soul and the brain, but also on the eyes."

Dear Reader,

Classic, yet contemporary; contemporary, yet classic — that is what The Hindu has continually sought to be in the world of Indian and international newspapers.

A newspaper of record, a serious, quality daily offering a variety of news, features, analysis, and comment, wedded to the classical `core' values of journalism: truth-telling, freedom and independence, justice, comprehensiveness, reliability, and social responsibility. But a newspaper committed to being contemporary in all aspects, including design. Among other things, this means being engaging and lively; responding to the changing interests and tastes of a growingly diverse `interlocking public'; taking visual journalism to enhanced levels; seizing the exciting opportunities India, the world, and the local community offer a contemporary newspaper; and being systematic, put-together, and disciplined about all this.

`Contemporary-Classical,' this is how we see our place under the sun. And this is how we wish to be read and assessed by our three million readers, a growing proportion of them young men and women.

In September 2003, The Hindu celebrated its 125th anniversary. Last month, we announced to our readers that their newspaper's net-paid circulation, as certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation, was 1,047,121 copies for the half year July-December 2004. The first half million was achieved over 115 years; the second half million in a decade. We aim to go higher and get better in every respect.

Evolutionary change

For a newspaper with a rich history, redesign might seem like déjà vu. After all, The Hindu has been through many evolutionary changes in layout and design, for instance, moving news to the front page that used to be an ad kingdom; adopting modular layout and make-up; using large photographs; introducing colour; transforming the format of the editorial page to make it a purely `views' page; avoiding carry-over of news stories from one page to another; and introducing boxes, panels, highlights, and briefs. In the late-1990s, the distinguished journalist-turned-newspaper-designer, Edwin Taylor, did a major redesign that served the newspaper and its readers well for half a decade.

The science and art of design have developed to a new stage; new concepts, methods, and techniques have arrived on the scene; and the complex requirements of visual journalism have made unprecedented professional demands on practitioners. This was the context in which we decided to go in for the most comprehensive redesign in the history of The Hindu.

Enter Mario Garcia in 2004, at our request and invitation. He and his firm, Garcia Media, have designed more than 450 newspapers round the world and he is often referred to as "the world's most important newspaper designer." He and his colleague, Jan Kny, working over many months with our dedicated in-house design, editorial, production and marketing teams, have given us a new look newspaper.

The purpose of this redesign is to offer a more contemporary, elegant, and functional newspaper: by giving pre-eminence to text, including (where appropriate and necessary) long text, but also by enabling photographs, other graphics, and white space to have an enhanced role on the pages; by giving the reader more legible typography, an efficient indexing or `navigation' system, a clear hierarchy of stories, a new and sophisticated colour palette; and by offering the advertiser better value and new opportunities.

All this is made clear by Dr. Garcia in his interview to The Hindu published on our new Op-ed page.

"The challenge," he explains in response to a question, "when redesigning a classic, elegant, and traditional newspaper such as The Hindu is to make sure that one improves a good product, attracts younger readers, but does not take away all the wonderful attributes that have made this newspaper the icon it is within Indian journalism."

The author of the influential book, Pure Design, highlights "the purity and functionalism of design at work." He sets out the new design elements and key points, which have the objective of making this newspaper "easy not only on the soul and the brain, but also on the eyes." He specifies the benefits for readers as well as advertisers. The man who has redesigned classical newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Die Zeit of Germany, El Mercurio of Chile, and El Tiempo of Columbia admires and respects The Hindu's 126-year-old history but is not in awe of it.

The master provides insights into the changing role of newspapers in society, remarking that "ironically, although we are the best informed group of readers in the history of print journalism, we crave for editors to steer us in the right direction as we seek more knowledge."

So here it is, our new look newspaper, in your hands and dedicated to you.

Do tell us what you think of it. Please email us at

N. Ram

The new look of THE HINDU

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