The relaunched London Financial Times is both colourful and spacey. In design terms it manages to make the pages look bigger and much clearer. The new typeface and greater use of white (or pink) gives everything greater prominence. And better signposting means everything is easier to find. I think it is a fascinating response to the new online world that the FT and the rest of the news media now inhabits. When websites first arrived newspapers tried to respond by
crowding their pages with more wordage and by adding pagination to stress the bulk value of the physical newspaper. It seems to me that the new design FT reflects a more subtle approach. Most FT readers have ample sources of detailed news facts from their RSS news aggregators and financial information websites or newschannels like Bloomberg. What they look for from the Pink ‘un is in-depth news reporting, but even more so, deep analysis and thoughtful features.
Cleverly, these now come packaged in a kind of retro-continental-US newspaper style that emphasises the fact that this is a thing made of wood-pulp that isn’t pretending to be a website. Compare that to the new free sheet in the capital, the Londonpaper . It looks like a dead tree version of Myspace. It is very busy with lots of graphic boxes and small photos. What both have in common is fewer journalists than comparable titles would have mustered just a few years ago. In the end both are commerical successes and design triumphs. But are they better vehicles for journalism?