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Newspaper to Magazine: How the Guardian Weekly redesign aims to add new dynamics to their journalism.
19/10/2018

This month saw the first published edition of 'The Guardian Weekly' - as a magazine... but what exactly was the thinking behind the redesign, and how does the new format affect the news outlet?

The Guardian relaunched their global weekly newspaper as a magazine in a bid to engage readers all over the world and redefine their ability for in-depth journalism. It's no secret that print journalism is facing its hardest time yet, so it's not a bizarre concept to see news outlets embracing change in their publishing. 

Whilst it is a change, the new magazine format is still of course in the same struggling print industry, so what results do the news organisation expect to see by redesigning the weekly edition?

Editor of Guardian Weekly, Will Dean, said "traditionally Guardian Weekly was aimed at an older audience, but we want the magazine to also be for young adults who are used to reading online, but who want to have a relationship with print. This is for someone who wants to sit down on a comfy chair, away from the noise of the internet, who might like reading other news magazines.”

There's no doubt that there would be scepticism surrounding the relaunch, in a world where we are only a click away from instant news from across the globe, it's not hard to see why print is dwindling - and no 'new, glossy front cover' can change that. However, Dean addresses the point that actually there is still an audience, be it smaller, who simply just enjoy reading print publications in which case, a glossy front cover may help - a little.

The redesign has been led by the Guardian’s in-house design team, and follows the redesign of the printed Guardian daily newspaper and website earlier this year.

The aim of the magazine is to complement the newspaper on the news-stand. The magazine will take the approach of emphasising the Guardians depth and ability to produce independent journalism in a way that the paper doesn't, the magazine is a more visually appealing and immersive experience.

So what goes into converting a newspaper into a magazine? Design director Chris Clarke said “we need a structured, newspaper sensibility with columns, to keep the pace up [for new stories to be added in]. But we’ve also added more graphics [and illustrations] to add the wit of a magazine and tone.” He also added that the magazine had been inspired by independent or niche publishing, and will aim to have bold covers whilst retaining structure enabling it to respond quickly to breaking news.

The masthead has been left-aligned on the front cover to make it more visible when stacked up on news-stands, and the previous typeface Display Condensed has been dropped for Guardian Headline.

The publishers are hoping to see there current readership of 42,000 (32,000 subscribers) to increase by half as a result of the new design.

The design maintains the newspaper simplicity whilst allowing room for creativity and artwork, all in all it is an attractive redesign of the publication that captures their intentions of embracing in-depth journalism with a flicker of the freedom that independent publishers have.

The effect the relaunch has on sales and readership is yet to be seen - but a project I'm sure other publications will keep an eye on.

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