Monday, July 13, 2009

Redesign

I liked the latest iteration of HT, this is the 'fourth' look of HT in the past decade but this new Guardian-esque redesign does seem to have a lot going for it. Still next to no business coverage and alarmingly little coverage on several other areas, but HT is the best looking paper in town. At least for the time being. The problem with any design, as layout artists will tell you is maintaining the design. And the problem there is that reporters, who have little clue of the english language to start with have next to no understanding of design. To work to a design (rather than a word-count) is a fact of life for many of us, it makes life rather unbearable when you have to juggle bits and pieces of your story around but a 'pretty' looking story might just get read in a mainstream publication rather than a dull one. So nice redesign, but why on earth do you still have the silly front-page 'shoulder' advert, and now to work on content.
A few friends often lament the death of long form (there is The Hindu, but extreme communism is no-one's cup of tea) in mainstream publications in India. Well, there never was a New Yorker or its ilk in India (Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic et al.) and that is tragic, but that just says more about the population at large (we are already an Idiotcracy if not very far from being one) than anything else. That said, ToI is still on-course to launch a 'thinking' paper soon. Given that the last launch from Bennett was ET Now which I feel is in danger of believing its own hype about its greatness - why did they go overboard on Nusli Wadia for crying out loud, and I will reserve my comments on the quality of the interview. Anyway, I'm not sure if I want long-form from the ToI, and even less sure if it will work, but maybe it will. Don't get enthusiastic and think that India needs a long-form magazine now, readers here are too cheap to pay, only grade-A morons like me end up spending a bomb on magazines and papers.
Now back to work and figuring out how to figure something out.

2 comments:

Sheela said...

Hello, yes the new look really looks good and has a fresh feel in it. am sure readers will love it.
Good Luck

ashim said...

i must admit, as a reader of HT for many years, i was a bit taken aback the day the new design was served to all of us. what upset me the most was that there was no, absolutely nothing, that was communicated to us that this was coming. it was a bit of a shock and brought me to instantly dislike the paper. but slowly i have come to like it. it more open and there is a a certain cheer about it which is lacking in TOI or for that matter even Indian Express.
while there was a lengthy piece by Mr Narayan on the new offerings, not a word was said about the people who drove the effort, the designers. other than a passing mention of Dr Garcia the team at HT has not been acknowledged at all. It seems almost as if the team does not exist.
even the writer of this post seems to dismiss the job of designers (and not layout artists!). i am just but a reader but one who is probably a bit more clued into the 'look and feel' more than other readers. i believe a good design is the worm, the bait that wriggles at the end of the hook and gets the reader to bite. content on the other hand is the real hook that keeps the reader tied to the product.
in this instance HT design seems to have done its job, now it is for the content to hook us...