February 4th, 2009
The weekend redesign launched last saturday. I meant to post some pages earlier, but the unaccustomed snow which brought London to a hault impeded my progress too. The second issue has just shipped so here are some more pages from the first.
The production was a bit chaotic and there are pages in there that are not how I would have wanted therm to be, but overall I’m cautiously pleased with it (although one commenter has taken a violent dislike to it), and we hope to iron out the wrinkles over the next couple of issues.
The motivation for the redesign came from Weekend editor Merope Mills, who had worked with the old design for over a year and was ready to put her stamp on it. Her brief was for something clean and simple with lots of white space; most designers love getting a brief like that but in my experience editors rarely give them, so it was great fun for AD Maggie Murphy and I coming up with a solution.
We decided to see if we could do the whole thing with just one display typeface, and having exhausted most of the usable forms of Guardian Egyptian, we went back to Christain Schwartz and Paul Barnes for a new variant. We wanted something different from the Egyptians, but it had to have a connection the rest of the family. So we had the idea of going back to the Hacienda, the original serif font that Paul and Christian did for the Guardian and then Egyptianised. They had already developed Publico from Hacienda, so we decided to use some of that work as the basis for a new black condensed which still shares some original DNA with the Egyptian.
We stripped back the furniture and streamlined the page elements to create a very simple frame for the text and images. The different sections are defined by colour, and the features are distinguished from the department pages by the scale and movement of the type, but otherwise we tried to reduce the design to the minimum. Of course this means the words and pictures have to be great, but we think our writers, photographers and illustrators are up to it!