running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Less Independent Is More

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

At the end of October, the Independent launched a new national newspaper - a spin-off title of the Independent - entitled 'i', costing a mere 20p, and designed to appeal to readers who might have swapped newspapers for the web.

i is a slimmed-down, faster-paced version of the main paper and is a fascinating example of how designers approach the problem of reducing content.

The basic premise - show readers how you are going to show them the content, and then show them it - is borrowed from magazines, textbooks and of course websites.

In the case of i, the inside first pages - the content section, neatly categorises everything into colour-coded haiku-like chunks, focussing on key headlines in each section. Once you move to a section, that headline is prominent and supported by the other articles in the section.

The sections are all laid out in a comfortably-proportioned grid, breaking out of the normal columned paradigm. Text-wrapped images and short bursts of information add to the magazine effect, and the copy is stripped down too, but carefully toned to retain the broadsheet stance.

And the team behind it have plenty more media-savvy ideas in the tank to establish the concept. As well as a nice strapline in 'i gets to the point', they have a twitterfeed, a facebook page, and of course the 20p selling price.

Todays publication is a good example - a special issue to mark World Aids Day, and is edited by Elton John. Here's the cover -

i Cover 1st December 2011

The i is also launching an iPad App today.

i Paper Front Covers