With just one day on newspaper stands across the UK, the verdict on the revamped Independent design is still out. Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford called it "an improvement from the 2008 relaunch," whereas the Independent's former associate design editor, Michael Crozier, who led the paper through three previous re-designs, lamented that "in the redesigned, re-configured, paper news seems once again to have taken a backwards step."
The paper now has a re-configured front page, new fonts inside, and a highly designed 20-page Viewspaper section, which features analysis and commentary, as well as reviews, letters, and obituaries. The use of the Sun font on the inside has been regarded as the Indy's attempt to shift its focus to more serious journalism, and current editor-in-chief and managing director Simon Kellner has made no effort to deny this.
"We make no apologies for erring on the side of seriousness," he wrote for today's editorial. "These are serious times and we believe that what is most needed in the media landscape is a newspaper that is truly free of proprietorial influence and political affiliation (something no other newspaper can claim) too make some sense of the world around us."
Roy Greenslade, media columnist for the Guardian (one of the Independent's main competitors) took issue with this assertion, calling it "a nonsense" in his post for the Guardian website, but he did conclude the post by commending the paper, saying "It looks good and feels good. It bounces along with pace. It is also the best presentation since Kelner turned it into a compact in 2003."
Crozier commented on the weak picture of a plane taking off on the front page of a newspaper that was "once world-famous for its use of photography," and Ponsford mentioned that to him, it seemed a bit thin. Both criticized the Viewspaper section of the new Indy, with Crozier calling it "bizarre" and Ponsford describing it as "gimmicky." But Greenslade writes that it "works well enough," musing that the unique design is likely to draw readers in.
With a £1 price tag, the Independent will need to draw many readers in to pull itself out of its more than £10 million debt, but the new re-design may do just that.