Guardian Re design

eolson's picture

There has been some chatter about the new Guardian re design set
to launch on Monday.

News Designer has a few pics here:

And the Guardian itself has released a pdf and background here:,14173,1566474,00.html

Any word on the (what seems) custom type?

crossgrove's picture

I think it's custom; I've never seen it before. I like it a lot; sturdy, versatile, clean, economical, yet attractive. One nice touch is the spur on the a which appears when needed (text) and in decks but is not present in display cuts such as the light. I'd like to see the italics. If anyone has more info or specimens, please post.

hrant's picture

This is quite good. Austere, honest, great proportions, great finish, trapping, hybrid nums. FontBureau? I just wish they'd used the terminal-less "a" for body - it's [even] more needed there. I just hope the Italic isn't wussy.


timd's picture

Guardian Egyptian is designed by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwarz.

hrant's picture

And I just found this:,16391,1566047,00.html
But to me calling it an Egyptian is wrong.

> Paul Barnes and Christian Schwarz

Heh, I could detect a hint of Schwartz.

BTW, exactly when should this thing debut on US shelves?


Miss Tiffany's picture

I love the new grid. Seems rebellious almost the way the heads snap to the bar above leaving the asymmetry of the space below. Excellent.

William Berkson's picture

Wow. Terrific job, both type and design.

eolson's picture

Good digging guys. Yessir, the face is fantastic. Nice to see text figures in a newspaper too.

dezcom's picture

"May The Schwartz be with you" --Spaceballs


dberlow's picture

"BTW, exactly when should this thing debut on US shelves?"

I know the Guardian's available at the world-class news stand in Harvard Suare, but I'm not sure if they have those out west?

miles's picture

Whilst I think that the redesign is a whorthwhile aesthetic change; it certainly feels contemporary, and it's refreshing.
However the new text type sparkles just that bit too much, it's harder (for me) to read. This may be caused by the stock that today's teaser was printed on, which I felt was too bright (also too heavy). Monday's Guardian might not be on the same stock.
There is also the claustrophobic feel of a massive x height with too little leading. Looks like it's been designed with the visually impaired in mind. I 'll get used to this.

hrant's picture

My guaranteed fall-back for hard-to-find magazines and newspapers is Bungalow News in Pasadena - it's pretty amazing. But for The Guardian chances are good I'll find it in Glendale. Plus I'll be making a trip to UCLA on Monday, and Westwood has great kiosks. Am I a type geek or what?! - getting excited about hounding an issue of a newspaper... for the type.

Miles, maybe 9.5 point is too big for such a big x-height?
But I need to see the thing in person.

BTW, how do I get a physical copy of that "teaser"?
Somebody on the ATypI list said it was in the Saturday edition - correct?


george's picture

> Miles, maybe 9.5 point is too big for such a big x-height?

actually the body text type is set at 8p over 9.5 pt of leading, thus the "massive x height with too little leading"

puffinry's picture

Yes, the teaser is an insert in today's (Saturday's) Guardian. I don't know whether it's included in the international edition or not.

The back page of the main broadsheet is entirely blank except for the (large, black, centred) words TheEnd in the style of the old masthead; and in the bottom-right corner, in colour Guardian Egyptian, it says

new thinking

Nice touch!

hrant's picture

Oh, 8 point sounds much better. As for the leading, and other things like wordspaces etc., what seems to happen way too often is that when the day comes to actually set real articles in a real issue, all the fine-tuning and refining during testing can get ignored...

Alert: I'm having trouble tracking down the Saturday edition, at least over the phone (goddam paleolithic technology). So if somebody is willing to put aside a copy for me (and maybe do the same on Monday) I would of course pay for it/them and the shipping. hrant_thatsymbol_inverselogic_dot_com

BTW, is the Saturday edition the same as the Guardian Weekly?


miles's picture

The text in this 'preview' is set range left, and to me this type face with is huge counters and heavy serifs looks set too tightly.
I guess the main section will be justified, which might fix this.

I'll save them for you Hrant.

hrant's picture

Thanks Miles! Once you get Monday's let me know what to do.


Nick Shinn's picture

I'm disappointed by the all-serif look.
I felt the same way when the Toronto Star, also a leftish paper run by a foundation, rather than a media conglomerate, was recently redesigned with all serifs.
Somehow, it signals a pandering to "taste", a movement away from a hard-line stance, whether or not that is the editorial drift.
My initial impression (which may nonetheless be revised once I see it on newsprint) is that the newly refined look will be at odds with the necessarily blunt messages that this newspaper, so frequently critical of the establishment, must carry.

hrant's picture

Well, maybe what the anti-establishment movement now needs is a measured, rational voice? Although the wedge serif is quite "hand-line", second only to the full-flat true Egyptian serif in that respect; I would agree that adnate serifs with cupped ends (think Goudy, or Worldwide) for example would have been off. And does dissent have to be tasteless? Also, when it comes to the body face at least, a serif font is a strict requirement for adequate readability in such conditions.


Briantist's picture

The front page design, with the masthead halfway down the folded berliner cover looks very well designed (see the TV advert)

It means the paper can't be folded again without folding it along the masthead, so newsagents will have to display it as it comes.

This also leaves a very dynamic space for a headline or picture that is visible with the paper folded.

The column width is good, much more readable than old eight-column broadsheet.

But - there are still lots of line-end words broken with hypens on the dummy copy (re-main, investi-gated ver-sion, for-mat, newspa-per, jus-tice, pa-per) that make it harder to comprehend the writing.

Not something you see on their website!

miles's picture

following comments I posted regarding the preview, the real thing is sorted, all the issues with the range left spacing and the stock are sorted. Well done.

adiazpaz's picture

I forgot to buy The Guardian on Friday or Saturday, but I got today's and I love its Berliner format -which I celebrated with a "continental" breakfast to match ;-)

I'm going to buy few more copies and I'm willing to send to the first 3 people who ask me. I can't promise to send it to more than 3 people... Sorry. Poor student and all that.

timd's picture

You can also read a blog of the production on their website (which Neville Brody hasn't redesigned yet although that is apparently in the pipeline).

titus n.'s picture

i also consider the redesign well done although the international version isn't fully-colored ... but the very tight fitting of the blue box around the letters in the masthead bothers me. especially the ascenders seem to almost touch the top border - and why is the h taller than the d?

Nick Shinn's picture

I'm getting used to it.
The typeface is OK. A bit like Cartier, eh?
Perhaps the serifs could have been a bit narrower, in the headline fonts, for a slightly closer fit, given the tightness of the layouts and the small wordspace.

I find the G2 section is too small in size. There is a problem that with the smaller formats and the larger pictures, the fancy colors and light weights, that the paper loses gravitas. This is particularly evident when you have one story dominating a page and it's got a big stock photo -- that ain't news! Looks more like a cheap magazine: but that is something that the facility to put big colour pictures everywhere sucks you into, and unique to the Guardian.

The big double-page photo spread every day is brilliant.

Overall, I am still concerned that a serious anti-establishment paper should carry some clout. The Guardian was big and tough, but now it is proud to leave behind that daunting presence (as charged by focus groups, no doubt) to be friendlier -- smaller, prettier. I have the same problem with the little Independent and its frilly Century heads. Easy to discount.

Please tell me I'm wrong, and that these toy dogs barking at the powers that be will not be contemptuously kicked aside.

Nick Shinn's picture

Despite my concerns, I'm really enjoying the redesign and the new typeface.

One benefit of the new face is that you don't get the situation that often occurred before where an ad set in Helvetica would get mixed up with editorial set in Helvetica. In fact, what's happened with newspaper design in the years since the Guardian's previous makeover is really quite amazing, now that so many papers have comissioned their own typefaces.

adiazpaz's picture

Where can we get a view of the whole Barnes and Schwartz's Egyptian set?

hrant's picture

Custom type designs rarely get public specimens. Except when the exclusivity expires (often 2-3 years) and the designer(s) can start selling it on their own.


Giampa's picture

Type readable, line length thoughtful. design unfriendly but not without distinction. Guardian content often exceptional.

Miguel Sousa's picture

The digital version in PDF format can be downloaded for free until September 26.
So hurry up!

Zara Evens's picture

It doesn't seem to be available for download yet, but I heard Christian on TypeRadio (from Helsinki) and he discussed some of the process behind this design for the Guardian, it was very good.

*Update* The interview is now available here.

ChuckGroth's picture

Normally, I agree with most of the people that I disagree with on this topic, but I find nothing bold, innovative or even appealing about the new Guardian. I worked in newspapers for many years and had a hand in a few redesigns, and this one seems to miss on all cylinders.

ChuckGroth's picture

As a newspaper, the look is uninviting, out-dated and heavy-handed, and does nothing more original in layout than, say the Citzen (Auburn, NY)and the Detroit Free Press did (much better) 10 years ago (see The Best of Newspaper Design Fifteenth Edition).

timd's picture

I find it works well and once I got over examining the font it reads well too. Is the purpose of a redesign to be groundbreaking and original; or to make the reading experience easier and more pleasant and ensuring that the layout does not deter from that?

ChuckGroth's picture

I don't know -- should I rant? Because I really could. Newspaper design has gone to hell in the last ten years.

timd's picture

Why do you think that is? If we concede that the design can be improved then two obstructions have to be overcome time is the major constricting factor, closely followed by cost – the market share for newspapers has been reduced by newer, more instant, cheaper and generally easier* media.

*By easier, I mean why bother reading a newspaper when a man or woman in a suit will read it for you in the corner of your living room.

The technologies involved in newspaper production – printing (colour, inks), layout software, paper manufacture etc. have all improved in terms of speed and quality and this is clearly the case compared to a decade ago.

Newspaper's budgets are mainly allocated to the content (the reporting) and production. Since even media barons cannot expand time, cost is the only area that can be squeezed, so, for example, there is a limit to the amount of non-printed space, the remaining number of employees have to be able to produce the product.

To sum up, if the paper is to survive, it cannot afford to lose its loyal readers, who want the content and will not pay (much) more, and the consumables and wage bill keep a constant then something has to give and that casualty is design. I don't envy anyone trying to redesign a newspaper within these constraints.


ChuckGroth's picture

I don't envy them either, when you consider the parameters that should be worked within, although from experience, I can tell you it's an incredible opportunity for a designer who really takes it seriously as a communication problem.

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