Your favourite weekly newsmagazine has been robed in a new look since our 20th anniversary issue three weeks ago. But not to worry, we have only altered the suit; the yarn that has become your—and our—second skin, remains intact. The bottle has been spruced up; the wine is reassuringly of a twenty-year vintage, albeit with fresh colours, added aroma and an inviting texture.
So, what are the changes you will see in the new-look Outlook? We have served you with a bold new masthead composed in a sans serif font. In the inside pages, you will notice a completely new font library. The new body fonts you see, designed by master typographists Hoefler & Frere Jones, allow us more words to a page without compromising on the readability of the text, in fact improving it. You will notice a change in our headline fonts too—they look quite trendy now and are in harmony with the body copy. All your much-liked regulars—Letters, Diary, Reviews, Columns, Seven Days—have been relaid and tweaked for a better reader experience, or RX if you please.
During our redesign exercise, which took us over a year, for RX, we relied a lot on your responses and reactions to our previous two redesigns in 2002 and 2006.
Redesigns are tricky and risky affairs. The initial response to a redesign from all of us as readers or users—whether it is a change in design of the interface of an Operating System, an internet browser or a social networking site—is a spot of irritation. It is like being nudged from our comfort zone. You may ask, why was it needed? The awkwardness, though, does not last long. It is akin to stepping into a new pair of shoes which are otherwise a perfect fit or that little strange feeling you get when you change your toothbrush.
Magazine redesigns are an exercise in reorganising the magazine’s content. It is needed because, with time, new editorial features get added or existing ones dropped, which results in a lack of uniformity in design. Redesign is a spring-cleaning exercise to put the house back in order. As the veteran magazine editor, Shobha De, commented in Outlook’s 20th anniversary issue, “Magazines are obliged to be good-looking. Period.”
This round of Outlook redesign gave us an excellent opportunity to brace ourselves up with a changed ecosystem of news delivery. The printed edition now leads you for ‘more’ on related stories to our online edition. The front and the back pages of the magazine are now in short takes, pacey and peppy, for the generation that, to flip, moves its thumb only along one axis. The middle-of-the-book is more in-depth, analytical and serious. But here too, to keep the liveliness of the magazine intact, we have punctuated the long form with ‘hearsays, unconfirmed and alleged’—a vital ingredient that keeps our noisy republic a ‘tolerant’ one.
We live in the times of an emerging digital media that constantly charms away our readers from the print edition, but to live the experience of a magazine, please keep getting your printed copy.