Benita Chacko
Media

How Instagram has influenced The Hindu's latest redesign

On the publication's 144th anniversary, it revealed new designs for The Hindu and The Hindu businessline.

On its 144th anniversary on Tuesday (September 20), The Hindu Group conducted a major revamp of its two newspapers- The Hindu and The Hindu businessline. The Hindu has been redesigned to make it more compatible with its website and app, thus making it more appealing for the digital readers. Meanwhile, businessline has gone through a major revamp, to reflect the youthful character of India. 

The proliferation of online digital media in the last few years has changed the newspapers' role. Pundi Sriram, chief product officer, The Hindu, says the daily's new design reflects that change. 

"In the last five to seven years our audience's habits have shifted dramatically. Today, by the time the newspaper reaches their homes, they have already consumed the news on digital mediums. With the new design, we are trying to recreate the experience of reading the news website in print," he says. 

The Hindu's Page 1 on September 20
The Hindu's Page 1 on September 20
The Hindu's Page 1 on September 19
The Hindu's Page 1 on September 19

Terming it the 'Instagram style of storytelling', the newspaper has brought in many elements that people are used to seeing in the digital space- more visual imagery, larger images, more organised content and white spaces to define it. It has also brought in a larger and bolder typeface, making it easier to read. With this, the design is consistent across print and digital.

"On Instagram its image-led with a little bit of content associated with that image. People quickly move to the next image and then the next. The social media world has trained users into thinking and reading like that," he adds.

While the style of reporting and the content remains unchanged, it has added more stories and reduced the word count of these stories by about 15 to 20 per cent. 

"People now want a border around the most important text, so that they can focus and read that. Whitespaces do that. It creates a breathing space around each story, highlighting the important stories," he adds. 

The Hindu businessline on September 19 (left) and September 20 (right).
The Hindu businessline on September 19 (left) and September 20 (right).

Meanwhile, The Hindu businessline has created a design that adapts to the different platforms where readers access content. Accordingly, it has also adopted modern fonts that adapt well to various platforms. This will ensure continuity from digital to print. 

The new masthead is all in lower case with a concentric circle in the end. The lower case signifies the spirit of a young India, while the circle symbolises the newspaper's authority. The font remains blue in colour, but with a grey background. 

"India is a young and vibrant economy. We believe that businessline should reflect the Indian economy that it writes about. The energy, vibe and youthfulness of the economy is reflected in the modern small lowercase typeset. Using the lowercase gives it a slightly more trendy, modern and younger look," Sriram says. 

Aparajita Biswas, head of marketing, The Hindu Group, says the newspaper attempts to reflect the changing business ecosystem in the country. 

"The CEOs are getting younger and their risk-taking appetite has changed the way we do business. So with the redesign we wanted to cater to this younger generation of entrepreneurs in the country," she adds.

The newspapers are redesigned by Dr Mario Garcia, a legend in the business of news media design. The founder and CEO of Garcia Media, the 76-year-old Garcia has designed more than 700 newspapers, magazines and news websites across 120 countries in a career spanning more than half a century. He has worked on the previous designs of The Hindu as well. 

The transformation is likely to make the newspaper more appealing to a younger audience. However, Biswas says that the change is targeted towards readers of all age groups. 

"The pandemic has changed the way everyone consumes content. So the news reading experience should also change to become simpler. The redesign will provide a seamless experience from print to digital whereby people can use the printed QR codes to be directed online to read more in-depth articles, watch videos or listen to podcasts.," she says.

Sriram says the aim is to make it more attractive for its existing readers. "We didn't consider the redesign as a way to attract new audiences. We will be undergoing a digital redesign next month. That's more to attract a new audience from the young digital natives and people beyond our traditional user bases - Delhi, Chennai and other southern cities," he said. 

The previous avatars of The Hindu
The previous avatars of The Hindu
The previous redesigns of businessline
The previous redesigns of businessline

Since its origin in 1889, this is the seventh time The Hindu has been redesigned. It was last revamped in 2017, when it changed the font colours of is masthead from blue to black. It was also owing to changing consumer habits as people were beginning to read more content online. Meanwhile, businessline has changed its appearance six times since it was launched in 1994. The last redesign was in 2014.

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