Fresh Look in the Mirror

The Daily Mirror is pretty close to unveiling a dramatic new look for the paper which I’m pretty eager to see.

From what I hear about the ‘dummies’ that have been floating about Canary Wharf it will divide opinion among not just readers, but the trade itself.

As will their alleged plans for the web.

It’s no big secret that Trinity Mirror has had Spanish design agency Cases Associats working up ideas since late last year.

Associate editor Matt Kelly has been jetting back and forth from Barcelona clutching designs that only a small team of executives have been allowed to pour over.

The keener eyed reader may even have seen some subtle changes dropped into the red top from time to time as they are tried out for reaction.

But now the planned changes are being shown throughout the business before its advertisers, generating a debate on whether they will be a hit or a miss.

The new look is said to have been modelled on Continental style newspapers that you may find in shops across France, Portugal or Italy.

A look at the Cases Associats portfolio gives you a better understanding.

New lighter fonts for both copy and headlines will be introduced, with a far greater emphasis on images and graphics throughout.

News pages will be heavily led by big pictures in full colour, potentially across the entire page losing the now traditional wing columns containing smaller stories that riddle newspapers, which will come as a blow to the news agencies who rely on them to build up their income.

In their place stronger focus on proper stories, fact boxes and breakouts, a more compelling read. An intelligent read.

News will also be made distinct from features which – thanks to new presses – with the latter sporting colour headlines to give it a more magazine feel throughout.

The front page will also get the Continental touch, again big images dominating, making me wonder if today’s Splash story gives any clues.

Page 16 of today’s Scottish edition also looks unusual compared with the rest of the paper, as does Mark Jefferies TV Land column, but the redesign is expected to be far more radical.

What will happen with the masthead will be intriguing to see.

And whether or not it works, whether it appeals to readers, will be just as fascinating.

But you have to applaud editor Richard Wallace and his senior executive team for trying.

He and his staff have already more than proven their mettle by breaking some of the biggest UK stories in recent years, but for little reward circulation wise.

With scant investment in resources, editorial brilliance can only go so far when faced with managing declining ad revenues and declining readership.

By repositioning the paper, by making it distinct from its tabloid rivals, the Mirror has a chance to set its own agenda and carve out its own market.

The paper is rich in heritage, strong on talent, but struggling in a world where shareholders have to be satisfied at the expense of nurturing.

Their website operation underwent something of a re-launch early last year but was almost universally panned when it went live.

Rumour has it that as a result, potential staffing issues aside, Cases Associats have also been asked to have a look at it.

And with the Daily Mail website performing so well on the back of vastly improved SEO, talk continues of showbiz shoving news content off the front page almost entirely.

For those who don’t know, Cases Associats were also the team behind the dramatic and enduring new look for the Independent stable of newspapers, currently caught in the middle of an unholy power struggle between its main shareholders.

Of course the Mirror’s rival The Sun isn’t taking it lying down, amid claims that it hopes to have its own new look in place first, said to be based on that of the London Paper designed by art director Al Trivino.

Maybe today’s Mystic Meg in The Sun gives an indication of where that may be heading.

Or at least a glimpse of what the future holds….



Categories: Launches

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