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Monday, July 20, 2009


Hi Friends,

Now, this is what I call a Redesign!

Last week in Indian publishing world, a true makeover is happened to Hindustan Times. It can be referred as a great example of a sensible & well executed exercise of face lifting of a print product. Not in terms of design & look-n-feel only but in terms of over all content structure & positioning also. It is not limited up to typography or colors but it has changed the entire personality of the publication.

I must say that the whole exercise is turned out quite successful and it is well noticed in the market. The only reason I could see behind this kind of result is that HT has followed the correct approach of redesigning that any redesigning exercise must start from Editorial for the content first and then it should come to the Design for the support.

In the past recent months or years, we have seen many so called redesigned versions of even by big Indian publications but no one could do much beyond touch-ups. Generally publications while redesigning, change layout & typography only or may be their mast-head but the content structure, writing style, jargon, copy style remain same… and then they wonder why even after revamping their product is not picking up!

Publication houses spend lots of money & time on this redesigning exercise but most of the time, the results are not as great as they expect. Why?

Well, I feel just because of these basic mistakes-
- Jumping into the process of redesigning without the clear goals
- Not estimating the worthiness of redesigning
- Overlooking the content aspect
- Incorrect approach of redesigning
- Not measuring the longevity of redesign
- Controlled by inexperienced team
- Doing this exercise by in house team (in most cases)
- Limiting up to product only (360 degree communication inconsistency)
- Mismatch in execution or lack of training
- Improper marketing or communication etc.

And any of above said mistake can throw your entire efforts into drain.

HT, in its new avatar, looking even better, more connected & structured. I hope that the product will definitely see its positive results very soon.


G.V.Sreekumar said...

dear virdi sir,
nice 2 see ur blog and the comments on HT redesign. i agree with you completely on the fact that they have worked hard on restructuring the content and repositioning also.

i loved the fact that they had the courtesy of writing the designer's name in the edit piece when they relaunched. it should be a lesson for the other publications who love to keep the credit away from the designer :-)

since this new product is aimed at the youngsters, i am not qualified to comment on the design from the target audience's viewpoint.
but as a reader of HT ever since they started in bombay, i feel the elegance and dignified look of the old design was better.

what i mean is the difference between amitabh bachchan in K3G and amir khan in rang de basanti.
since they want to appeal to the youngsters, it is perfectly reasonable that the new design attempts to appeal to the young crowd.
but i wonder how many youngsters in that segment will have the patience to browse through-let alone read a newspaper?
i came across a lot of students in this target group who find it extremely difficult to read a book.
i don't know if it is the influence of the new media, but it is time for all of us to think about the "reduced attention span" syndrome.

as long as you drive your santro carefuly, i am happy:-)
take care

G.S.Virdi said...

Dear GV, I am grateful to have your invaluable inputs on my piece of writing!

(I have forwarded another mail on your gmail account...pls have a look!)

I understand GV, you can not comment because of your age, but I can talk very well about we 'youngsters' ;-)

GV, I can see that you have given the answer in your example itself. Both, Amitabh in KBC (I believe that you wanted to say this only)& Amir in RDB were good...but problem starts when we start comparing them. Both the characters were designed to suit their roles...and they were well executed. That is why they got all positive response from their TG.

I understand that people like you & me, who are long associated & familiar with a certain type of sobar, graceful & degnified character of HT, will not immidiately able to appreciate the new look... but at the same time I feel that the decision makers at HT must have realised that older look & personality of the newspaper is not taking it further and it needs to be improved rather revamped. And they must have researched & thought a lot & then they must have concluded to make it they way it is appeared in front of us.

This sudden change may appear to us (who used to love its older version, for long time) exactly same as we react to one of our friend after his hair cut or after his makeover... it takes time to break ourselve from older image and to adopt new face... which one is better- the new one or the earlier one- that we all will come to know in some time... but the change is quite visible & I appriciate the approach of doing it!

Youth is interested or not in reading at all, that is another issue all together which can be debated. But, this makeover is done for the youth who likes reading or who is not reading currently but can be converted into a reader! Keeping their attention span in mind they have introduced colourful hooks in the headlines and kept newspieces very small so that one can read it at even in short span.

Please keep writing & sharing your inputs with us... we learn this way!



ankit said...

Dear Sir,

Being a employee of HT Media we really feel so good when someone appreciate the innovation and efforts taken, yes its true that the revamp edition of HT will definitely create a very different and a positive impact on the readers ...... it’s all about changing the mindset and for this HT is the one who took the initiative and went ahead with the strategy of redesigning it.

Now we just have to see that how well and soon people will adapt this change.