Background The Economic Times has been the financial daily with the highest readership, and has defined readers’ expectations of the category for a long time. In the 1990s, it pioneered the introduction of non-business content. It later experimented with a populist tone, with humorous pitching of headlines and caricatures perched atop the masthead.
Problem Changes aimed at attracting first time readers of financial papers, who tended to bypass ET for a rival daily, were carried out on the fly and lacked a holistic product view. New devices and legacy elements clashed uneasily, making it appear inchoate.
Strategy Our conversations with younger readers suggested no yearning for an ostensibly younger looking paper. Instead, a contemporary, well-organised, highly readable design that respected their reading habits would serve old faithfuls and new readers alike.
Design The design objective was to restore harmony and order and ‘look the leader’. Headline fonts were paired, one for the serious side of its image and another for its less formal side. The body font was selected for maximum economy, without sacrificing legibility, after careful comparison of candidates.
The graphics style was totally reworked to eliminate illustrated clutter. Staff was encouraged, via example, to present conclusions in titles, rather than just label the data. Headlines and subheads were pitched to read more simply and directly.
A colour palette was introduced across all sections of the paper. New sections were given mini-identities and the slugs were turned into a clear family. Finally, a library of icons were developed, to be set within headlines, to create a sense of arousal. In the words of the client, "ET is a much stronger product, and the design is a big part of it."