The Spanish designer Mario Garcia (in picture, right), who redesigned The Hindu eight years ago before it was “abandoned” by Siddharth Vardarajan upon his appointment as editor, has opened a dialogue with the Madras-based paper now that the 2005 redesign has been restored following the return of the “family” to the helm.
Garcia, who is reputed to have designed hundreds of newspapers around the world, writes that he couldn’t recall any previous instance where a design was resurrected similarly.
“The true test of editorial design is its sustainability and longevity.”
On his blog, Garcia, who redesigned The Hindu with Jan Kny, says that rather than respond to individual queries from designers, friends and acquaintances on the paper’s return to his design from Deepak Harichandan‘s “chic design” under Varadarajan, he entered into a dialogue with the Hindu family.
N. Ram, chairman, Kasturi & Sons: “It’s great to have you back at The Hindu through the return of your pure design after an embarrassing period of eclectic, free-for-all experimentation, which brought ‘clutter and chaos’ (and mishmash) to the pages and was, net, an eye-sore (fortunately, it lasted only a couple of years).”
N. Murali, co-chairman, KSL: “The changeover to your original design is also a metaphor for the journalistic values for which The Hindu was renowned, returning to the iconic newspaper.”
N. Ravi, editor-in-chief, The Hindu: “The decision to return to the pure, classic look that you had brought to The Hindu was easy and obvious and has given us all immense satisfaction. Your pure design had served us admirably since it was adopted in 2005 and had won wide appreciation from readers. In the last two years, there had been a gradual but noticeable departure from the design and four months ago, new elements and colours that were totally out of line with the concepts and look that you had introduced were introduced. In the result, the pages looked mangled and chaotic and the newspaper had lost its distinctive character. The mix of colours introduced was far removed from your palette and made the pages garish. Designers and page layout editors did not have definite design templates to work on and it became a free for all. Navigating the content became very difficult, and instead of maintaining the content-related hierarchy on the pages, stories that offered more play for design elements dominated. It was after a hard look at this distortion of the design that we decided to restore your pure design.
“As for the reactions of readers, many had complained before the restoration of your design that The Hindu had lost its distinctive character and was beginning to look like the other newspapers around. After the change, there has been a general and widespread appreciation, with one long time reader saying that it was once again The Hindu that he had admired and enjoyed. The neat, classic look with a well-defined hierarchy and easy navigation as well as the use of your distinctive, classic colour palette are the specific features that have won appreciation.”
Photograph: courtesy The Hindu Business Line