The Independent relaunched today with a “serious” new look and masthead slogan declaring that it is “free from party-political ties” and “free from proprietorial influence”.
The redesign comes just over three weeks after Alexander Lebedev acquired the paper in a deal which will see Independent News and Media pay him £9.25m over the next 10 months.
The new slogan apparently seeks to deflect concerns that former KBG officer Lebedev will seek to influence editorial coverage in the paper.
The redesign has been some months in the pipeline and has been carried out by Barcelona-based design company Cases and Associates.
It comes just over a week after Independent editor Roger Alton announced his departure from the paper. Lebedev had made no secret of his intention to replace Alton as editor.
The new look appears to row back from a more populist and tabloid-like redesign of The Independent brought in by Alton in 2008.
The design features smaller, more sober headlines, in the Sun font in the main body of the paper. Comment, letters and much of the features content have been put into a new 20-page second-section called Viewspaper which features the Farnham and Clan headline fonts.
Independent editor-in-chief and managing director Simon Kelner is currently editing the paper until a successor to Alton can be found.
Introducing the new look in the paper today he says: “We make no apologies for erring on the side of seriousness; these are serious times and we believe that what is most needed in the media landscape is a newspaper that is truly free of proprietorial influence and political affiliation (something no other newspaper can claim) too make some sense of the world around us…
“You may not always agree with what we say, but it is spoken from the heart, and from a standpoint that’s untainted by commercial or political imperatives.
“We have never been fearful of taking an unpopular stand, not of highlighting issues that others might think unfashionable. We shall continue to do that. And as the election approaches the need for a truly independent voice is greater than ever.”
In March, sales of The Independent dropped 10.3 per cent to 184,137. Sales of its main rival The Guardian dropped even faster year on year, by 17 per cent to 283,063.
All UK quality newspapers now sell for a £1, apart from the FT which sells for £2, and the recent price rises have put dramatic downward pressure on sales across the board.