New size and print day for Computer Weekly

Redesign: “word count safe”

Computer Weekly is to shrink in size and move its publication date forward to give readers more time to act on the news.

The changes, to be unveiled on 8 April, coincide with a radical overhaul including new paper, typography, size and masthead. The paper stock has improved and the title has changed from A3 to an American tabloid format. Editor Karl Schneider said the new size would make it easier to handle and give it a more authoritative feel.

“We needed it to be easier to read, to carry around and easier to open on your desk. We looked at going down to A4 but the intermediate size researched best. We also wanted to make it easier to find the things that matter.”

Schneider said the design team had gone to great lengths to ensure the change in size would not affect the word count. “We have managed to keep the story length almost the same because the design doesn’t depend on the use of large images,” he said.

The Royal Mail’s current threat to impose extra costs on A3 titles, such as the size of Computer Weekly, was a factor, but not entirely the reason for the change. “It probably played a bigger part in my publisher’s mind than mine but it wasn’t what drove the changes,” said Schneider.

Topic tags have been introduced above each article to make it easier for readers to home in on different subjects. And a bullet-point summary has been added to the start of every page lead, allowing the title more flexibility with headlines.

Schneider said he had deliberately avoided introducing colour-coding and the title would actually have less colour to give it a more serious and clear appearance. “The minute you start splashing colour around, it makes it feel more downmarket and as if it is aimed at a more junior audience,” he said.

Editorial has undergone a reshuffle with the technology and management section moving forward after the news. Schneider said the move gave the title a change of pace and a more logical structure. “People felt that some of the technology coverage was buried at the back and we didn’t make enough of it,” he said.

The careers section, previously called Computer Weekly Extra, has been renamed Career Moves. The title has also tried to improve links with its website. The CW360.com site has been renamed computerweekly.com and the magazine will devote more space to flagging up content on the website.

Schneider said the publication date had been moved from Thursday to Tuesday because readers had more time to “act on information” earlier in the week.

The redesign, led by Esterson Lackersteen, follows nine months of analysis and research among senior IT professionals.

By Ruth Addicott

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