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News UK rules out Sunday Times merger as paper has first redesign for five years

By Darren Boyle

News UK has ruled out merging the Sunday Times with the daily edition as the paper undergoes a "light-touch" redesign. 

Eleanor Mills, editorial director of the Sunday Times told Press Gazette: "We are the mass-market leader. The behemoth of the group. The Sunday Times has its own strong separate identity and that is not going to change. We have a separate staff and separate editors and that is going to stay that way. We have no merger plans."

Mills described the changes as a “light-touch refresh”, updating the paper which underwent a major redesign in July 2008.

Sunday Times art director Gordon Beckett led the redesign team which included Henry Nolan as well as Matt Curtis, who was responsible for the major redesign of the Sunday Times Magazine.

Mills said: “This is very much an evolution rather than a revolution.”

The Sunday Times Magazine has undergone a dramatic change, with a slimmer, taller look to give prominence to photojournalism. It has also returned to its original masthead from 50 years ago. The magazine was the first of its type on Fleet Street.

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According to Mills: "The old design was hopeless for showing photographs, sometimes it led to weirdly cropped pictures. When it was first launched the magazine used pioneering photojournalism. This week, the magazine has the first exclusive interview with Silvio Berlusconi in ten years. 

"The magazine's picture editor John Jones is a former war photographer. He feels very passionately about getting to the truth. This week we are running this amazing feature on women fighters in the Congo. They are wearing camouflage and yet have these bright pink nails."

The Sunday Times is introducing a new font called Glosa throughout the body copy of the entire paper replacing Greta.

Mills said the new font manages to increase the number of words on a page while also increasing the amount of white space, making the paper easier and clearer to read.

Another feature in this week's edition will be the 500 most influential people in Britain.  

The mastheads for the Travel, Home and Driving&Technology sections have also been changed.

Mills said the revamped Culture section will give greater prominence to the paper's columnists.  

The cover price remains £2.50 while the digital subscription is £6 a week for the seven-day Times and Sunday Times pack.

The redesign will be backed by a four-week television advertising campaign. 

In December, the Sunday Times had a circulation figure of 812,515 down 7.4 per cent year-on-year. 

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