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Group transforms 17 newspapers in major redesign

The Kent Messenger Group has transformed 17 of its newspapers in the first major redesign in ten years.

In a bid to attract more readers and make its titles more appealing to younger readers the group embarked on a project to give them a high visual impact, and now each has rolled off the presses with a new look.

Eleven of the group’s paid-for titles have been redesigned, including the Kent Messenger, the Kentish Gazette and the East Kent Mercury, as well as six stand-alone free papers in Bromley, Bexley, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Thanet.

Each now has a common design and typography, with headlines now in Century condensed bold, and clearer labelling and improved navigation.

Coloured panels have also been introduced to help grab the attention of busy readers.

  • The new look
  • Editorial director Simon Irwin said: “No one should under estimate what we are doing. It is a tremendously big step for any newspaper to change its appearance.

    “We have created a more contemporary look which we hope will have greater appeal to both readers and advertisers.”

    After deciding to give the papers a more modern and compelling appearance, the group began work on ideas, led by design and development editor Steve Bodycomb and editorial manager Ron Green.

  • The old style KM
  • The brief was to continue to produce content-driven newspapers with high story counts but with a high visual impact, and Steve produced a prototype paper which staff were asked to comment on.

    A market research company was then brought in to get focus group reaction from readers and non-readers.

    Simon said there had been a balancing act in making the changes.

    He said: “We have proceeded in a controlled and cautious way. Our traditional readers are unlikely to be scared away by what we have done.

    “But the new look is designed to encourage those people who, for a wide variety of reasons, don’t buy our papers every week to buy them more frequently.

    “I also believe it will make our papers more appealing to younger readers.”

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