The Independent Newspaper

— Henrik Kubel + Scott Williams

Type Design Prize


The Independent Newspaper

The Independent newspaper redesign, in short: a new editor, a new vision. The client wanted to bring back classicism and distance themselves (visually) from their cheaper sister daily newspaper “the i.” The focus would be shifted back to serious journalism, longer articles, less color more content and larger images. Type would be king. To supply a set of custom fonts that could work on all levels across the newspaper and associated magazines (Radar, Traveller & The Independent Magazine). We were also commissioned to design and craft the masthead but not the Eagle which was designed by a bird illustration expert.
We designed a compact suite of inter-connected fonts all sharing the same underlying structure. The Serif fonts were designed first to set the tone and overall proportions of the system, followed by the Sans fonts accompanied by Sans Condensed fonts. In addition to the 3 master sets; Serif, Sans & Condensed – we also crafted a special font containing a wide range of numbers and symbols to be used for information graphics and in the Sports section. A special Display hairline font was designed based on the proportions of the Serif font – this font was also the basis for the masthead although this was crafted on its own featuring wide flared serifs and ND ligatures. The final set of fonts consist of 4 serifs + Italics, 3 Sans, 3 Sans Condensed, one numbers only font and a Display hairline font. 16 fonts in total.
We were from the beginning of our process aware of the competing newspapers all which use custom fonts too. The Guardian has a Slab Serif/ Egyptienne and The Times + Sunday Times has a Serif with triangular “feet.” Because of these typographic and font stylistic facts our brief was clear – we decided to design a “classical” yet “contemporary” (large x-height) serif font with matching Sans fonts. The Sans fonts has a certain “Englishness” infused and quietly pay homage to the great Gill Sans fonts without it in any way looking alike. We designed the Italic fonts to be distinct at small point sizes and crafted a kind of playfulness into the letterforms, the result is a “feminine” match to the more “masculine” upright Serif fonts.

Henrik Kubel + Scott Williams

Henrik Kubel(A2/SW/HK Partner)(left):Type designer and typographer
BA Graphic Design: Denmarks Design School, 1992-97.
MA Communication Art & Design, Postgraduate degree: Royal College of Art, 2000.
Certificate in Type Design, Reading University, Summer 2010.
Diploma Expert Class Type Design, Plantin-Moretus Museum, Belgium, 2011.
Certificate in Type Design, Condensed Program 2012, Type@Cooper, New York 2012.
Moscow Metro, The Independent Newspaper, Expedia, Android, Wired magazine UK, Royal College of Art, gov.uk in collaboration with Margaret Calvert, Amplify, Friends of the Earth, Wallpaper* and most recently New York Times Magazine.
Visiting lecturer and tutor at Royal College of Art 2009 — 2014.

Scott Williams(A2/SW/HK Partner)(right):Designer, art director and typographer.
BA Graphic Design, University of Salford, 1998
MA Communication Art & Design, Postgraduate degree: Royal College of Art, 2000.
Member of AGI, Alliance Graphique Internationale (2007—)