Newspapers

The Globe & FAIL?

The prototype that was released to the public in advance of the redesign's unveiling

Am I the only one who finds the Globe & Mail's redesign underwhelming?

Actually, underwhelming is the wrong word. Looking at the new version of the Globe -- sitting awkwardly in a now ill-fitting newstand -- while I waited for a streetcar the other morning, all I could think was how... irrelevant it seemed.

Now, full disclaimer: I'm not exactly your typical media consumer. I don't subscribe to a single paper or magazine, I read everything online, get my breaking news from twitter and when mp3s arrived a decade ago, I ripped my entire music collection and threw my CDs in the trash. I haven't looked back since.

I realize that there are plenty of people out there who still read and enjoy the printed word, but from the perspective of an early-adopter, the Globe's campaign to bring the paper into the 21st century seems like an in-joke at best or a sad case of self-congratulatory denial at worst.

Based on the new format, it's clear that editor-in-chief John Stackhouse thinks the future of the newspaper resembles what was popualr in Europe at the turn of the millenium. After all, the smaller, glossier 'Berliner' style was on the streets of France as early as 2003 and The Guardian had emulated it by 2005. That may not seem like a long time ago in the print world, but if you're blustering about "support[ing] significant growth for the decade ahead," why start by looking back?

Then there's the design itself. The Globe had the chance to do something innovative -- to actually be a game-changer instead of just claiming the mantle. Instead, we've been given a painfully on-brand update with some shinier paper and a bigger photo above the fold. Sure, there are some nice typographic subtleties, but revolution and renaissance have never been about the details.