A new look for Handelsblatt

20 July, 2020  |   No comments

Earlier this month, García Media presented its redesign of Handelsblatt, one of Germany’s major financial newspapers. Retype proudly announces that the main type family in the daily’s new design is Guyot, a contemporary reworking of the typefaces cut by sixteenth-century punchcutter François Guyot.

Mario García’s agency, headquartered in New York and Buenos Aires, has been recognized as one of the world’s leading companies specializing in newspaper and magazine design. García Media has developed redesigns for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Norway’s Aftenposten, the United Arab Emirates’ Gulf News, Germany’s Die Zeit, India’s The Hindu, and Paris Match, plus other major dailies, some smaller newspapers, and a few dozen American business weeklies.

The new redesign is the fourth García has been involved in for Handelsblatt. On his comprehensive blog, the designer explains the need to create a smoother design for a paper edition—more compatible with the shift toward online reading habits, “while embracing its digital offerings.” What has remained, García specifies, is the familiar logo and standard colour: orange. “However, almost everything else changed.” As for the editorial motives, the blog post quotes the paper’s editor in chief, Sven Afhüppe: “The optics help the readers identify sections better and to get through the newspaper faster.”

As García wrote in early June, Handelsblatt’s major transformation “includes the rethinking of the print design which launched today, as well as the upcoming projects for digital and mobile.” For months, Garcia set up an intensive long-distance collaboration with two designers in Düsseldorf, the newspaper’s hometown—design director Michel Becker and digital designer Henrik Balzer—and a team from Zurich agency Bodara, led by Tobias Peier.

Referring to the strategies developed for digital media, the new design focuses on facilitating the navigation of the printed page. Most editorial designers agree that a publication’s clarity starts with the judicious use of the “white of the page” as an element of its template. The design team for Handelsblatt has “incorporated white space as punctuation … to provide relief for the eye.” Yet the major element in reorganising a publication’s pages to guide the reader is arguably a more distinctive typography, using the range of the typefaces’ styles and weights to create contrast, and thus develop a lucid and less cluttered redesign.

When selecting the typefaces with which to achieve this, García’s team chose three families, of which Retype’s Guyot Text and Guyot Headline are the primary typefaces. Guyot Headline works well for most of the paper’s headlines, in a broad range of sizes. Designed to take full advantage of larger optical sizes, the Headline subfamily offers stylish lettershapes with a stronger personality than its Text companion, and thus provides a contrast that facilitates selective reading.

Ramiro Espinoza became familiar with Guyot’s work in 2016, while attending the Expert Class in Type Design at Antwerp’s Plantin Institute for Typography. The punchcutter’s faces were not as sophisticated and consistent as those of the most important masters of the period, but Espinoza found them equally fascinating. Instead of designing a faithful facsimile, he brought Guyot’s occasionally awkward yet charming shapes into the twenty-first century. The Guyot-inspired family was immediately conceived as a newspaper typeface—which definitely relates to Espinoza’s past occupations as a newspaper and magazine designer in Argentina. The result was, as García wrote, “a modern interpretation aimed at the editorial market.” His team’s high-tech use of the family in the Handelsblatt redesign is an example of how the family’s purpose can serve the needs of an expert editorial designer.


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