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Pacey Independent redesign more likely to poach readers from Guardian than Mail

Two months after taking up the reins as Independent editor – Roger Alton has stamped his mark on the paper with a full colour redesign, made possible by an upgrade of the Trinity Mirror printing presses the title uses.

The FT and the Express titles now remain the last UK nationals to make the leap to full colour.

Advertisers have previously paid a hefty premium for colour, rather than black and white, ads. And this coupled with a price rise to £1 should ensure a boost to the loss-making title's coffers – or should at least help alleviate the effects of the current economic squeeze.

Alton has thickened up the masthead type and turned the mascot eagle from black to red.

The headline fonts have also changed to what Alton calls the 'more modern and elegant'sans serif Amplitude, which are similar to the new look Sunday Times and replace Whitney.

The splash for the relaunch issue is news of a 'Methane time bomb'in the Arctic which could accelerate global warming – fairly typical Independent fare.

The change in the colour redesign is felt inside on pages four and five, where the splash turns to an impressive full-colour infographic-heavy spread which, for once, delivers on the promise of the front page. It has long been a criticism of the Independent that the 'concept'fronts it has pioneered are not backed-up by the depth of content inside.

Inside colour coding is used to distinguish the various sections with red for news, gold for comment, blue for business and orange for sport.

Former editor Simon Kelner's features section Extra has been ditched in favour of the more tabloidy Life which appears to have an emphasis on lifestyle, showbiz and health.

All in all it looks like a tidy, spacey, pacey and coherent package – which is much lifted by the long-awaited addition of full colour.

It looks like a paper positioned upmarket from the tabloids and downmarket from the Guardian and Times.

But with a cover price of £1 it looks far more likely take readers from the quality titles than it does from a 50p Daily Mail.

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