Standard rejigs design to combat freesheet threat

The redesign includes colour-coded sections to improve navigation in the title.

The Evening Standard unveiled its new look this week with a greater emphasis on news and a colour-coding system designed to help readers move across sections.

The changes are intended to refresh the Standard in the face of a changing London newspaper market. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, has invited newspaper groups to bid for the right to distribute a free London evening title via the London Underground and the new paper could be on the streets by the end of the year.

The design changes make use of the Standard's move to full colour, with each section colour-coded at the top of the pages for easier navigation.

This week's changes follow a relaunch last autumn, which saw it increase arts and features coverage and incorporate its pink business pages into the main paper.

This month, the Standard is adding to its columnist roster: Matthew Norman returns to write a twice-weekly sports column, while the media commentator Roy Greenslade will write a regular media column.

The Standard's paid-for circulation fell 6.4 per cent year on year to 324,123 in March. Its free Standard Lite edition has a circulation of 78,262. However, its readership increased between July and December 2005 and its profile is 76 per cent ABC1.

One agency press director welcomed the changes. He said: "They make the newspaper a lighter read, where previously it seemed very heavy, especially around the comment pages."

Veronica Wadley, the editor of the Standard, also brought in Michael Crozier, the former designer of The Independent and the Daily Mail, to work on the new-look Standard.

- Media Perspective, page 12.