The Independent has been using tabloid (compact) format since 2003, with the size roughly 430 mm × 280 mm (16.9 in × 11.0 in). It was originally a broadsheet newspaper, and was the first broadsheet newspaper to switch to tabloid format in the U.K. Weekdays and Saturday versions of The Independent share similar A1 page designs, while The Independent on Sunday uses a very different one.
Weekdays and Saturday Versions
The main parts of weekdays and Saturday versions of The Independent contain the nameplate, teasers, headlines and A1 stories. Usually, contents are arranged in certain sequence from the top to bottom: teasers of the issue, one or two headlines, the color picture, and part of the A1 story.
The A1 page uses approximately 6 columns. The nameplate stands in one column and contents in other five. Gutters between columns within content are 5mm wide, while the gutter is 10 mm wide between nameplate and content. The margin is 10 mm wide on the left, right and bottom side, and is 15 mm wide on the top.
All things are arranged in between cutoff rules, and are fitted in rectangles. Bastard measures are used, but stories are not boxed in A1 page, so it could be confusing to figure out which article the picture belongs to at first glance.
Teasers are usually fitted in 5 columns, sometimes with pictures, arranged in between two cutoff rules on the top. But some issues have different design, such as only using 4 columns. Contents in teasers do not apply to the columns strictly, some contents in teasers run out into gutter. The rightmost teaser (sometimes is an ad) is always in a 3/4 circle.
Only one large picture that runs through more than 4 columns appears in A1 every day, with at least related headline and caption. The main purpose of the picture, which is the dominate picture, is to make the A1 page more visualized and abundant. The picture, however, is not always the most attractive one of the whole issue, but the appropriate one to appear in A1. Ad can be another large picture that appears in A1. Other pictures only appear in teasers and logos.
Besides the dominate picture, other text and pictures are in black-and-white and red only.
Though now in tabloid format, weekday and Saturday versions of The Independent maintain the editorial style as the broadsheet. The A1 page design is clean, tidy and serious. Nothing is running out of lines. A1 ad is still very limited.
The Independent on Sunday
The main parts, their sequence and the rules in The Independent on Sunday are similar to weekdays and Saturday versions, but the A1 page of The Independent on Sunday looks more freestyle and entertaining rather than serious, as it is using more colors, more pictures and using uppercases in all headlines. Teasers are separated in boxes filled with different color (reverse type) and texts are printed on the pictures, which never happen in the weekday and Saturday versions.
The contents in A1 page of The Independent on Sunday are fitted in two columns. The A1 page of The Independent on Sunday looks less organized than the weekday and Saturday versions because the girds it uses are not in equal width (the right column is about 5-10mm wider than the left one). Margins on both left and right sides are 10 mm, and 15mm on top and bottom sides. Gutters between teasers are 3mm and 10mm between columns down page.
Basically, the nameplate, teasers and bar code are the only elements that can help in distinguishing A1 page from story pages in all versions of The Independent. The main purpose of the A1 page is to present the main points of today’s issue and highlight them by using editorial methods.
All the issues are using modular page design, such as using rectangles and colored boxes, though some of them are still not good enough for readers to feel “well-organized and well-balanced.”
Though with slight differences, the versions of weekdays, Saturday and Sunday maintain their own A1 page characteristics consistently from issue to issue. They have certain sequence and design in the A1 page, so every issue looks similar to other issues in their family and it’s easy to tell that this is the A1 page of The Independent.