FT's Re-Design Reflects the Changing Role of Print

The FT's re-design, revealed last Monday, is more than just a cosmetic facelift for the venerable City title, it's a reflection of the changing role of print in the newspaper industry.The FT's editor, Lionel Barber, believes that the future of print newspapers doesn't lie in news anymore, but in analysis and comment.  Up to a couple of years ago, publishers could argue that print newspapers could provide busy executives with an opportunity to keep up with the news 'on the go', at times when they were away from their desktops and laptops. But the ubiquity of mobile devices and free wifi means apps and websites are the go to sources for up to date news - and the role of print newspaper is increasingly to add layers of opinion and analysis to what readers already know.Hence, the FT's new strategy is 'digital first'. A 24-hour newsroom keeps its digital readers up to date with the latest financial and company news from around the world, whereas the newspaper is, according to Barber, "a snapshot of the most important news and analysis."You can see this reflected in the design and editorial of the new FT. Gone is the 8-column design, ideally suited to packing in all the latest news stories, replaced by an easier to read 6-column format, complemented by a traditional but clear new typeface - 'Financier'.There are new 'behind the news' features too, such as a Friday people column, a new trends feature to guide readers to emerging themes and a new Monday sports column which covers the business and management of sport.  The analysis also becomes more visual with the addition of new colour infographics.The refresh will be accompanied by a global brand campaign, created by Adam&EveDDB. Based around the strapline "It is what you know", the ads position intelligence, ideas and knowledge as the new sources of strategic advantage.Could this digital first strategy mark the beginning of the end of the distinctive salmon-pink journal? It's unlikely - not when the print edition still commands significant advertising revenue.  And not when having a copy of the FT tucked under their arm still represents a major status symbol for business leaders around the world.