Leading Article: All right on paper

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WE HAVE had the designers in. As an American ambassador to London onceremarked to the Queen of his embassy, 'we have undergone elements of refurbishment'. Readers saw the result last week. Some liked this newspaper's new appearance, some did not. As for ourselves, we are like a family in a house that has been filled for the past few weeks with builders and decorators and now nervously seek the approbation of our neighbours. The kitchen, it turns out, is not quite in the shades (Seafoam, Hint of Peach) we imagined from the paint card. The bathroom taps still drip, despite vast expense. The cornice . . . ah, the cornice, perhaps it would have been better left alone. Meanwhile, visitors - that is, readers - express what we hope is genuine delight at the elements that made us most nervous, and dismay at the things we were sure they would celebrate.

We would be the first to argue that redesign for redesign's sake has ruined many fine institutions and commodities and has made Britain the world's greatest fashion victim. But this newspaper needed a fresh clarity and order, and we think we have given it that, restoring the best features rather than destroying them. The changes are, in fact, modest. Our Century typeface survives in the news section; the brand of sans serif deployed in Business and Sport has a long and distinguished history. And while headlines in Bodoni, named after the 18th-century Italian typefounder, have departed from this page, they continue to prosper in the Sunday Review. We need, we know, to correct, modify and improve some alterations. We are already at work.