The revamp plays to the paper's strengths by expanding the letters section and the Daily Universal Register miscellany. Overall, it seems a rational and well-organised response to the availability of full colour.
The Game, The Times' Monday football supplement, is particularly resplendent. The section was the creation of Ben Preston, the paper's former deputy editor. He departed in an editorial shake-up earlier this year, only to re-emerge last week as executive editor of The Independent, ahead of the arrival of former Observer editor Roger Alton as editor-in-chief next month.
Rumour has it that the appointments will coincide with a shift at The Independent to become more newsy - a change signalled by editorial chief Simon Kelner when he admitted that its poster-campaign-style front-page splashes had lost their interest and become rather predictable. However, there are two problems likely to arise from such a change of tack.
As the smallest player in the quality market, The Independent has carved an identifiable niche as a 'viewspaper' - a positioning that, if maintained, could well emerge as being a better fit for newspaper readers in today's media world. Currently, its small but loyal audience knows what sort of paper it is getting. Soon, it may not be so sure.
A more news-focused line will bring The Independent into direct competition with much bigger rivals The Times and The Guardian - a struggle in which it is likely to find itself severely under-resourced.
Both The Independent and The Times do, however, need to change something, as a glance at the latest ABC figures will attest.
In May, the circulation of The Independent was down 2% year on year to 240,503 copies. This figure includes remarkable overseas 'sales' of 54,808. The Times was down 1.63% to 626,401 over the period.
Nonetheless, the sector as a whole can derive some comfort from the ABCs, which show the effects of recent promotional gimmicks.
The Evening Standard grew 10% to a circulation of more than 300,000, boosted by distribution at London City Airport.
The Sun has experienced its third consecutive month of year-on-year sales increases, largely thanks to price-cuts in London and the South East, while The Observer also continued to grow, aided by promotional content such as summer-vegetable recipes and the Book of Books.
The World Association of Newspapers survey did offer some good news, however. Global newspaper circulations grew by 2.57% last year, and by 3.65% when freesheets are included.
Nonetheless, most of this growth was not in the UK, but in markets such as India and China. UK sales were, in fact, down by 3.46% year on year, and by 10.14% between 2003 and 2007.
Facing such figures, executives have no option but to hope that a redesigned Times and a more newsy Independent are incredibly well-received.
- Raymond Snoddy is a media journalist and presenter of BBC Television's Newswatch
30 SECONDS ON ... THE TIMES' REDESIGN
- The Times launched the first phase of its full-colour revamp on 2 June.
- Alongside the introduction of full colour, the leading articles have moved to page 2, sections are now colour-coded, the opinion pages have been expanded, a daily photograph now appears in the opinion section and there are more cartoons on the news pages. Times2 has an extended features section.
- The colour-coding uses blue to signal 'analysis', while blue and beige denote the City pages.
- A small team at The Times' publisher, News International, worked on the redesign, which was led by Anoushka Healy, The Times' assistant editor.
- The last time the newspaper was redesigned, in November 2006, it introduced a new font, Times Modern.
- The Times switched to a compact format in 2004.