The Economist is a publication famously restrained with the design aesthetic of its magazine. When it alters or re-designs the mag (what they still refer to as “a newspaper”), the changes are subtle and might not even be noticed by readers at first-glance.
Flashy, the Economist is not. The aesthetic is not by any means drab, but rather is sober, clean, and thoughtful. It favors the clear, simplified smart and well-organized presentation of its content, both typographical and visual, especially with its use of illustration, photography and data visualizations (charts, graphs, etc.) in a way that powerfully captures and conveys the most critical news issues of the week.
In spite of this appearance of simplicity, there is a lot of sophisticated graphic and print design going on here, along with savvy editorial direction, of course. The Economist’s recent covers demonstrate this and reflect the recent social and political turmoil in the U.S. and the Black Live Matter protests stemming from the police killing of George Floyd.