What the world’s best-designed newspaper looks like

Front page of i on May 3, 2011, when Osama bin Laden was found.

Gayle has been overseas for a family wedding, so while she was away, I looked further into the best-designed newspaper in the world as decreed by the Society for News Design, (of which Gayle is past president).

The SND is a highly respected international body dedicated to excellence in visual journalism. According to the SND, the best-designed newspaper in the world last year was i in Portugal. Here’s part of what the judges said in the citation:

It’s compact. It’s fresh. It’s consistent, yet full of surprises. Its magazine-like size allows the reader to hold the newspaper close; the format invites the reader to engage more deeply. The publication is packed with information, yet extremely well organized, using elements of layering and editing to draw readers into every page.

The full citation is here. But this is what the judges were talking about.

Front page today, Aug. 24, 2011.

Could we create a publication like i? Possibly, although the organizing principles are quite different. Including the format. It is a stapled tabloid, 56 to 64 pages long. According to art director Nick Mrozowski, “We want to try to set out to produce a magazine every day.”  That means lots of illustrations, lots of portrait photography and lots and lots of planning.

A front page about how to pick the best school for your child.

We have not made choices to resource our newsroom in a way that would allow us to produce this design-intensive format every day. However, as newspapers seek to differentiate between print and digital platforms, a magazine-style approach to presenting content in print makes sense.

For more front pages, see this blog post by Robert Newman at Grids, the official blog of the Society of Publication Designers. It has several examples of i’s  design, including explanations of what they represent.

Could i be the future of newspapers? a post by Emma Heald at the World Editors Forum, can be found here.


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