SND was quite the experience. And while, yes, I saw some amazing newspapers and met some seriously interesting people, I think the biggest take away for me was realizing that being a news designer is a reality that I can truly make my own.
A lot of what I learned about news design revolves around one answer I got from many judges when I asked about a certain trend – it depends.
I would ask about rotated text, drop shadows, big pictures, etc. and they all for the most part answered with a non-committal “it depends.” That definitely tells me that it doesn’t matter if something has been done before or if something is considered as taboo, as long as the treatment of something is done right, you can get away with almost anything.
One thing that I definitely have a new appreciation for is the entire creative process that goes into putting together a great news package. We as designers often get thrown off by beautiful graphics and things that we have to create for our papers, but in reality, making the decision about how a photo will run, how the furniture around it is formatted, and all those little details are what makes a product great. Looking at the Los Angeles Times, which walked away with the most AOE’s and medals, I think most of their success comes from looking at those details.
I was a little put off by somethings that I heard/saw though. In the infographics/design room I saw really great pages, but as I looked closer, lots of them were brilliant designs, but just with evergreen wire articles that they grabbed from the NY Times or the AP. To me, that totally cheapens the entire process. Also listening to some of the judges who were looking at beautiful pages but wouldn’t budge on giving it a medal made me upset. Especially when they couldn’t vocalize why they were put off by it. I’m a little suspect that many American news designers are jaded by it all, while some of the international designers were more open and willing to have fun, take chances and recognize when something truly deserved an award.
But like I said, I’m mostly just grateful to have seen that there are actual, real people out in the industry that do this work – work that I’d love to do when I graduate.
I took pictures with my crappy Blackberry, but here are some standouts from me.