SND & Me

The Society for News Design weekend was a great opportunity to get firsthand insight into how news publications are designed. What the weekend taught me most about news design is that the process for developing an innovative and impactful design is incredibly difficult especially for designing in a timely fashion.

For pieces that are less time sensitive there is a longer process to developing the layout and formatting of a page but with breaking news stories you need to quickly conceptualize design and how their relate to the written content.

In terms of conversations the judges had throughout the weekend I found the most frequent to be about design taking risk, and being impactful in a way that differentiated it from other coverage.

For the most part comments made about entries were reserved only for the pieces worthy of awards. Of those pieces the judges were very particular as to what make the piece stand out, and made very specific arguments as to why certain designs deserved recognition.

Currently it seems to me that the industry is judged on the added value designers offer to news consumers and in what ways those added features entice the subscriber to engage with the publication. In terms of the future I think this trend will continue but I also believe that there will need to be a discussion as to how these features relate to the web.

For the most part all the eliminated pages were pretty one sided with votes being 5-0 or 4-1. These entries seemed to make little impression and were dismissed by the judges for either being too safe or unimaginative.

Winning pages were similar in that there was very few decided 3-2 and it seemed that all the judges recognized successful design in a similar manner. The pieces had to be engaging, evocative and leave a lasting impression on the judges.

For me the biggest surprise was how quickly the judges were able to go through the entries and how most of their votes were similar on pieces. They clearly all had a similar idea in mind when judging and had very similar outlooks on what made an impressionable design.

The funny part about the conference was the lack of discussion about digital design and how print design translates to the web. However what feared me was how little attention was paid to the content. For me there should have been a broader discussion about weather the design impacted the judges’ willingness to read the pieces and as a writer I was especially interested in that.

For me the thing that resonated most to me was how different each of the submitted designs were and that even when an entry covered similar events the manner in which the publication covered it was very different.

Scavenger Hunt

1. A piece of humor was found was in the piece below. At first I thought it was ugly but then when I read the caption I couldn’t help but chuckle at the message connoted.


2. The most compelling photo I saw was from a  german publication. It was a spread on a German man raising a child while dealing with drug addiction. I just found the imagery and juxtaposition of tattoos to a baby to be very powerful.


3. Bad thinking… everything about this front page was awful. The delete icon is an affront to the reader and I have no clear how to consume the content



4. Innovative thinking was clear in this NY Times piece about the Australian open. The graphics are engaging and if you look closely you can follow the champions road through the tournament. The piece conveyed a lot of information in a relatively small area.





6. My favorite meal was our final lunch because it was light, tasted great and was exactly what I needed to recover from such a long weekend



7. Magazine cover – was not able to view the magazine section

8. Wildcard: this piece just had amazing architecture that wasn’t really a part of the news design discussion but I just found the photography to be really engaging and impactful



9. Photo illustration: This was a piece on an individual who passed away and was a constructed photo incorporating all of his work colleagues.


10. Foreign language paper was Politiken but the paper did not win any awards and was discarded before I could get a photo


11. Trend: a lot of papers tried to make use of slanted text and all of them failed to win the judges praises mostly because they were difficult to read.



12.What made this headline for me was the way it was presented to look like a line in the court and the fact that the story talks about Sharapova’s completion of the career grand slam



13. I spent most of my weekend with Kieren in the news section


14. Iconic SND scene: the cups


15. Discarded paper