I really enjoyed going to SND last weekend. It was a great to be surrounded by such nice people in such cheerful environment.
I’m not a designer and maybe I will never be (or maybe I will) but as a journalist this experience made me even more certain that visuals are vital for conveying our message. I won’t argue with someone who believes a good story should stand for itself; I think we need people who think that way, who can write amazing stories without thinking on the visual side. But we also need people who are aware of the importance of the content but also of the importance of visuals.
In this day and age, we need to entice the readers, get them to engage with the content and share it. To do this, we need to draw their eyes in our direction. This was the most important lesson I learned at SND as a journalist.
Having all those papers on the tables it was so easy to understand the importance of standing out, of creating such a compelling combination of visuals and headlines that it made the judges stop and look closely.
It was very uplifting to listen to the judges and facilitator’s stories. It gave me hope because most of them were not designers, but journalists who latter got in this track.
One of my favorite parts was listening to a gold medal discussion for a page from The Times of Oman (best pages I saw all weekend). Understanding why this particular page stood out was fantastic. They explained how the page broke the rules, pushed the boundaries and innovate. I learned a lot from the discussions, I feel really lucky I was able to be there.
At the beginning I thought the judges were being too strict, but after a whole day there, I understand they have to be. There were so many awesome pages but they really focused on getting the outstanding ones. It was very interesting to see the votes in every page.
Seeing so many amazing designs, I feel sad that this level of creativity and boldness hasn’t permeated into the web. I love the online world and it’s probably where I’ll end up but, after going to SND, I think news websites are way too boring. Maybe I will be pushing the boundaries of online design in the future as these amazing people do every day on newspapers.
I have to admit I was concerned about the amount of newspaper that goes in. I only hope that they recycled what they weren’t taking. If they didn’t… I don’t want to know.