Tagged News design

The sweet smell of success

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Editor’s column from SNDS Magazine no. 2, 2015:

Do not try to win awards.
Do not try to follow fashion.
Be true to your subject and you will be far more likely to create something that is timeless.
That’s where the true art lies.
– Paul Arden*

Although you should not create just to win, nearly everybody likes to win awards. If the awards are given to you by colleagues or people you look up to within your profession, the feeling is especially great. Once again, Scandinavian newspapers can enjoy this feeling: In April, the jury behind the SND 37th Best of News Design competition named Dagens Nyheter (S) and Politiken (DK) “World’s Best-Designed™ Newspapers” – together with De Morgen (Belgium), and The Guardian (Britain).

The jury chose between 215 newspapers submitted from all over the world, and it’s worth noting that Dagens Nyheter wins this title for the third year in a row. Politiken is now a four time World’s Best winner, having previously received the title in 2006, 2011, and 2012.

We even had a Scandinavian runner-up this year: Svenska Dagbladet (S), (World’s Best in 2004) was among the 17 finalists.

So it’s fair to say that Scandinavian news­papers maintain world class quality, compared to regions with a much higher number of publications to choose from – and probably much higher budgets to draw from, too. This bodes well for the Scandinavian competition of which the winners will be announced in October.

In the digital competition, SND named only one “World’s Best-Designed™ Digital” winner – Facebook. This controversial decision was announced in April at the SNDDC seminar in Washington and evoked strong reactions from many in the business – even after the SND website published an extended statement (labelled by Roger Black on twitter as “sad excuses”) from the judges. We wanted to keep the discussion going a bit longer and asked leading news designers for their comment to the jury’s decision (see p. 18–20).

In February, I had the honour of serving once again as judge in the print categories of the Best of Scandinavian News Design competition. It’s such a privilege to get the opportunity to see hundreds of submitted entries representing a snapshot of Scandinavian newspaper design right now. A lot of good work, a fair amount of excellent work, and among them the few pieces that really stand out.

One unique voice this year was that of Finnish illustrator Klaus Welp – whose detailed drawings earned him an Honourable Mention and (on this issue’s cover) a nomination for a Silver or Gold Award. We wanted to see more of Klaus Welp’s work – and found out that the style used in the two winning entries is just one of his many distinct voices – see p. 22-29.

Also in this issue
Pål Nedregotten, Chief Innovation Officer at Amedia AS, Oslo looks into some of the myths that surround digital news – and argues that even though more and more people read news updates on social media it is still extremely important to have a dedicated, well-edited front page on your own website – not least to care for your most loyal readers. See p. 10–12.

We also look into a new design trend called “anti­cipatory design” which will also be a theme on the SNDS15 Conference in October. Kartin Hansen, Head of Digital Development at Jyllands-Posten, Denmark, explains the basics and wonders when the news media will jump on this trend wagon. See p. 14–15.

Anders Tapola, former SNDS President and Design Editor at Smålandsposten, Sweden found himself “last man standing” when his design department suddenly disappeared and was replaced by software tools and a centralised design hub. Read his thoughts about the pros and cons of this new situation on p. 16–17.

Finally, in case you haven’t noticed yet: the snds.org website has been updated with a new look and feel, so take a look. And while you’re there – don’t forget to check for updates to the SNDS15 conference in October.

Have a great summer!

Lars Pryds
Editor, SNDS Magazine

*In: “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be”, p.90. Phaidon 2003. Paul Arden (1940–2008) was a creative director for Saatchi and Saatchi at the height of their advertising might, and an influential author of several books on advertising and motivation.

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Read the online of the mag here, or sign up here to get your personal printed copy:

SNDS Magazine 1, 2015 is out

The first SNDS Magazine of the year is on its way to the printer. Take a look in this web version at all the great content we have put together for you. The cover story is a very personal story by John Bark and a project by him and his colleague Charli Kasselbäck, in the cold north part of Sweden. There’s also a presentation of the first speakers at the SNDS15 conference – oh, and we’ve redesigned the magazine – a needed facelift after nine years in the same look, more or less. Hope you like it!

Embrace the visual format

Editorial from SNDS Magazine no. 4, 2014

We believe there is nothing social about online social networks, so get out from behind your screen and get to a live event, with real people, real communication, real beer, and real creative fun.”
– www.pechakucha.org

Visuals can be many things. In the previous issue of SNDS Magazine, we looked at illustration. In this issue we show you a glimpse of a live event – the SNDS Fu2i0n14 conference held in Copenhagen in October – and tell it almost only in pictures. Our photos may not say more than a thousand words, but hopefully they will convey the atmosphere and quality of the conference and encourage you to register next year.

SNDSmag_4_2014_coverA visual innovation at Fu2i0n14 was the introduction of the PechaKucha – a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. Images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.*

Nine speakers tried their best at this very strict presentation format – Stig Ørskov, CEO of JP/Politikens Hus, Denmark, held his presentation precisely within the required timeframe of 6 minutes, 40 seconds (20 slides × 20 seconds), and Liv-Jorunn Håker from the Norwegian newspaper Sunn­mørsposten also managed to deliver a well-structured PechaKucha entitled “Get over it!” about struggling with web code. Accepting the rules of the format clearly showed what magic a great Pecha­Kucha can produce.

Now, this may be a rather formalistic observation, but in principle, no design format should be neglected – be it in a presentation, in a printed magazine or in apps as well as other digital products. Users and readers of our publications are very aware – consciously or unconsciously – that any given format has its rules and conventions. Try uploading a 20 MB jpg to your news website and watch the bounce rate of your visitors grow sky-high, or set body copy in your newspaper at an illegible five point size – it just doesn’t work.

Of course you can pretend that there are no rules – but then the rule is (!) that you have to be extremely good at inventing new stuff. And that’s a lot harder than communicating within the grid at hand.

In the magazine
Will PechaKucha be part of the new initiative SNDS Meet-up, launched in this issue (page 16)? It’s actually up to you: SNDS Meet-ups are local self-organized events, where news designers in the Scandinavian countries can socialize, exchange ideas, learn and engage in their local design-community.

Kim Bjørn came up with this great idea, and we hope you will support the project and start organizing. More info to follow on snds.org.

One of the winners in this year’s Best of Scandinavia News Design competition was the Finnish illustrator and graphic designer Anniina Louhivuori. The only winner in the new Portfolio category in the print part of the contest, we were so impressed that we wanted to see more. We’re proud to show all six entries from her award winning port­folio plus another seven examples of her great visualizing skills published in Sunnuntaisuomalainen.

In next year’s competition, there will be a few changes to the categories – which ones will be announced online and in a booklet in the beginning of January. The deadline for submitting your work is set to January 30, 2015.

Come together, right now
Our mother organization SND is running a membership drive campaign right now – asking members what their membership has meant to their life and career. We quote a few of the answers on page 14 – and the reasons for joining or renewing with SND are just as valid as reasons for joining or renewing your SNDS membership. If you want to have the best of both worlds (and who doesn’t?) you even get a discount if you sign up for a double membership at snds.org/member – see you in the club!

New board member
Speaking of members – we have a new member on the SNDS board, elected at the general assembly in Copenhagen in October. Elisabeth Svendby is Head of the design and user experience team at Amedia Utvikling, Norway, and former chief designer of Dagbladet.no. She has been a member of the digital jury of SNDS Best of Scandinavian News Design competition for several years. She is trained in graphic and web design and programming, from Østfold University College and Universität Bremen, Germany. Elisabeth Svendby replaces Lill Mostad. Welcome on board!

Finally, have a great Christmas
and a Happy New Year.

Lisbeth Tolstrup
& Lars Pryds
Editors, SNDS Magazine

* PechaKucha was devised by architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network and show their work in public. Sources: www.pechakucha.org, klein-dytham.com/pechakucha

 

Time – creativity’s best friend

Editors’ column in SNDS Magazine no. 2, 2014

“Time – he’s waiting in the wings
He speaks of senseless things
His script is you and me, boy …”

– David Bowie (Aladdin Sane, 1973)

In this place we have previously quoted some of the great masters of the advertising business. Sir John Hegarty* is one such master and shares his words of wisdom in a small book, Hegarty on Creativity – There Are No Rules, just published by Thames & Hudson.

In fifty witty chapters he writes about creativity – how to inspire it, how to sustain and perfect it, and how to make a living from it. Creativity is not an occupation, he says, it’s a pre­occupation. So his views touch far beyond the advertising world – and they are certainly relevant for the news business.

“Time may be one of creativity’s best friends, yet no one will give you any. You have to earn it”, Hegarty says.

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Cover image by Lucy McRae and Johan Renck

We live in a world today where tomorrow is too late – and the tight deadlines force you to make snap judgments and rapid decisions which often lead to poor work.

“The ability to stand back from your thinking and give it what we call ‘the overnight test’ is essential. […] To gauge if your idea will stand up to scrutiny necessitates reflection. Thanks to digital technology everything in this world has sped up drastically but that only makes it all that much more important to slow it down. Our brains still operate in an analog world.”

Hegarty has a point here. Although some of us actually work best under some kind of pressure (be it from deadlines, well-meaning bosses or the need to earn money to pay the rent) it’s important to include time enough to let your idea grow.

In SNDS Magazine no. 2, 2012 the Swedish photographer Tor Johnsson said that his most important tool is time – “time to wait for the right picture, the right atmosphere to give justice to the motive”.

Time is also an important aspect of the many new longread formats that more and more news sites are launching next to their quick news feeds. Research show that people are actually prepared to spend a large amount of time on in-depth stories online – but these take time to produce.

Do you get the time you need to make your projects develop to their full potential? Or, if you’re a manager – do you allow your staff enough time to get the work done properly? If your answer is yes! then I will worry no more, and speak no more of senseless things.

Kill the routine
Another way to keep your creativity alive is not to get stuck in the routines of your workday. It happens to all of us – coming into the office at the same time each morning, drinking your usual cups of coffee etc.

“If each day is business as usual how can you possibly create something un­usual?” Hegarty asks, and he’s got another point there.

His first easy step to break the monotony is to simply switch desks with a colleague (if you work in a newsroom with free seating, this is really easy – just pick a new seat each morning). Just by moving across the room, you’re already looking at things from a different perspective.

If you really want to change habits, move to another city – or to another continent. This may, of course, involve some practicalities, but relocating even for a month or two can be really stimulating – having just spent the month of May in Iceland is our personal proof of that.

In the mag
The Fu2i0n14 conference is only four months away, and the program is shaping up. You can meet the first of a long list of great speakers on the next pages and more will be added to the line-up on the conference website at www.fusion.snds.org .

The spectacular cover photo for this issue of SNDS Magazine was created by one of the Fu2ion14 speakers, artist Lucy McRae with photographer Johan Renck. McRae built a coat hanger construction in seven layers with what she calls a ‘paper pixel representation’ of the pop icon Robyn for her Body Talk album. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to run this extraordinary photo on our cover and look forward to see more of McRae’s work on Fu2i0n14 in Copenhagen.

Photography is the subject for “That Scandinavian something” about the Norwegian photo festival DOK; we get an amazing look into the large pop-up book collection of Professor Michael Stoll, Augsburg University of Applied Sciences; we look behind the scenes of a Swedish experiment with print formats; Ole Munk reviews a new printed newspaper for kids; and k.dk was given a new design and a gold medal, all within the same month.

Enjoy it all, have a great summer – and don’t forget: If you have ideas for stories we should print in the magazine, give us a hint.

Lisbeth Tolstrup & Lars Pryds
Editors, SNDS Magazine

* Sir John Hegarty is founding Creative Partner of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), one of the world’s most awarded advertising agencies.

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