26
Sep 14

The aesthetic value of boredom – SNDS Magazine 3, 2014

I like living, breathing better than working … my art is that of living. Each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere, which is neither visual nor cerebral, it’s a sort of constant euphoria.
– Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968)

When the French artist Marcel Duchamp exhibited a mass-produced urinal in 1917, he shocked the art world and changed the way we look at art forever. “Readymades” – ordinary manufactured objects selected and modified by the artist – were here to stay: Simply by selecting, repositioning or joining, titling and signing it, the object became art.

Sometimes it seems like news media are following the same procedure:

The morning radio news stations read aloud from the front pages of the newspapers of the day, making the stories their own. Printed media copy-and-paste from websites and social media, reusing content made by others, with minimal changes, if any at all.

Repositioning, titling and (perhaps) signing it – a “readymade” news story is created. Fortunately, there’s a lot of original, self-produced material in most media as well, but when you hear the exact words on the radio that you have just read in the morning paper, it can be considered a waste of time.

But, of course – one always has the choice of turning off the news channels or putting the newspaper aside and succomb to the state of silence – or, as Duchamp put it – the art of living. This may even include periods of doing absolutely nothing, but this is not necessarily a bad thing – if you are able to appreciate the “aesthetic value of boredom”, which Duchamp also recognized, it may give you new inspiration and strength to get back to work.

This issue’s theme: Illustration
Modifying prefabricated material or readymade imagery is a technique used to great effect by both artists and illustrators, as this issue’s main theme shows. We have gathered a selection of works by illustrators from the Nordic countries and asked them a few questions about their work and the importance of illustration today.

It’s really encouraging to see how collage, drawing, and the carefully created visual storytelling is alive and kicking – in spite of cuts in budgets and in staff within probably all news organisations. The illustrators also have firm opinions about the role visuals can play in the broader picture – as Thomas Thorhauge says on page 23: “We need tools to express content fast and precise, transcending barriers of language, level of education and culture”.

SNDSmag_3_2014_cover72And visuals – or illustration – is the answer to that challenge. We gave a little extra space to Javier Muñoz, a freelance illustrator based in Bilbao, Spain, to show some of his great work for clients like The Guardian, Le Monde, and CNN. Though not afraid to use known imagery – such as the seminal Mona Lisa painting on which our wonderful cover illustration is based – he is not seaking the easy solution for his stories. When asked which of his illustrations he considers to be the best, he is not sure any qualifies – “the best one is yet to come”, as he says.

The third part of the illustration theme is an article by Ole Munk, who takes us behind the scenes of two different, yet similar situations in the process of creating the perfect combination of text and illustration.

Finally, we look at a new book about Swedish illustration – a heavy (literally and figuratively) publication which is a joy to read and experience if you want to know more about Sweden’s visual history in the 20th century.

The Fusion is near
The first part of this magazine, however, is filled with updates to the speaker list for the upcoming Fu2i0n14 conference, which will rock the city of Copenhagen on October 9th and 10th. Great speakers are coming, masterclasses will be held, and the winners of Gold and Silver Awards will be announced at the big Gala Dinner & Award Show. There’s even a big surprise for the winners of the Best Designed Awards this year – but you’ll have to show up in Copenhagen to see it yourself when it is shown to the world for the first time.

So see you in Copenhagen! You are guaranteed not to experience the aeshetic of boredom there, but your state of mind may rise to a sort of euphoria – if not a constant one as in Duchamp’s breathing, then at least a momentary one to bring home as inspiration.

Lisbeth Tolstrup & Lars Pryds  
Editors, SNDS Magazine

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25
Jun 14

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.

SNDSmag2-2014-cover-96dpi

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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21
Mar 14

SNDS Magazine no. 1, 2014

SNDSmag1-2014_coverLOREZ“It’s a very interactive piece on a flat medium, not a newspaper trying to be something else…
– SND35 Long-form judges*

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11
Mar 14

Too strong for Facebook and Issuu

snds-magazine-fjernet-fra-facebook

The Society for News Design Scandinavia’s Facebook page has, among other great stuff, a photo album showing all the covers of the organisation’s quarterly publication, SNDS Magazine. We are pretty proud of this long series of covers – witness of the variety of subjects covered on the inside pages. Print and digital news design, the conferences, the competitions, great photography, and art.

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09
Jan 14

Are you the best designed?

BEST-of-2014-cover72dpiFrame
It’s now time to enter this year’s news design competition, organized by SNDS, Society for News Design Scandinavia. Find out more on www.snds.org or in the brochure with rules and entry forms below. The competition is open for digital and printed content published in 2013. Deadline for submitting your work is January 27, 2014.

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16
Dec 13

SNDS Magazine 4|2013

Our editors’ column in SNDS Magazine 4, 2013.

“I would feel unarmed attacking a day of creative thinking if I hadn’t read The New York Times early that morning.” – George Lois, 2012*

SNDSmag4-2013_pageoneAdvertising guru George Lois (born 1931, inventor of Big Idea advertising) may belong to a different time than the new breed of media workers, who grew up with twitter, blogs, and Facebook. But he sure has made his mark in the graphic design world, creating great art direction for Esquire Magazine, MTV, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few.

In his small book, Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) he gives some of his experience back to the next generation of creatives – in the form of short, in-your-face advice on how to be creative. His book includes the statement above – followed by this comment:

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