Thoughts from the SND President Gayle Grin about the 29th edition of the Society for

As always, the competition was exciting, stimulating and tiring as the hard-working judges pored over more than 14,000 entries in three long days of debate and discussion. And before the judging could begin, the entries had to be sorted and categorized by a dedicated group of helpers.

It was an intriguing process. Initially I felt there was so much of the same good stuff but at the same time, I recognized that newspapers have reached a level of maturity in design and we have taught each other so much. I could see quality in design was being identified. With a lot of work to be reviewed, the judges quickly began acting as a unit recognizing the elusive excellence. The judges, with a good international mix, were a tough bunch!

In the beginning, no one paper or trend wowed us. There was consistency and high caliber in visual editorial reporting with the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. They led the competition in total awards. They were followed by the National Post of Canada and a small paper, Zaman, from Turkey won the 4th highest number of awards.

By the last day, it was apparent this was a competition where illustration shined. More than ever, illustration was part of the story telling, even on page one and very effectively on editorial pages. On the last day, nearly a 1000 illustrations were judged. Illustration is becoming a key part of the ever-changing role of newspapers as they appear to becoming more analytical.

With over 1162 winners from 14,816 entries, and with this coming weekend seeing the final selections in Category 1, another SND design competition has been successfully organized. What a challenge! What a process! What a team! And after the long gritty hours of judging there was even a little time for some much-needed fun!

My thanks go to David Rubin, Dean of Syracuse University; Marshall Mattlock, Competition and Site Director; Shamus Walker, Audit and Entry Director; Greg Swanson, 29th Edition Coordinator; Ron Johnson, SND Book Editor, and to the international and national judges; and to all those who helped and gave of their time, handling such tasks as internet coverage, data entry and even ironing the winning pages for inclusions.

Once again, I was proud to be part of SND and working along side such dedicated people.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


February's área-11 is online

The February edition of área-11 is now online.
The topics on this issue include:

  • ­ Al Día: a weekly newspaper "made in" Colombia and published in Philadelphia.
  • ­ The "Argentina Report" from Mauricio Gutiérrez, in which he writes about what we can expect from a visit to Buenos Aires at the workshop in 2009.
  • ­ Some information about "Lo mejor del Periodismo Visual Latinomericano," a new competition for publications in Central and South America.

Adrian Alvarez reminds us to enjoy -- and practice our Spanish!


Labels: , , ,

SND-BA: A sneak peek at Argentina

By Mauricio Gutierrez
Deputy Design Director/Features, Detroit Free Press

If you’re thinking that SND Buenos Aires could be a good conference to attend in 2009, put in your vacation request ASAP! Buenos Aires is piping hot. Has anyone counted how many stories on the city have run in The New York Times lately? A lot.

And for a good reason. I went there a few weeks ago and can give you a sneak peek at what you may see while you’re there enjoying the Workshop.

First, clear your calendar for at least a week: you'll need the time. After flying ten or more hours, you'll want time to relax and stroll around the city's many neighborhoods.

At first, the city's charms underwhelmed me. It's a big city with big city problems: pollution, traffic, dog poop. But look past all that and you'll find a great place, one inspiring and show-casing design.

The amount of visual stimulation is surprising. From fantastic architecture to well designed stores, from colorful facades to ornate signs, there's so much to take in. Among the amazing things I saw were hand-painted signs. Not your average signs, these were full of color, great typographical sense, and fanciful designs. They're a unique artistic expression called "fileteado porteno," an art form that started as a way to identify carts at the market. It was then transferred to other vehicles. Now you see it everywhere, from menus to McDonald's. I love its naive simplicity and bought a sign painted by an artisan in San Telmo, an up-and-coming neighborhood with an art fair and flea market on Sundays. Though you can find many street vendors and artists selling signs in the fileteado style, each shows various skill levels. By far, the best sign painter was Marcelo Arias. His trace and color sense were fantastic. I also bought a book on the subject, "Fileteado Porteno," by Alfredo Genovese to learn more about its history and current use. When you're in Buenos Aires pick up a copy of the book, it's an indispensable reference book for any designer.

Just walking around the city, I saw some of the best use of color, particularly around the neighborhood of La Boca -- (for soccer fans) home to the Boca Juniors stadium where Maradona played -- with its multicolored homes and shops. And don't forget the Casa Rosada, Argentina's White House but in a nice pink hue. How great is that? An explosion of colors.

One day I visited the Hotel Faena in the new neighborhood of Puerto Madero, a place of warehouses renovated into expensive condos, hotels, and restaurants. Faena is the fanciest of these. This Phillip Starck-designed hotel epitomizes the use of color. Its dark entrance, a long hallway in reds and blacks flanked by windows covered in red velvet, contrasts with the bright outdoors. This hotel is all about drama. While there I ate at Bistro, a restaurant decorated in pristine white. I sat on an overstuffed armchair upholstered in white leather near walls covered with white curtains on which were mounted the "stuffed" heads of white unicorns wearing ruby necklaces for a touch of colorful whimsy. The place is like a stage with the guests as actors in a fantastically choreographed meal. One waiter after another, different faces every time, all in white, carried foods that were colorful and delicious. It was one of the best meals I've had in a long time.

I stayed in the San Telmo neighborhood at the small (16 rooms only) and minimalist Ribera Sur Hotel and loved it. Their service was impeccable, and their location great, just two blocks from a main square, the center of San Telmo, and a short cab ride from the Casa Rosada. Traveling around the city by cab is inexpensive, safe, and the best way to see the city. My hotel was just one of the many with a design sensibility that abounds in the city. The neighborhood with the highest concentration of well-designed stores and restaurants is Palermo, around the Soriano (Cortazar) Square. Here, one can find restaurants for every taste, from Scandinavian to sushi, and stores filled with local designers' goods. Visit Papeleria Palermo, the best stationary store I've seen in a long time, where I found notebooks with Eva Peron's face on their covers and many hand-made papers -- all made on the premises. Plus art books and wrapping papers with whimsical designs that you could frame and hang on your wall.

Now about food -- if you’re a strict vegetarian, you'll have some difficulty in the land of the pampas, where large hunks of grilled beef are the staple. I generally don't eat beef, but I tried it and was hooked. The beef is not marinated or seasoned. They only add some salt and call it a day. It was great. With that, a simple salad, and an Argentine Malbac wine (red, of course) you have a great meal for two for under $20. A bargain. And when you make reservations for the city's many great restaurants, make it about 2 to 4 hours later than you would in the States. Argentines follow Iberian time -- dinner starts around 10 p.m. I made the mistake of reserving a table at Bistro for 8:30 p.m. I was their only customer; thankfully by 10 p.m. the place got busy. And, of course, bars and clubs stay open (i.e. get busy) very late in the evening or very early in the morning, depending on how you look at it. The city has a great variety of bars, clubs, and cafes. Every day you can visit a different one and it'll be packed with tourists and locals.

It's certainly a city with a great cafe culture. Sip a cafe con leche (espresso with warm milk) and nibble an alfejor (chocolate or meringue covered cookies with a center of dulce de leche -- caramel) while reading the newspaper or watching the crowds.

I also wanted to report on the site of the SND Workshop, so I visited the conference center where it will take place, The Borges Cultural Center, which is inside an old department store (circa 1889) turned into a mall. The center is on the top (fourth) floor and contains several auditoriums and conference rooms. The building itself is impressive with vaulted glass ceilings, giant frescoes, and, oh yeah, over a hundred upscale stores where you can spend your money between sessions (be sure to get your tax-free refund forms from the venders) and even have your purchases delivered to your hotel. I recommend buying leather goods. You'll find great prices and the softest leather. I probably bought a cow's worth of leather.

Like any newspaper nerd, I also visited Clarin, the newspaper host of the SND Workshop. My thanks to Pablo Loscri, their Graphics Director, who showed me their newsroom. Though it's not the most inspiring one I've ever seen -- rather dark with bland corporate furniture -- it was great to see where a renowned newspaper is crafted and meet some of their designers and graphic artists. Very cool. I also looked at a few of their graphics entries for this year's SND competition, which are very strong. I look forward to seeing how they fare.

The people of Buenos Aires were very courteous, always trying to help. Not many speak English, but they try. If you know a little Spanish, it will help. And I never felt unsafe in the city.

You may wonder why I didn't mentioned tango. Well, I didn’t go to any touristy (expensive) tango shows. I ran from those places. I wanted something authentic, where locals danced and tourists were seldom found. But I ran out of time and energy, so that's another reason for me to go back. That and the chance to see again a city infused with great design. I'm already counting the days.

Labels: , , ,


Live coverage from Syracuse

Check out our live coverage from the 29th Best of Newspaper Design competition at update.snd.org.



J. Ford Huffman joins the Washington Post

J. Ford Huffman, formerly a deputy managing editor at USA Today, is set to join the Washington Post. The memo:
National is thrilled to announce the arrival of J. Ford Huffman, the longtime deputy managing editor for design of USA Today. J. Ford -- a true legend in the newspaper design world and one of the founders of USA Today in the 1980s -- will work with us to help transform the graphics and all kinds of visual display throughout the A section.
Working closely with Mike Keegan and everyone in News Art as well as Justin Ferrell, the new A section art director, and the rest of the A section design team, J. Ford has volunteered to jump right in and help us think in different ways about all of our visual storytelling.
He's a terrific source of ideas (not to mention a wise counselor of what works, and what doesn't), and eager to work closely with National's editors and reporters to get things done. A longtime DC resident, J. Ford also just happens to be a veteran long-distance runner, currently training for his 23rd marathon...! Please join us in welcoming him.

Susan Glasser, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Bill Hamilton

Labels: ,


WSJ returns to six-column front page

Talking Biz News points out that the Wall Street Journal front page changed from a 5-column format back to a 6-column format this Monday:

The Wall Street Journal, which has had a five-column front since a redesign that was unveiled at the beginning of 2007, has returned to a six-column front page.

The change took effect on Monday.Wall Street Journal

Here is a statement from the paper:

"The Journal decided to add a sixth column to the front page to provide editors design flexibility and slightly increase the amount of real estate dedicated to the major stories of the day. The previous five-column paper wasn't as flexible and tended to limit the layout options available to editors.

"The decision to move to a six-column format is a change that has been given considerable thought since Marcus Brauchli took over as managing editor in April 2007.

"The 'What's News' feature will continue to be two columns in the new format -- Business and Finance, and World-Wide. The Journal will continue to provide its readers with art, graphs and charts as well as hedcuts in the new redesign. The front page ad unit will also remain intact."

Mario Garcia, the architect of the last two redesigns of The Wall Street Journal said this week's move was not unexpected:

"(T)his move... was always a subject of discussion, EVEN during our redesign workshops in 2006. I am not surprised, and I think they are doing a good job of implementing the type of front page that is active, energetic and that readers of today, used to busy home pages of online editions, like. Good move for the WSJ, for sure. I like the look and feel."

Labels: , , , ,


Xpress, the lead free tabloid in Dubai has the new Art Editor, Biplob Roy who joined the Al Nirs Media Group since 2003 and had worked in many sections and lead design position in the group will manage the design department of the successful tabloid in United Arab Emirates.
Biblob is married and have a beautiful daughter called Breenda Saha Roy, 5 years old, last year he participated in SND Boston workshop, for the first time and enjoyed the experience to share and meet new friends in the Congress.
He had a bachelor's degree from the University of Dhaka Bangladesh in Fine Arts. Before he was a lead designer from the magazine s group.
"I love to do creative work with the team to achieve the good reader ship and Xpress has all quality to do a great work ", says Biblob

Labels: , ,


Hot off the presses?
Fire sale on Amazon.com

The perfect Valentine's Day gift for that Pat's fan in your life...
Let your fingers do the shopping on Amazon.com!

Labels: , ,

Patriots Whacked!

Well as you know by now, for the second year in a row a member of the Manning family has ended the Patriots' season. The Blog has to think this year stings a bit more than last. Anyhoo, here are a few pages that caught The Blog's eye while perusing Newseum this morning. (Also, be sure to check out SportsDesigner for a look at online sites immediately following the end of the game last night.)

SuperBowl hosts The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic

The LA Times had a fantastic photo. That was the moment that the Patriots' historic run came to an end. Great find by the LAT photo staff.

The Globe had a great photo too. It was almost like you were watching the Giants strip history away from the Patriots.

Loved the photo Providence went with too. What a great contrast of sadness and celebration.

Anything we missed? Feel free to share some of your own favorites in the comments section.

Labels: , ,


SND names winners in first
annual book cover contest

Left: Jay Fletcher's winning soft-cover design.
Right: James Watts' winning hard-cover design.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but as plans crank up for the 29th annual SND creative competition (set to begin Feb. 9), the first ever competition to design the Society's book cover has been judged, and the winners are...

Jay Fletcher, a staff artist at The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC, is the big winner of the Society for News Design's first cover competition. Fletcher's cover will appear on SND's version of the 29th Edition of The Best of Newspaper Design. The winners' book will be available in early October and feature competition winners from the year 2007, according to C. Marshall Matlock, SND's Competition Committee director.

It took 11 judges three weeks to select SND's winner from the 42 covers entered.

In a separate review, Rockport Publishers, producers of the hardcover version of the book, selected a cover designed by James Watts, creative director of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

It took four weeks for SND judges to select the winning entry from the 42 covers entered. "When we first planned the competition we thought the judging could be done in a week," Matlock says, but the quality of the designs as well as the number of entries changed that. It took a month to get through the judges' discussions, according to Matlock.

The cover competition, the first for SND, will be continued at least through the 30th Edition book, Matlock says. "It's natural for the Competition Committee to have a cover competition," he says.

The Competition Committee received 42 entries. The next cover competition will be announced this summer in hopes that the winner or winners can be recognized at the Society's 30th anniversary Workshop and Exhibition, scheduled to take place in Las Vegas in September.

Fletcher has worked as an illustrator & designer at The Post and Courier since 2001. He grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the Columbus (Ohio) College of Art & Design in 2000. His first job out of college was at The Morning News, in Florence, S.C. He says he has recently "rediscovered painting with an actual brush." He admits his 6 x 6 inch pear "still leaves a lot to be desired."

Rockport winner Watts, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He says he is proud of the Awards of Excellence he won in the 27 and 28th Editions competitions.

Both winners will be recognized at SND Vegas, the Society's 2008 Las Vegas Workshop, Matlock says.

Winnie Prentiss, president of Rockport Publishers, said her staff was "impressed with the excellent concepts" the cover designers presented. Normally Rockport has its artists design its book covers but the entries were so good the publisher decided to change up this year and go with Watts' entry.

Getting to know Jay Fletcher:

Q: What was your inspiration?
I was originally thinking about what news artists & designers do, which is package information. Take information and present it in the prettiest way possible. So I wanted to do something bold and edgy where the whole idea centers around the "29," which is the information -- the news.

That's the sophisticated answer, anyway. Honestly, I came up with a pretty simple idea and just tried to make it look cool.

Q: Have you worked on any other wide-publication books before?
A: Nope. I've done a few dictionary covers for a local non-profit, but that's about it.

Q: What's your day job like?
My day to day job entails, mostly, illustrations for feature pages -- an average of two a week or so. I lay out the cover of our entertainment tab "Preview" every week as well, which usually ends up being a half-illustration, half-design sort of thing. After that, I'll pitch in with pages, logos, skyboxes, etc. Whatever's being kicked around that I can help with.

Q: Do you do other freelance illustration work?
Yes, I've actually been doing quite a bit of freelance lately. I used to do occasional magazine illustrations, but lately it's been more design oriented -- web and print stuff. I've got a site people can check out: jfletcherdesign.com, and they can get in touch with me through that, at jay (at) jfletcherdesign.com.

Labels: , , , ,

In Search of a Good Design

Some may argue Google's logo looks silly. Then again, so did most other things on the Internet in the mid-1990s.
"It was playful and deceptively simple. The design subtle as to look almost non-designed, the reading effortless. The colors evoke memories of child play, but deftly stray from the color wheel strictures so as to hint to the inherent element of serendipity creeping into any search results page and the irreverance and boldness of the “I am feeling lucky” link. The texture and shading of each letter is done in an unobtrusive way resulting in lifting it from the page while giving it both weight and lightness. It is solid but there is also an ethereal quality to it."

Ruth Kedar talks on the logic behind designing the call sign of the Mountain View giant.

Labels: , , , ,


2008 Quick Course trainers revealed

The trainers for SND's new slate of hands-on Quick Courses are set. They're coming to a location near you.

April 12-13: San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California
October (date TBA): Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
November 14-15: Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

LEN DE GROOT is the Graphics Director at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where 3D is an every day tool for print, multimedia and television. He's taught Lightwave since 2004 with SND and for individual newspapers. He is also a moderator for newsartists.org, a web site for visual journalists.

STEVE WILSON is a longtime Mac/Computer Geek and Senior Artist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. For over 15 years, Steve has been using 3D programs and incorporating their use into his graphics and illustrations. He is also a moderator for newsartists.org, writing tutorials for 3D programs like Lightwave and Poser.

March 15-16: Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 16-17: Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

STEPHANIE GRACE LIM is a photo-illustrating design machine. With over 150 professional awards, she has been nationally recognized for her photography, illustrations and design. Stephanie is Principal Creative Designer at PayPal, and was formerly Features Design Director at the Mercury News. Among them, acclaim from Nikon, Society for News Design, National Press Photographers Association, California, North Carolina & Michigan Press Photographers Associations, Associated Press, National Headliner Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. She's also been a hip-hop dance teacher, taiko drummer, and creativity speaker.

JOHN TELFORD has worked as a graphic artist, designer, presentation editor, creative director and project team leader at various newspapers and advertising agencies over the past 17 years. His work has appeared in projects for Time, the National Geographic Society, the Ford Motor Company, GlaxoSmithKline, America West Airlines, Sprint and Chevron. A native Floridian and University of Florida graduate, he's been enjoying the exotic midwest while working as a graphic artist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for the last seven years.

March 15-16: Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 16-17: Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
June 7-8: Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky

MARTIN GEE is a features designer and illustrator at the San Jose Mercury News. His work has been featured in publications such as The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, City Pages, OC Weekly, Urb, ATM (UK), BPM, XLR8R, Remix, Rinse, UR Chicago, "Digital Xposure" from Hearst Books and Tracy Collins' creativity article and presentation for SND. He previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, House of Blues' corporate home office in Hollywood, and The Orange County Register. His work has been recognized numerous times by the Society for News Design and Print magazine.

LAYNE SMITH is the Graphics and Multimedia Director for The Dallas Morning News and a founding member of the News Artists' Organization. Layne has been using Illustrator and Photoshop almost daily since he was a young buck back in college 15 years ago. He started in Dallas as a night staff artist grinding out buckets full of charts and locator maps. His work has been seen in Abilene, Texas and throughout the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. He has almost won some pretty big awards and has taught at a few Poynter and SND events. He loves to share what he knows and is looking forward to teaching you some Photoshop and Illustrator.

January 18-19: The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Florida
March 1-2: Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario
March 29-30: Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, John Seigenthaler Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
July 12-13: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

JOSH AWTRY's work on non-traditional storytelling has been featured at SND workshops and Quick Courses, and as a Poynter.org centerpiece. He advocates a Readership Institute-style approach to utility and content layering and specializes in working with reporters, copy editors and "non-visual" journalists to enhance their styles and reflect changing readership. He currently supervises more than 40 copy editors, photographers, designers and artists as the Assistant Managing Editor for Presentation at The Salt lake Tribune. He previously managed visual journalists at The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and The Independent in Grand Island, Neb.

STEPHEN KOMIVES appreciates "charticles" as much as anyone, but thinks the conversation about alternative story forms needs to extend beyond that term. As news design editor at the Orlando Sentinel, he's doing everything in his power to encourage, raise awareness of and demystify the process of telling stories in non-traditional ways. He has taught at several SND workshops and quick courses and numerous student journalism workshops, as well as at the Poynter Institute, and has served as a judge at the SND annual competition and the Malofiej infographics contest.

DENISE M. REAGAN has been making connections between words and pictures since she entered the news design field 18 years ago. She is the Assistant Managing Editor/Visuals at The Florida Times-Union. She has designed and art directed pages at The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind.; the Detroit Free Press; the Star Tribune in Minneapolis; the Savannah Morning News; and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. She has been a judge for SND's creative competition as well as a judge of the SND.ies Web design contest. She offers training at SND Quick Courses, the Poynter Institute and other journalism gatherings on all areas of visual journalism.

January 18-19: Cerritos College, Cerritos, California
June 20-21: University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri

DOUG ENGLE is multimedia editor at the Ocala Star-Banner in Ocala, Fla., and produces SBTV, the organization's online news feed. He has more than a decade of experience as a photographer and photo director, and was among the first multimedia specialists to cover the war in Afghanistan. He coordinates training at the Star-Banner for reporters and photographers in audio and video reporting, and has taught multimedia workshops.

REGINA McCOMBS is the senior producer for multimedia at StarTribune.com in Minneapolis-St. Paul. She arrived there after 13 years as a producer and photographer at KARE-TV, the NPPA-winning powerhouse in the Twin Cities. Winner of numerous Best of Photojournalism and Pictures of the Year International awards for multimedia storytelling, and an Emmy for her videography, she is a regular speaker around the country. For StarTribune.com, she coordinates the multimedia team’s coverage, shoots and edits video stories, creates audio slide shows, produces major projects and trains staff. She’s also taught classes in online journalism and TV news at the University of Minnesota, where she earned her master's degree.

And returning for another year . . .
February 1-2: Beginner & Intermediate, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
March 14-15: Beginner, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

R. SCOTT HORNER, Multimedia Director for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, manages production for the paper's video and highly-interactive and informationally-rich content. The award-winning designer has been producing print informational graphics since the late '80s and has been producing for the Web since 1995. Horner has a degree in graphic design from the University of Central Florida with minors in journalism and business. He is a 2007 John S. Knight Fellow and recipient of the Anton Majeri Award for Innovation and Leadership in Graphic Journalism. Recognized as a pioneer in interactive informational graphics, Horner has given lectures to national and international groups on the subject.

DON WITTEKIND is an assistant professor in the visual communication sequence at the University of North Carolina. Before turning to teaching, he spent 10 years as informational graphics director at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where he led the creation of the first newspaper-based multimedia graphics department. Under his direction, the Sun-Sentinel created its first interactive project in December of 1996 and continued as an industry leader throughout his tenure. Wittekind's work has been honored with top honors by the Newspaper Association of America, Editor & Publisher, the Online News Association and the SND.ies. His professional activities are centered on Swarm Interactive, a company he co-founded in 1998. Swarm's main focus is medical animation and web design, as well as multimedia production for companies such as the Discovery Channel.

Stay tuned for more speaker announcements for the Small Papers Summit and Infographics Summit.

Labels: ,