No. 5: Print news design thrives around the world

Some great news for print

The news was bad for struggling papers in the United States and Canada, but the global view on print was markedly different. In fact, newspapers are thriving around the world.

“It’s a renaissance for design in some places,” said Gayle Grin, the Society’s president. “You see the beautiful work that these papers are doing, and you know that (design) still has amazing power. It’s truly inspirational.”

As part of her mission to reach out to SND’s global membership, Grin traveled the world this year to meet designers who are making a difference. She made stops in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Moscow, and Shanghai in 2008.

A new chapter in China

The Society established SND-Chinese earlier this year to help fill the growing thirst for news design in China. The chapter is now headed by Lily Lu and was started by Alan Jin.

The first major event the Society hosted with emerging Chinese visual journalists focused on how to visually present the Beijing Olympics. Chris Courtney, from Red Eye, and Greg Manifold, from The Washington Post, joined Grin at the workshop to share ideas and best practices for covering such a major event.

“It was so exciting to have open paths of communication and interaction between visual journalists on this international level,” Grin said.

Growth around the globe

Earlier this year, BusinessWeek wrote about how German newspapers are bucking the trend.

Staunchly gray Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung risked alienating readers by printing color photos on the front page and launched a sassy Sunday edition. The measures helped stop a slide in readership. Die Welt created a tabloid edition that helped lure younger readers. And the papers dared to raise prices. Even Bild, aimed at a working-class audience, in July boosted its newsstand price by 20%, to about 90 cents in most markets. The hikes, along with digital revenue, helped offset the loss in ads.

According to figures released this year by the World Association of Newspapers, Germany is not alone: Newspaper sales in Brazil increased by some 12% last year. Over the past five years, circulation has gone up by more than 22%.

Seven of the 10 best-selling daily newspapers in the world are in Asia. The five biggest markets for newspapers are: China (98.7 million copies sold daily), India (88.9 million), Japan (69.1 million), the U.S. (52.3 million), and Germany (21.1 million), according to the WAN report.

The growth trend is also continuing in papers committed to using design thinking as part of their overall strategy.

In the United Arab Emirates, there’s a new start-up paper in Abu Dhabi that uses bold design: The National. The English-language daily published its first issue on April 17.

In Dubai, The Gulf News continues to do beautiful presentation, winning more and more Best of Newspaper Design™ awards for its stunning work. (Check out the work of Douglas Okasaki for an example.)

In fact, The Society’s Best of Newspaper Design™ competition saw a record number of entries from outside North America last year.

And there are more and more successes in other places.

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2008: The Year in News Design

Matt Mansfield is vice president of the Society and an associate professor for the Medill School of Journalism.