GOLD: 60th anniversary of China in 60 panels of illustration

We’re deep into Day Two of the 31st Best of News Design™ Competition. The original judging teams have worked through their primary assignments and have now been recombined to create a new graphics team. The new magazine categories are getting their first close look on the judging tables (also known as the killing fields) and the Winner-meter™ has been busy keeping up with the now steady stream of nearly 450 awards of excellence, 26 silver medals and now — ta-da — our third gold medal (and we suspect the first-ever for a Chinese newspaper).

Congratulations to the Chinese Business Morning View, and especially to illustrator Jing Ma.

9. Special coverage / single subject

GOLD
Chinese Business Morning View (Shenyang, China)

For the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Business Morning View of Shenyang, China, undertook an epic concept: they published an interconnecting illustrated panel every day celebrating some aspect of their history and culture — for 2 entire months. That’s 60 installments. The panels are reminiscent of traditional Chinese paintings in their style and in their very shape. They tell a story in a visual timeline form, descending from the top to the bottom of each panel. The panels themselves connect and continue horizontally day-to-day, forming a single continuous landscape. And they were drawn by a single artist — illustrator Jing Ma (working with design director Fang Fang).

The judges thought the work took an interesting leap of faith. To do this every day for 2 months and then trust that your readers are going to track it and assemble it in some cases, is epic. It’s done by one illustrator and it’s gorgeous. And there’s rich meaning behind it. They’re showcasing their people and their culture in such a compelling and unique way.

Your natural instinct would be to do the timeline left to right but they’ve woven it into each panel vertically. They’ve done so much work and you get so much more out of it as a result. It’s as much like a puzzle as a mural, more like a tapestry. It connects in two different dimensions

The panels are reminiscent of Chinese scrolls. The judges said they’ve seen the these additive panels before but never like this — over 60 days!

The judges thought it was an effective way to get the readers involved in the publications too: you can start at any point in the series and it still makes sense. Each individual piece is a complete unit, but they fit within a larger context too. You can’t do this kind of thing with anything else but a daily newspaper, the judges said. If we were teachers we’d put these panels up in our classroom — not just to teach history, but it also encourages people to read. It’s a rich alternative form of telling a story.