Designing as a team at The Times of London

This afternoon Jon Hill of The Times of London presented “Total Design: How the Times Of London Creates Across Platforms.”

Here are five key takeaways from his talk:

1. Mix up your team’s skills for your big stories — mix news designers with layout and graphics. Everyone in the building should work on some digital. Also everyone is a designer, there is no discrimination between digital and print.

Jon-Hill2. The big thrill is working across different platforms. Jon feels he is in a privileged position to be able to report on the biggest events in the world. Do not underestimate the power of these opportunities; it drive passion and excitement for your work. In big news stories don’t be afraid to play with infographics. For example after the death of Michael Jackson, in The Times’ story, they formed a family tree in Michael Jacksons’ afro.

3. Print has a new value: It is a souvenir. It is great working for an old newspaper such as The Times because they have a huge amount of archives to reflect on and utilize. “Use your archives; it costs nothing.”

4. Whether it is a newspaper, website, or iPad, all publications should have the same look and the readers’ experience should be the same. As Jon says, “It is the wine, not the bottle.” Readers pay one subscription price, so all media vehicles should have same philosophy and brand feeling. The Times should feel familiar to the reader in all categories. Digital editions of The Times have revolutionized their journalism: we can see things in real time and it is a responsive medium. Digital is a “user journey.”

5. Hire new blood as if you are a design studio, not a newspaper. It pays to hire design staff outside of just the paper industry such as freelance or ad agencies. They bring new experiences, capabilities, and outlook. On that note, the same design team has the capabilities to do it all in terms of designing both the print and digital editions. Jon claims that all it takes is passion, and beer.”

His parting words were, “It’s our job to create the right environment for good design to succeed.”