Art Director for enterprise and project
The New York Times
What is your current job title and how long have you held it?
Art director for enterprise and projects since November 2015, when The Times started its in-house print hub. Previously, I was an art director in The Times’ sports department for one more season than Derek Jeter, who worked for the Yankees from 1995-2014.
What do you love about working in print design?
Call me Old School (well, I am), because I still love reading the newspaper on paper and don’t mind getting my hands covered in ink. I also find it fascinating to observe people reading the newspaper on the subway or bus. You can say to yourself, “Hey, I know who designed that page!” In print, the designer has greater freedom to use scale in typography, photography and space to create and control the visual hierarchy for the reader. When a story appears in print, it seems more of a permanent record of an event, and to be a part of that record, is pretty cool. Hopefully, the reports of print’s death are greatly exaggerated.
Who in your newsroom do you enjoy collaborating with?
Anyone who can teach me something new about anything. During my career, I have had the luxury of working with people who are talented, creative and funny. Beginning at the Port Huron Times Herald to the Detroit Free Press and on to The New York Times, I have found the colleagues around me who inspire, and have taken the time to listen and learn from them.
What is the most challenging project you worked on in the last year?
The Pano-8, which is an eight-page section that has a four-page panoramic foldout. Along with Fred Bierman, who also designs enterprise and projects, we were asked to create sections that integrated editorial content into what had been only been used for advertising. We designed three section – Summer Olympics, Thanksgiving (left) and Election. Working with newsroom technology, press production and advertising proved to be the most challenging aspect because it was a new product. We did learn that all of the people we communicated with, though, were equally vested in attaining high quality in the project. For instance, the staff at the printing plant was very excited about the unique process. Ultimately, the sections provided our print subscribers a real treat, and the 44-inch wide format allowed us to enhance the content of photography, illustrations and maps.
What is most important step in your design process?
Planning, which comes first, is important. But, in the end, if you’re the designer, it’s sweating the details that count. Sloppy design diminishes the content.
What is your favorite piece in your portfolio from this year?
Ali. That cover/section was a labor of love, and one I had been thinking about for years. Carl Nelson, my incomparable night sports editor for 20 years, would often ask as I left for the evening: “You have that Ali advance obit done?” Nervously, I would answer, “Of course.” Fittingly, the breaking-news coverage and the special commemorative section would be one of last – and most rewarding – projects that I worked on with Carl, who retired a couple months later.
What does it take to do great print design? Former SND Competition Coordinator Andrea Zagata set out to find tips and tricks from the winners. Check SND.org every week for interviews with the best of the best!