Meet the man behind the SND32 cover

Copies of the 32nd annual Best of News Design book are being shipped to members next week (but a small selection will be available for sale at the workshop in St. Louis this weekend). The cover was designed by Adonis Durado, design director of the Times of Oman & Al Shabiba in Muscat, Oman. His entry was chosen from a field of more than 30 candidates in this year’s cover competition.

Adonis studied fine arts at the University of San Carlos (Cebu City, Philippines), and his visual leadership at the Times of Oamn & Al Shabiba resulted in an astounding 45 awards for those publications in the 32nd edition. He’s put his stamp on a number of newspapers and magazines in the Middle East and Asia, and writes poetry on the side.

I asked Adonis how his cover concept came together.

SND: How long did it take you to do the design?
I did the design in two days. I had two concepts in mind and explored both. I was quite happy with the result and decided to submit the two.

SND: How many variations did you go through?
I only did one version, but I had my entry resubmitted when the official announcement of SND winners came in. I got few figures wrong so I had them corrected.

SND: Did you do any sketches of the others?
Yes. It’s my habit to do sketches before I design. I believe that sketching is a form of visual brainstorming.

SND: How did you decide on the typography and color use?
In this design, I decided to go minimal — two typefaces, two colors. I employed Whitman (designed by Kent Lew) as my main text, and chose Ingeborg Block (by Michael Hochleitner) as my nameplate. Whitman is strikingly beautiful typeface with uber-gorgeous numeric characters — which fits well to my need. And I used red and black colors for what I think is the most potent of all colors.

SND: Tell me a little about yourself.
I am a bigamist. My career is a product of my affairs with advertising and publication design. Back in the Philippines, I used to juggle two jobs just to make ends meet – art directing for an ad agency by day and doing part-time job for a newspaper by evening.

I’ve worked and helped launch more than a dozen of magazine and newspaper titles in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, working under the wings of international publication consultants – Mario Garcia, Juan Antonio Giner and Peter Ong.

Prior to my current post, I was the group creative director of a publishing company that produces American retail magazines and whose production office is in Bangkok, Thailand. Between 2005 and 2008, I worked in Dubai, UAE as the design editor for a free weekly tabloid, then as news presentation director of a business daily.

When not designing or illustrating, I venture into my other passion: poetry. I published two books of poems in my native language (Cebuano) and currently working on my third. If I remember it right, when I was still a student, I purchased my first computer from the prize that I won from a national poetry competition. That machine was instrumental in honing my skill as a designer.

Work sample:

About Stephen Komives

Previously served as Executive Director of the Society for News Design, from 2009–2019.

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