World’s Best: Politiken

Politiken, Copenhagen, Denmark

Politiken, Copenhagen, Denmark

Cir. 100,000 daily, 140,000 weekend

Judges’ Statement

Politiken, Denmark’s second-largest morning newspaper, has a long history of excellence and an intensely loyal readership. Its mission is to engage ordinary people in societal issues.

Published for 127 years, Politiken launched a redesign in December 2011 to appeal to readers in a fresh and modern way with the goals of improved navigation and usability. It has succeeded.

The fresh approach is evident in the wrap page that appeared the first day of the redesign. Hand-drawn by one of the paper’s illustrators to guide readers through the paper’s changes, this whimsical page immediately sets the tone for the new look: sophisticated, enticing, bold, risky.

Each front page has an atypical visual approach or solution – from documentary photojournalism to caricature. Great attention has been given to type decisions, even down to the smallest details. Extra white space above and below headlines, body text and leading choices for optimum readability indicate the reader experience comes first.  The simplicity of the byline styles and columnist sigs adds to the paper’s elegant visage.

Politiken prides itself on the space given to opinion pages as one of the paper’s engagement tools. Pages are full of multiple entry points and provocative illustrative work. Color is used to step readers through stories and columns.

There is a thoughtfulness to the cropping and editing of photographs with designers using full width of pages for impact. Oftentimes, we turned pages to find an unexpected and delightful grouping of photographs or illustrations, as seen in a story about a young entrepreneur who had to restart a career after an illness.

Politiken is a model for the power of visual consistency throughout a newspaper. A previous winner in this category, Politiken again deservedly joins the ranks of World’s Best.

The Judges:

Bill Gaspard, China Daily, Beijing
Scott Goldman, The Indianapolis Star and
Rhonda Prast, Missouri School of Journalism
Bob Unger, The Standard-Times, New Bedford, Mass.

(Note: Søren Nyeland of Politiken was excluded from discussion and did not vote on this entry.)

About Lee Steele

is design editor of the Hearst Connecticut Newspapers and 2015 president of the Society for News Design.


Such restraint. Effective management of the pages, from covers to deep inside. Beautiful illustration. Strong typography. Cheers to Søren Nyeland and the rest of the Politiken crew. Impressive work.

Love it, love it, love it. I’d actually pay to work on a daily like Politiken in Italy.

Both elegant and bold, so balanced in feminine and masculine elements. I love it!

Matt Mansfield summed it well: impressive work. Absolutely love the page featuring the different wine bottle stoppers. All five newspapers chosen for “World’s Best” are excellent examples of what a good illustrator can do for a publication. Unfortunately, most newspaper owners and managers, especially in smaller markets, eliminate graphic designers and illustrators first from their bottom lines. My opinion as an editor: Writer, photographer, page designer, editor, AND illustrator should always be part of the core group of publication personnel.

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