The view from London: Three days before the Games, city and its newsrooms are abuzz

This week, we Brits are waiting for our third and final injection of happiness. Two days after Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France, the sun is finally shining and the capital is hot. With 3 days to go, most Londoners are now giddy. Although in most newsrooms across the city, designers, developers and the odd director are now going gaga.

I’ve not had much time to read the weekend papers, I am however only too aware that the quality daily and Sunday newspapers have published any number of Olympic pull-outs and special sections, but have been reliant on my iPad to keep in touch with the latest “sporting guides” and “where to eat the finest heptathlon pizza.”

And what a treat. On July 22, The Sunday Times published a fantastic magazine. The print magazine was designed by Scott Moore, and the development team remodelled Moore’s print efforts for the iPad edition. What an effortless journey, very much the opposite of trying to navigate the current traffic situation on approaching London.

I’ve had my Michael Douglas moment as “William Foster” in the film Falling Down. Although I didn’t leave the car, I dearly wanted to join the natives sunbathing in Hyde Park and the foreigners merrily paying homage to the local ale.

Back to reality. I don’t know about you, but I love motion graphics. The New York Times have produced the breathtaking with their hurdles interactive, but here in GB the ST have also produced some real quality. As you can see with the slides above, the graphics are clean and modern, and only show what you need to know. I’ve not noticed the Sunday Times produce graphics on a white background for some time, but this technique really helps lift the information from the page.

Take this spread from the magazine, using simple, harmonious tones the content is designed for one purpose – to be read, enjoyed and understood. With so much interesting information, the journey doesn’t at all seem like a slog.

From the “touchable” guide to Usain Bolt’s explosive start, to the “make Tom Daley dive” 3d interactive animation, I’ve seen more movement in these three examples than watching 9.5 seconds of Justin Gatlin’s forearm in the dash. And it is these new technical abilities and our need to design “for eyes and fingers” which will herald a new and wonderful era for our audience and readers.

But with all this creativity and bursts of editorial energy, please beware of the Eye of Sauron when using the Olympic Rings in editorial – in print and online. LOCOG – the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games are on the ball, and will not countenance any use of the logo, or any artistic variation of such like. You can read it here. Nothing much gets by these Lords of the Rings…

Michael Agar is the SND regional director for the city of London, and for the entire UK.

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