SND34 World’s Best: Die Zeit


Die Zeit, Hamburg, Germany

The judges wrote:

Die Zeit is a weekly newspaper that makes you feel smarter just by looking at it.

It’s deep, calm and elegant — but not cold and distant. Die Zeit has gravitas and authority, but it can be playful and full of personality.

An intellectual paper that is also popular with students, Die Zeit sets up in-depth discussions on current topics. It seems to tell readers, “You’ve seen this blur of news on TV, the Internet and even other newspapers, now let’s sit down and talk about what it means.” It engages you to reconsider new ideas and explore context.

Die Zeit doesn’t hide the kind of publication it is, with lengthy articles on covers that don’t try be everything to everyone.

The publication has mastered the use of white space like no other. It organizes content, frames important elements, and brings visuals forward with sophisticated simplicity.

Unnecessary entry points and tidbits are absent. The staff doesn’t waste energy on gimmicks; instead, they use that energy to engage readers with spare, naked content that stands by itself and always surprises with creative solutions. It takes courage and deep editing skills to deliver this successfully – and Die Zeit does it page after page.

Superbly edited, high-quality photos work together, adding up to a sum greater than the pieces. The pages contain gentle visual connections between elements, creating relationships and telling stories.

Brilliant conceptual illustrations are part of the newspaper’s DNA. Small graphics and pictograms ­­are used judiciously and always add value.

Die Zeit takes the ads into account and works with them to create well-designed pages.

There is no average page in this newspaper; every one looks like it was thought out, hand-sketched and carefully custom-crafted. Each page is beautiful as an object in itself, and on top of that you get a sense of the depth of the content.

Despite winning numerous World’s Best-Designed ™ Newspaper awards (1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004), Die Zeit does not rest on its laurels. The staff attacks each issue and each topic with fresh ideas.

See pages from the winning entry in this slideshow

About Lee Steele

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

Leave a Reply