Here’s the cut: SND37 World’s Best competition 13 Finalists

UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 15 – 2:45 p.m. (EST)

We now have a short list of 13 finalists for the World’s Best competition. From 200 publications to choose from, here is your update, in alphabetical order with comments from the judges:

Aamulehti (Finland)

There’s a wittiness throughout. It’s a delicate thing to hit, but they do it very well. Some fun and humor make it feel almost like a magazine. The pacing is wonderful. You’re constantly interrupted with single pages, then spreads, then vignettes and small details. Playful and serious while maintaining the delicate balance. The covers are striking. This paper feels friendly and approachable.

Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)

The strong use of consistent typography anchors the publication throughout. The pacing and grid interact with each other — changing up column measures to reflect the tone of content. It treats all the various news subjects in the appropriate manner and juxtaposes elegantly with a fresh approach to features.

De Morgen (Belgium)

It has a wide variety of solutions: infographics, typography, illustration. Even for a berliner, it has nice white space — The Paris spreads are consistent and a strong example of that. What struck us was the rhythm and flow throughout the paper. There were valleys and mountains, a solid pace with the ability to surprise, as well. The paper’s ability to drop in single pages within dense flows of pages helps adjust the rhythm. There’s a restrained intelligence throughout with strong, bold lines. The whole paper has such a confident consistency.

Die Zeit (Germany)

Sophisticated and clever while taking risks in unusual ways — It weaves the reader through a narrative and surprises them on many turns. There’s a strong and robust design direction throughout, with each part complementing each other intelligently. It doesn’t fail to surprise and delight you on so many levels. You can tell quickly what the stories are about. It’s a joy to read. But it’s humble, not boastful or loud. It makes you smirk and smile as you navigate the pages. It proves that you don’t need to shout to take risks. Remarkable details that are so creatively intelligent.

The Globe and Mail (Canada)

This one is remarkably consistent, all the way through. It combines the best of North American and European sensibilities, it brings them both together in an interesting way. Refined and elegant at the same time. It’s restrained in all the right places and provides space even in tight quarters. Its freshness is striking. The cover isn’t shouting, it’s useful, there’s a real intelligence about it. You feel clever and smart reading it.

The Guardian (U.K.)

It’s like a beautiful matryoshka doll — so many layers. The variety is surprising and impressive. Not just news or features or special sections, every page on every day. So inviting … bold while friendly. The pacing is intelligent and balanced. Nice use of the grid, a strong foundation, injecting white space where needed. From beginning to end, there is thought and attention to detail without restraint. 

The Independent (U.K.)

The covers stood out for us: bold, creative, courageous. The typography is stunning, and the grid is a strong foundation for all the work. It helps to keep the flow and sustain interest. The white channels on pages provide some relief but are also utilized to help punctuate stories — there’s room to breathe with purpose. The paper has a serious, authoritative tone but with a restrained elegance. 

La Nacion (Argentina)

This is one of the most beautifully consistent papers we saw. It doesn’t shout. We often look for surprises, and this paper may not always have them, but the consistency of its elegance take it to a whole new level. There are several intelligent ways of storytelling, all with great supporting details. There are moments of color and a hit of energy when you fall upon the election graphics. Its presentation is pure — and in that, it’s also comforting. It knows its place and its audience. 

The National Post (Canada)

What a joy, like opening a gift. So many different formats and variety. It’s surprising on every turn. The typography is coherent and elegant. Even with indispersed black and white pages, the typographic palette helps to add color. The whole package complements each other. There are times when there are no words needed, the pictures say it all. Very emotional paper, peppered with fun and engaging packages. 

The New York Times (United States)

The sheer volume and vastness is striking. Consistent art and creative direction can be felt on every page you touch. The covers and openers all have vitality, it’s a rewarding reader experience. Each section is a treat — so sophisticated and plentiful while being timeless. It toggles elegant type with bold photo and illustration choices. You want to pick up every piece and read it deeply. It’s engaging and welcoming. It’s established but still takes risks and pushes the readers.

Politiken (Denmark)

Bold, beautiful and brave, that’s the easiest way to describe what we love about this publication. There’s a spirit, an energy on every page. It’s so well edited and under control while still feeling free. They know when to turn up the volume and when to turn it down. You can immediately get the sense of their tone, voice and purpose.

The Washington Post (United States)

It feels like a smart friend who’s comfortable with its audience. It knows precisely when to allow people to sit back and read. There’s a fair mix between large imagery and deep writing. Strong section covers pull you in. The sections are all sympathetic to each other, they’re each authoritative in their own styles and voices. Incredibly strong photo editing. A plethora of  content with the ability to maintain an impressive consistency throughout.

Welt am Sonntag (Germany)

It’s a smart and refined newspaper — there’s a subtlety that allows the content to come forward. Strong pictures and intelligent cropping complemented by scale and contrast. It’s a big format, but they’re not scared to use the space. The art direction is apparent throughout, every illustration feels appropriate for the paper. Smart typography draws you around the page. The almost unforgiving drop caps are a clear sight point, you know where to go next.

Judges look through five full editions of the entered publications.
Judges look through five full editions of the entered publications.


UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 15 – 11:14 p.m. (EST)
The World’s Best judges started deliberations with more than 200 publications to choose from, and heading into Monday have narrowed it down to the following 40 publications:

Aamulehti (Finland)
Bergens Tidende (Norway)
Boston Globe
Clarin (Argentina)
El Colombiano
Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
Die Welt (Germany)
Die Zeit (Germany)
The Economic Observer (China)
Expresso (Portugal)
The Guardian (U.K.)
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Handelsblatt (Germany)
Helsingin Sanomat (Finland)
Karjalainen (Finland)
The Independent (U.K.)
The Independent on Sunday (U.K.)
Les Affaires (France)
Mitt i Stockholm (Sweden)
De Morgen (Belgium)
El Mundo (Spain)
La Nacion (Argentina)
The National (U.A.E.)
National Post (Canada)
The New York Times
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
The Post and Courier (S.C.)
Politiken (Denmark)
El Comercio (Lima, Peru)
Publico (Lisbon, Portugal)
The Straits Times (Singapore)
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
The Villages Daily Sun (Fla.)
Times of Oman
Today’s Zaman (Turkey)
Washington Post
Welt am Sonntag Kompakt (Germany)
Welt am Sonntag (Germany)
Zero Hora (Brazil)

What will happen next? Tune in tomorrow to find out.


Update: Saturday, February 13, 2016

The judges for SND37 have begun judging for the designation of World’s Best Designed. More than 200 entries from around the world are represented.

“All the judges are hard at work in the first round, enthusiastically poring over entries from around the world,” said Colin Smith, captain of the team. “The judges are an incredibly diverse team who are getting along fantastically. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

The five judges will look closely at pages from each entered publication and winnow the field down in a grueling process to what they deem are the World’s Best Designed.

After whittling down hundreds of entries down to just around 40 in one day, the World’s Best judges sat down to talk emerging trends (or the lack of any), the diversity in entries and what they’d be doing on Valentine’s Day if they weren’t trapped in a room with newspapers.

SND: Have you guys seen any trends emerging so far?

Haika Hinze (Die Zeit): It’s too early to notice any trends! Wouldn’t you guys say?

Chris Clarke (The Guardian): Yeah, I guess you can say there have been a lot of familiar links, though. Not by region, per se, but lots of papers have similar tones and design vernaculars.

Adonis Durado (Times of Oman): I will say there are some papers that look very similar, like Scandenavian papers – German, too! You could just switch out the nameplate and not notice any differences.

CC: Yeah, the Scandinavian papers looks Scandinavian.

Genevieve Biloski (The National Post): South American papers, too. They have so much life, where these papers come from really have a formula for how they look.

AD: It’s going to be quite difficult to decide on the winners because of that!

SND: If you had to describe the entries in a couple of words, what would they be?

HH: A lot! Three words, A-L-OT, haha.

CC: I want to say diverse, especially from what we’ve seen from smaller papers and places that are maybe constrained by their size.

HH: Oh totally. It’s interesting to see what papers are giving to their particular audience.

AD: I don’t know! For me, it’s just still so early to be able to describe them all as a group.

CC: I mean, some of these smaller papers have fewer resources and all these constraints and to see what they’re doing with what they have is really incredible.

Brian Gross (The Washington Post): I just think it’s just such a privilege to look at all these papers from around the world. To hold them in your hands and look at them, it’s pretty amazing.

CC: Oh yeah, there’s absolutely so much I’ve seen from around the world that I want to keep and I’m just so surprised by.

SND:  If you weren’t here, what would you be doing on Valentine’s Day? Oh, and what’s your best pickup line?

GB: I’ve been with the same guy for 20 years so I have no pickup lines, I have no game! Maybe I’d be hanging out with my kids, enjoying some treats with them.

AD: I’d hug my wife very tight! It’s just so cold here, haha.

CC: I don’t think we have pickup lines in Britain. And the accent doesn’t really work outside of the States, haha. I don’t know what I’d be doing, I did do a quick drawing this morning. If you want, you can show it from my Instagram and that will be my Valentine’s Day gift to everyone.

HH: I’d be sleeping! We don’t have Valentine’s Day in Germany, haha.

BG: I actually bought some tickets to go to a show for my wife a couple months ago, not realizing I’d be here, haha. She’s seen the weather up here so I don’t think she’s too mad.

AD: Oh, wait, I do have a pickup line! Ready?

SND: Let’s hear it.

AD: Are you the Revenant? Because it looks like you need a bear hug.


(Chris’s Valentine’s Day gift to everyone.)


– By Luis Rendon, photos by Becky Markovitz



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Worlds Best Competition Judging


About Sara Quinn

is principle of Sara Quinn Media, the R.M Seaton Chair for Professional Journalism at Kansas State University, and immediate past president of SND.

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