SND Digital 2016-17: Seven short-listed for World’s Best

The Society for News Design has announced seven finalists for the award of World’s Best Designed Digital News experience. Each is wildly different in their focuses but share an overriding commitment to visual storytelling. The best of examples of their visual storytelling and overall product design move viewers emotionally. The finalists’ attention to detail and most of all to crafting sublime user experiences are what set them apart.

The World’s Best judging team considered hundreds of publications from around the world (listed in alphabetical order by last name) *

  • Kat Downs, The Washington Post
  • Martin Kotynek, Zeit Online
  • Marianna Santos, formerly of Fusion
  • Jessica Yu, formerly of The Wall Street Journal

And this team chose these seven nominees because they were exceptional in all, or most of the following criteria:

  • Meet their audience where they are
  • Engage their communities
  • Have a clear focus
  • Create gorgeous and useful experiences
  • Respect users and solve their problems
  • Demonstrate sound judgment
  • Be ambitious, daring and audacious

And these are the finalists (listed in alphabetical order). Please join us in Charlotte for the announcement of the winner:

The Finalists 

The Guardian

The Guardian has a distinctive personality and as a brand it infuses everything they do. The Guardian’s work this year spanned multiple platforms and a wide range of subjects all the while demonstrating also demonstrated a consistent knack for creating surprising and delightful experiences.

The Intercept

The Intercept is a well-developed brand identity — elegant use of color, typography, and an easy-to-navigate site with delightful touches, like the blinking underscore in their logo that is used throughout their designs. Smart interfaces like their document annotation, podcast hub, and a beautifully implemented infinite scroll (especially on parts of a series) make it a compelling experience that expertly communicates the intent and purpose of the endeavor.

National Geographic

National Geographic features a defining, bold design approach. Visuals are core to their storytelling, and it consistently comes through in all of their experiences, making it stand out from its peers. Use of photography and information graphics is stellar. They consistently delight, surprise and create unique approaches to their main coverage areas.

The New York Times

The New York Times continues to excel not only in their core products but in their newest media extensions. The Times has dynamic and differentiated designs. With its conservative homepage, the Times defines trust and sound news judgment. And the products beyond the homepage are infused with innovation and deliver The Times’ storytelling in the best possible ways.

The Outline

The Outline uses a provocative design, which shows the courage of trying something new that actually works. It is not just gimmickry but rather is a deliberate functional discovery platform well suited for the needs of today’s millennials. It is not trying to adapt to the next generation of consumers but rather inventing a product for them. This is an “authentic” pure digital experience.


Quartz has a dynamic range of products from their excellent newsletters, push notifications to their mobile site and chat app. Quartz continuously shows that simple, thoughtful changes to traditional storytelling methods amount to significantly distinctive, new approaches to publishing. You can do it differently. They clearly understand what their readers need and know how best to deliver it.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post raised the bar on what news organizations are able to achieve to meet users where they are. They are present on every relevant platform; they manage to keep their brand identity consistent over these channels. The Washington Post’s experiments with storytelling on Amazon’s Alexa, Virtual Reality, and Progressive Web Apps are bold; their interactive features continue to be among the best in our industry.


* The Judges did not discuss or vote on publications they are associated with currently or in the recent past.

About Jeremy Gilbert

As Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Washington Post, Jeremy works to identify, create, and execute new digital products and storytelling experiences. Before joining the Post he helped National Geographic develop and deploy it's digital strategy and was an associate professor teaching media product design, interactive storytelling, web and print design tools and techniques for Medill and the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University. He also served in the Medill administration as the Director of Technology and Space Design. Previously Jeremy led The Poynter Institute in rethinking and redesigning its industry leading website and served as an art director at a couple of newspapers.

Leave a Reply