Five judges of the Worlds Best Designed™ Newspaper competition narrowed down more than 100 entries to 10 finalists over three days of deliberations in St. Petersburg.
Steve Dorsey, Javier Errea, Bill Gaspard, Suzette Moyer and Shazna Nessa first defined a shared vision and framework before paging through multiple sections from each newspaper entered.
Our first task at hand was to define a shared vision and framework for reviewing all the entries in this category. We agreed that we would look for consistency, surprise, substance, variety, great journalism, excellent design — and very importantly — we would consider the extent to which a publication focused on the needs of its readers and community.
We were adamant that we weren’t just looking at aesthetics, but at the wonderful symphony of journalism that is created by combining text, design, photography, graphics and illustration.
We had the privilege of reviewing more than 100 entries from all over the world. One thing was clear to us during this process — despite the headwinds in our industry the work we saw was vibrant, thoughtful and deeply committed to design and visual journalism. In some cases, we were delighted by innovations that created new standards for print design.
From thereon we used different techniques and much discussion to move through the process of whittling down to our final selection. This was difficult. Sad groans were audible when a publication was taken off the table, as was mirth and applause when a publication made it through to the next round.
We paid close attention to publications that challenged and inspired our industry to reach for new solutions. An example of this is The Villages Daily Sun, which is dedicated to serving a small community with a very local flavor. Another example is Politico Europe, which successfully transformed a maze of wonky politics into a lush and inviting experience using bold illustrations and photography.
This process was not an easy task. While we shared many different opinions it was important to us that all final selections were unanimous. In the end, we are delighted to have a robust group of finalists that span different types of organizations globally, from local to national, as well as niche audiences.
Lastly, we regret that many publications that entered SND’s Creative Competition did not submit an entry in this mandatory and free category. We urge future entrants to raise their hands and be represented. We also took note of the organizations that took time and care to strategically enter the very best combination of work and samples allowed by the rules. We applaud their effort.
La Nación’s design is simple, quiet, inviting and respectful, with a focus on news pages over splashy features. Its design is fueled by the neatness and sophistication of the presentations, from the surprising use of humorous illustrations, photography, detailed fact boxes and masterful control of white space.
With its conceptual covers and sophisticated, clean design, Politico has mastered the art of dealing with politics in a smart way. Excellent photo editing, thoughtful cropping, an ambitious array of illustrations and graphics light up a solid grid and typographical framework, creating a powerful punch from cover-to-back.
This is an intelligent, striking publication that continues to make its visual mark with strong photo and illustration play. General restraint plays a large part in how this newspaper works well and maintains excellence year after year.
La Repubblica is an example of a serious, respectful Italian newspaper that can introduce fun and energy with unique type, illustrated graphics and a delicate color palette. Its unique vertical grid adds a special flavor to its navigation system.
This was one of the most pleasant surprises of the competition. El Comercio is a good example of how a serious, traditional newspaper can experiment with alternative narrative visuals. It is extremely well organized, and the structure of the newspaper is strong because of the smart details in the labeling, breakouts, headlines and page grid.
The Guardian has found its footing after a significant transformation from an elegant Berliner into a more vibrant tabloid. It is brimming with all types of content — particularly in its supplements — igniting curiosity in the reader to keep exploring its richness and depth.
The Sunday Times
This energetic newspaper runs straight into your bloodstream with a loudness that is exciting and vibrant. The design is driven by large typography, photography, and bold double trucks. The Graphik Condensed/Extra Condensed all caps headlines are deftly integrated with visuals throughout the publication.
Memphis Business Journal
How invigorating to have a creative, local business section on the table of finalists. It’s clean and consistent throughout and has touches of excellent visual execution with important stories. It’s a good example of how a local team can transform a common, multi-city model to push new boundaries.
The New York Times
The New York Times is brighter and more daring than before. What once was a collection of strong individual pieces has transformed into a unified powerhouse of rich offerings. The staff continues its dedication to photography and doubles down with consistently smart illustrations and graphics.
The Villages Daily Sun
This is one of the most unique local newspapers we saw. It has such a clear connection to, and understanding of, its audience. The editions we saw were packed with visual surprises and full of rhythm. It’s a newspaper we imagine the community would be happy to wake up to. We need to see more publications finding their own path and committing to it like this.