Awards Gala: The Best of News Design

Join us for an evening at The Newseum to celebrate the Best of News Design across platforms. Nominees for World’s Best-Designed™ newspapers, websites and apps will be announced on snd.org this week. Winners will be revealed at this gala celebration, which will also include medal winners and any special recognitions by the competition juries.

World’s Best-Designed™ Newspaper Finalists

The Society for News Design has just announced 17 finalists for World’s Best-Designed™ Newspaper. Final winners will be named at this ceremony. [Register here.]

The extraordinary finalists come from a pool of 200 international newspapers. A five-judge team unanimously selected the honorees for remarkable achievement. Only the judges know the winner(s).

Here are the final newspapers (in no particular order) vying for best of the best, with comments from the judges:

WorldsBest_WashPost
The Washington Post (United States)
The Post sets the standard for high-quality news design that transitions seamlessly to sports and features sections that are not afraid to show some whimsy. The covers sing and the inside pages are strongly organized.

WorldsBest_Politiken
Politiken (Denmark)
The power of Politiken is in its range. No matter which tool they’re using—typography, photography, illustration, art direction— they use it as well as anyone to create pages that are as fearless as any in the industry.

WorldsBest_SvenskaDagbladet
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
Svenska Dagbladet editors and designers are masters at using their format, pushing and pulling it to the day’s news without ever breaking it.

WorldsBest_Excelsior
Excelsior (Mexico)
Excelsior manages to burn with adrenaline while maintaining an almost-elegant typographical structure. It’s bold, it’s colorful but it flaunts its classic touches just as often.

WorldsBest_NationalPost
The National Post (Canada)
The National Post is fearless and brilliant. It flies without the net of a rigid format to produce a compelling report wholly unique to each day’s news.

WorldsBest_DeMorgen
De Morgen (Belgium)
There is an energy that runs through De Morgen that begins with the front page and keeps going and going and going throughout the book. The paper has a near-perfect blend of illustration and photography.

WorldsBest_Informacao
Informação (Portugal)
There is such cohesiveness to this news product. It owns the format and pushes it visually time and time again. Simply remarkable.

WorldsBest_WeltamSonntag
Welt am Sonntag (Germany)
It is simple, systematic and strong. Readers can easily understand and follow structure to find whatever they need. To convey content, the paper uses proper visuals, which include photographs, illustrations and infographic, to organize news and analysis in a way that allows for easy contemplation.

WorldsBest_TheGrid
The Grid (Canada)
Though it’s now departed, The Grid went out on a high, displaying strong art direction even while changing its size in the middle of the year. It was provocative, energetic and always full of surprises.

WorldsBest_LaNacion
La Nacion (Argentina)
This is a beautiful, restrained paper — so disciplined. And, yet, consistently finding room for the subtle graphic, the beautiful photograph, the playful treat.

WorldsBest_LATimes
The Los Angeles Times (U.S.)
From the Oscars and the entertainment industry to California fires to the Sochi Olympics Games, this is a paper driven by the energy of its photography and some of the industry’s most elegant photo-editing, all while maintaining a serious air.

WorldsBest_Guardian
The Guardian (Britain)
How good is The Guardian? In a room full of judges with sky-high expectations for a paper that is always quite good, the collective opinion was that the The Guardian found its way to exceptional in 2014. How? It’s a paper that can toggle between whimsy and serious like virtually no other.

WorldsBest_dagensNyheter
Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
What you expect from Dagens Nyheter is organization, which ranks among the best. But what surprises you is how the paper takes big risks within that order, often eliciting huge emotional responses from readers reacting to the power of its extraordinary photo-editing and art direction.

WorldsBest_deVolkskrant
De Volkskrant (Netherlands)
First of all, this paper has consistent design with identity and good visual content. The design team knows how to use white space to make it all look elegant. With the combination of strong typography and stellar photography, the paper has a newsy and strong look.

WorldsBest_DieWelt
Die Welt (Germany)
That such a massive, wordy broadsheet can find so much room for bursts of art and even playful humor is a testament to the consistent vision of this newspaper. There’s a strong commitment to voice that shines through.

WorldsBest_NYTimes
The New York Times (U.S.)
The New York Times is the standard-bearer for American visual journalism. From photography to infographics to art direction, its range and sophistication are unrivaled.

WorldsBest_FolhadeSaoPaulo
Folha de São Paulo (Brazil)
Folha de S. Paolo combines dynamic energy and strong art direction with a structure that keeps it all under control. We loved its illustrations and bold photo play.

The State of Digital News

Publishers and news sites find themselves at a crossroads. While the atomic units of content they produce are getting better all the time, the mechanisms to reach their audience have changed, and the expectations of the audience have changed as well.

What are these changes? News is now more personal than ever. Our time is more precious than ever. The experience people want and expect is one that provides news at a personal level and feels like time well spent. It must be available and enjoyable across all devices. It should work wherever you are and cultivate community.

Platforms are redefining what news is and how it is consumed. Their curated experiences have become the entry points for publishers’ content. Publishers know the news: Platforms know people and connect them to the news they want.

Are platforms the future of news sites, or can publishers learn to create experiences that both inform and engage their audience in ways they are unable to today? Platforms are of the web, are you?

— The SND Digital Judging Team

Criteria

  • Audience — Scope of organization: To be World’s Best, recirculation strategy has to be excellent as well
  • Mobile web / responsive vs. app —  t has to work well across devices and breakpoints, unless strategy is to treat devices separately. Apps are strictly judged on the app experience
  • Performance — Speed, easy to use / intuitive
  • The content — Relevant to you, easy-to-find presentation. Elegant, clean, intuitive
  • Community — A safe place that fosters conversations
  • Portability —  Of content, or elements of the site or experience. Atomic

The Finalists

[In no particular order]

Medium

medium
Possibly the next generation platform and publisher. It is a joy to use and looks stunning.

Quartz

Quartz1
One of the best user experiences for a news site today. The homepage is a useful resource rather than only a collection of what they produced today. Articles seamlessly flow into one another, making it easy to read more than one thing.

NPR One

NPRONE
Excellence through simplicity. A hyper-focused experience that delivers on its promise of personalized audio.

Harvard Law Review

HARVARDlaw1
One of the most stunningly designed sites we have seen. It does not try to be something it is not, it simply embraces the content it has and creates a wonderful experience.

AJ+

AJcards
A bold experiment in contextual news. Clever use of audience engagement for people who want to dig below the surface on topics. News orgs will be ‘sampling’ elements of this app.

Facebook

FB_Timeline_iPad_RGB
News is personal. In a world where time is precious, Facebook is one of the main ways people discover — and share — news that matters to them.

NPR

NPR
This site bridges the gap between web and audio.

Twitter

SND_Twitter
The place where you curate your own community. It gives you the ability to broadcast and be broadcast to. Twitter has the unique ability to break news fast.

The New Yorker

NEWYorker
A thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.

YouTube

youtube
It is still the place for video on the web. It creates the ability for publishers to place their video where the audience is. It allows people, if the demand is there, to become ‘stars’ without publishers.