Why can’t newspapers be pretty?

Posted by Sarah Andrews

Example of a front page of "i" from SND's Flickr page

The Society of News Design recently named a Portuguese newspaper, “i” (short for informação), the World’s Best Designed newspaper. As you can see, the publication relies heavily on bright colors and graphics. Why couldn’t a news publication like this be successful in America?

Example of a front page of the New York Times

American newspapers tend to stick to a template with occasional variation, but rarely does a front page let photography or art dictate its layout. Seeing the incredible photography of The New York Times simply plugged in to its usual template breaks my heart.

Newspapers slave over the words in their publications, and I think it’s time visual storytelling got some respect. I speak for myself and the rest of the creative population when I say that there are people out there who would gladly devote themselves to visual storytelling in print media.

I realize that a paper like the New York Times has far too much daily content to give three or four stories that much space on the front page, but I believe there is a happy medium between the generic template approach and what “i” has been doing.

In this day and age, nearly everyone gets his or her news from the Internet. News doesn’t get broken on paper anymore. So why do we need to print so many words when they’ve already been read online? I know it would be a huge change, but it would be nice to see newspapers start to treat their print edition as a supplement to their online content. People are attracted to graphics, and a print edition is a fantastic way to display information in a tangible, visual way that reflects the story.

A great example of how "i" uses text, photography and info graphics to tell a story.

SND’s Lee Steele explained the winning approach that “i” uses.

“Its format supports the kind of flexibility that lets it focus on hard news one day and features the next.”

“i” uses a design-friendly tabloid format, but that’s no excuse for newspapers with a traditional layout to allow themselves to be predictable and boring with page design.

And now, I’ll leave you with a little “i” candy.

“i”‘s Flickr photostream

Do you think newspapers in America could adapt and become a more graphic medium?

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2 responses to “Why can’t newspapers be pretty?

  1. Here’s a link with more examples of interior pages we did,

    Front Page: Saramago Death

    Thanks for publish and share.

  2. Thanks so much for the link! I really wish info-graphics could look like that in American newspapers.

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