Newspaper Design Using Web Design Principles

Earlier this year Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger asked Information Architects, a Japanese-Swiss UX-oriented web design agency, to come up with a pitch for a redesign of their offline newspaper.

The result is a concept and set of designs that are subtle re-workings of what works for print, integrated with what works online.

The concept was: Use all knowledge from contemporary user experience design and translate it to paper. Make the paper more usable, think cross media instead of separate media, while using the strength of the paper (pictures, info graphics, nice text) to the max. Keep the look as close as possible to the original brand and change the guts of the design. Make a product that people want to buy because it is more usable that the competitor, not because it wins graphic design prices.

Basic rule: Ignore all rules of newspaper design to start with and keep only the ones that are useful to the reader:

  1. Optimize text for reading.
  2. Reduction to two fonts.
  3. Scannability and print link.
  4. Order.
  5. Four columns for soft news, five columns for hard news, mixed 4/5 columns for sports. Ragged text for opinion.
  6. Big pictures, big info graphics, use the strength of the paper medium.

I am reminded of two instances where large information visualisations were prominent on the front page of newspapers: The Independent‘s Middle East ceasefire infographic and a Herald graphic depicting Washington’s $2 billion budget deficit. It works.

via @mocost

Update: I knew I had seen this before and knew I hadn’t written about it here on Lone Gunman before. However, thanks must go to Andrew Smith for pointing out in the comments that it was posted here previously: by the erudite Andrew Simone in his guest post, Newspaper.

5 thoughts on “Newspaper Design Using Web Design Principles

  1. Lloyd Morgan Post author

    Thanks for pointing this out, Andy. I’ve now updated the post to reflect this shocking development.

    You’ve a better memory than I, evidently.

  2. Yoav

    Looks like they did away with advertising too. But that wasn’t addressed, unless the ads became more text-based, like what Google does.

  3. Lloyd Morgan Post author

    This isn’t strictly true, as can be seen from their page sample for the Zürich und Region section of the paper. This contains an advert the same size as the one on the original front page.

    However I do agree that it wasn’t addressed and that this is something I think worthy of discussion. Removing front page adverts may destroy their artistic vision, but it also takes a huge revenue stream away from the newspaper. How they addressed this issue, I would like to have known.

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