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Great designs start here

By Tim Dixon, October 9 2017

I’ve been fortunate to play a part in the creation of some great newspapers.

As the industry has been bashed and battered by the onslaught of the digital revolution and the flight of the big traditional publishers from newsprint journalism in the last 15 years or so, I’ve found myself working in newsrooms manned by increasingly depleted and hard-pressed teams of journalists. But those of us who remain are true enthusiasts for print. And it is still possible to produce great newspapers if the love, care and attention is there.

It’s not just about the design, that’s for sure. Content is key, and always will be. But when squeezed budgets dictate that newspapers must find a way to be brilliant with far fewer journalists, design can play a crucial role. I learned this much when redesigning the Western Gazette in 2009, the Western Daily Press and Western Morning News in 2010, the South London Press in 2016 and the Sunday Independent and Trinidad Guardian in 2017. The challenge, for me, was this: was it possible to design a newspaper so that it still looked impressive, authoritative and full of impact while at the same time being easy to assemble day after day, week after week?

I learned a lot from The Times, which looks elegant and authoritative but which, when you deconstruct its pages, is deceptively simple in its structure. This is not to detract from the great skill of those designers who, every day, craft the best-looking national newspaper on the news stands. But there are some basic lessons to be gleaned from a close study of The Times and they helped me devise designs that I thought could be sustainable in regional newsrooms where production journalists were few and far between.

Contact me to get your design project under way. This is my address: timdixon@newscraft.co.uk

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