“It’s about using a visual narrative that makes the reader think ‘that’s an impressive story’ rather than ‘that’s an impressive design’. ”
This week I gave an interview to Inside.app Magazine, where I talk about news design and my work at Axel Springer.
The latest facts have shocked the world. It is impossible not to be moved by the images we have seen coming from Syria.
One of the most challenging exercises when working in a newspaper (either for print or online) is certainly when we have “breaking news”. Changing the newspaper in a short time and looking for the best way to bring visual elements that translate the story in the best possible way, in a short time, is a challenge for every visual journalist.
Below, my most recent work (pages from the latest edition of Bild am Sonntag).
Now it is official. I am happy to share: 7 awards at the “SND – Best of News Design Competition” in the USA this year with Bild am Sonntag! Becoming the most awarded publication from Axel Springer and one of the most awarded popular newspapers in the world.
For me, this is again the confirmation that is possible to bring “visual storytelling” to a popular newspaper language.
Douglas Okasaki, president of the Society for News Design shared very kind words about it:“The pages design from Bild am Sonntag has a strong voice. The typography plays a strong role in the page combined with the pictures. It’s impossible not call the readers attentions. It’s a unique style for a German newspaper”
Here are the winning pages:
Category: Opinion Design
Category: Opinion Design
Category: News Design
Category: Breaking News
2016 has been an incredible year. I had the opportunity to give workshops to newspapers from Latin America to Eastern Europe. I met incredible professionals, amazing newspapers, magazines at full throttle. The result of everything? I learned a lot.
During this “lecture tour”, I have been able to show and explain what I have studied and tested in practice over the last 10 years in more than 30 newspapers around the world where I collaborated: the power of visual narrative in journalism. The power of telling stories in a more captivating way, no matter to what kind of publication you work.All this goes through two basic paths, which have become my focus of study and working tool: “cognitive psychology” and the “generation of emotion”.
While Professor Colin Ware writes that we should think of information design tools and cognitive tools that enhance and extend our brains (diagrams, maps, information graphics, visual instructions, technical illustrations), it helps us solve problems through a process of Visual thinking. Cognition is about understanding!
On the other hand, visual storytelling has the unic power to generate emotions. We can engage our reader to the story with emotions. Like a soundtrack in a movie!
And here, we touch very important area from our readers: the subconscious.
Roger Ebert once said:”Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions never lie to you”
According to many cognitive scientists, our first reactions to new external stimuli are determined by our conscious minds, but by the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes our bodies to produce immediate physical and chemical reactions, such as the production of tears, laughter, or adrenaline.
It’s only a few milliseconds after the most involved computer processing parts of our brain are involved, adding logic and explanation to this instinctive emotional outlet.
Sometimes we forget that, as visual journalists, we have lot of power in our hands.
Few years ago, I was in Copenhagen to give a lecture at the “Danish School of Media and Journalism” and a workshop for the “Politiken” and “Ekstra Bladet” newspapers.
After the lecture, at the university, I met Lars Pryds, where I learned that he was the Editor-in-Chief of the SNDs magazine. I was amazed with the incredible contribution that Lars was doing for so many years for our industry, in Scandinavia, a region with so many newspapers and professionals that I admire.
I have been closely following the publication in the last years and this week I found out that Lars, after 11 years of an amazing work, decided to not lead the magazine anymore.
My first reaction was to write him, simply to say “thank you”.
For the great magazines. Publications in which we got to know fantastic newspapers, inspiring redesigns, highlights on coverage of special topics, new talented designers, and so many other aspects of our industry, where visual journalism makes a difference.
He answered me sharing his experience in these last 11 years:“Working with SNDS Magazine for 11 years has been amazing – not least because of all the good people from all over the world, who unselfishly have shared their words, pictures, thoughts and ideas with our loyal readers.
Without this great content, it would not have been possible.We have always tried to let the covers reflect one of the themes or stories within the mag. Sometimes the main story, at others the most visually appealing subject. Here are some of my personal favourites – a selection that also documents the diversity of the content.”
I asked Lars to select the 10 magazines that marked him the most. Here is what he says about each of them:
Lars Pryds is a Copenhagen based artist and designer, working with editorial design, publishing and fine art from Tolstrup Pryds Grafisk Tegnestue, which he shares since 1987 with his wife, designer and art critic Lisbeth Tolstrup. He holds a Master’s Degree in Design from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation. He has over 20 years of experience from some of Denmark’s largest daily newspapers and is a multiple SND and SNDS award winner.
I am very honored to win 10 awards at the European Newspaper Award with Bild am Sonntag.
For me, this is one more proove that Visual journalism can make the difference also in a popular newspaper!
Here are the awarded pages and the respective categories:
News Pages (Terror)
Section Front Pages
Once giving a lecture in an University, I was asked about how is my creative process when I do a page in a newspaper.…
My answer was: “Visual storytelling is like telling a joke”.
Because jokes are fascinating. The punchline of a joke is the opposite of expectation. And we laugh. It’s sometimes the opposite of something you are thinking. The creation of joke, going through a routine to tell a story after a story, that is presented different, makes you laugh.
I am not saying that visual storytelling is about laughing, but about generating a reaction. The way a joke is suppose to bring you somewhere and drive you somewhere else, this surprise element, catches our attention in order to generate an emotion.Bellow my latest work at Bild am Sonntag, from the last issue:
I had the honor to spend the last two days of this week conducting a very exciting two-day workshop in Belgrade, Serbia, working together with the talented teams from the newspapers Blic and Alo! and from the magazines НИН and Blic Žena, making a step further in visual journalism.
On the first day we did an overview, passing through visual storytelling, infographics and typography, analysing examples, theories and processes.
Since I believe that one of the most important instrument, when its about visual storytelling, is the use of cognitive psychology, we analysed how it can work as a wise tool to engage readers, generating emotional reactions, and improving the understanding of stories.
On the second day, with the heads of departments, we focused on the daily Blic and on its Saturday edition. I made a analysis of both products, taking a deep look at how it presented news. We had an entire morning discussion with the team and identified important points and estimated the next steps that will help the development of both publications.
I leave Serbia inspired by a newspaper with an amazing potential and a brilliant team led by Jelena Drakulic (CEO), who has always impressed me by her unique approach on the publications in Serbia, and her talented Visual Director, Slobodan Pikula.
And October starts with good news! Happy to win 2 awards at the Lead Awards in Germany with Bild am Sonntag.
One award, with the special section of the 60th Anniversary of the newspaper, where we showed 60 covers from the last 60 years. The other, with 22 pages of breaking news, when the sad and unbelievable terrorist attacks happened in Paris.
The first, a celebration of journalism. The second, visual journalism in its essence, on the limit of deadline.
“60 years of Bild am Sonntag”
“War against our way of living”
For the third time I joined the design jury of the most important Award of the Auto industry in Europe, “The Golden Steering Wheel”. This year, designers from different areas, were in the team: Anton Piëch, Andrea Zagato, Louis de Fabribeckers, Andrej Kupetz and Paolo Tumminelli. Were fun days in Balocco with great discussions and talks about how design can create this important relation between car and driver.
(photo by Niels Starnick)