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World’s Best-Designed Newspapers Honored for Freshness and Attention to Detail


May 2013 – In the business of printing newspapers, it’s easy to get caught up in the frantic pace of deadlines and physical production. Having a daily or weekly product ready for delivery, with accurate information, printed on quality newsprint, and out the door on time, is a top priority. But some newspapers are proving that award-winning design can be part of that equation as well.

The Society for News Design recently announced the winners of its 34th annual newspaper design contest, with 727 awards given in 19 categories out of more than 9,000 entries. Five titles received the top honor of World’s Best-Designed newspaper: Die Zeit of Hamburg, Germany; Welt am Sonntag of Berlin, Germany; Dagens Nyheter of Stockholm, Sweden; Politiken of Copenhagen, Denmark; and The Grid of Toronto, Canada.

The winners were honored for their top-notch design and print quality, in addition to excellence in the numerous other factors that go into producing a great newspaper. A big part of the criteria, in fact, was that design had to be backed up by production quality, which was a great thing to see. The best design in the world won’t look good if it’s not supported by a production team as dedicated to the finished product as the editors and publishers are.

Four of this year’s five best-designed papers use manroland web press systems: Die Zeit, Welt am Sonntag, Dagens Nyheter, and The Grid. “I am delighted to congratulate our customers on winning these awards,” Peter Kuisle, former manroland executive vice president, said in a statement. “These committed publishers are trailblazers and an inspiration for the quality, uniqueness, and thus the future of the newspaper. We are also honored and motivated in that this performance is achieved with manroland technology.”

In its announcement of the winners, SND acknowledged that good design doesn’t exist in a vacuum. “What distinguishes a World’s Best-Designed Newspaper? A culture of careful editing of all content that puts the reader first — through stringent attention to detail,” the judges said in a statement. They commented on intangibles, such as the “freshness” of the look and feel, and that the winners demonstrated “journalistic and optical skills on every page.”

In addition, The Washington Post received one of three gold medals awarded for individual works for its coverage of the 2012 presidential election. “This goes to show the planning and commitment of their entire news organization,” the judges said. “It’s a gigantic piece of work and so very well executed. (The Post) maintained such a consistently high level of excellence across an entire year. Every little detail has a purpose.”

Print quality, from prepress to printing to postpress, essentially got out of the way in the case of each of the winning pieces. Judges — and readers — were never distracted from the quality of the articles or the design, and that is really what a good print process should do. Excellent production value disappears, so only the content catches the attention of the person holding the paper.

Top 10 Award Winners
Of the 727 awards given by the Society for News Design in 2013, these papers brought home the most:

  • Los Angeles Times: 95
  • National Post (Canada): 66
  • The Washington Post: 38
  • The New York Times: 28
  • Times of Oman: 27
  • Omaha World-Herald: 22
  • Gulf News (UAE): 21
  • Globe & Mail (Toronto): 21
  • Dagens Nyheter (Denmark): 21
  • The Plain Dealer (Cleveland): 20

The 34th Annual Best of News Design Competition — by the Numbers

  • Entries: 9,262
  • The all-time high for entries was 15,020 in 2005
  • Entries in 2012: 10,158
  • Total 2013 winners: 727
  • Total 2012 winners: 717

Number of Awards by Country:

  • Argentina: 11
  • Brazil: 23
  • Canada: 129
  • China: 14
  • Colombia: 4
  • Costa Rica: 1
  • Denmark: 15
  • Dominican Republic: 2
  • Ecuador: 3
  • El Salvador: 3
  • England: 5
  • Finland: 3
  • Germany: 21
  • Ireland: 1
  • Israel: 1
  • Italy: 1
  • Mexico: 31
  • Norway: 2
  • Oman: 30
  • Peru: 5
  • Poland: 1
  • Portugal: 3
  • Russia: 1
  • Singapore: 2
  • Spain: 2
  • Sweden: 39
  • The Netherlands: 2
  • Turkey: 2
  • United Arab Emirates: 28
  • United States: 342
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