The Mario Blog
The best designed newspapers in the world

It’s that time of the year when SND, Society of News Design, chooses those print editions of newspapers that the judges consider to be visually flawless. This year: Germany’s Die Zeit and Holland’s Het Parool.

It is always interesting to see which newspapers win in the Best of the Best of the Very Best category.


I am not surprised about these two winners, both of which are newspapers I know well. Die Zeit I redesigned in 1994, when it was all in black and white and did not use photos almost at all.  It was a time when a caricature or illustration was the only art on the front page. Much has happened since then and Die Zeit has gone on to win Best of Newspaper Design several times.

Het Parool makes it to the top of the design mountain with a redesign by Jacek Utko, the Polish designer.  I once redesigned that newspaper, too, taking it from a big broadsheet format to a tabloid.  Today, it shines.  Good job, Jazek and team.

What separates these newspapers from the rest?

All politics is local, they say.  All judging is, well, local too: a combination of the who’s who among  the judges assembled for the task, what criteria they consider essential, and, most importantly, their interaction during the process of selecting winners. Believe me, I have been there, done that—many times. Also, don’t forget the issue of group dynamics among the judges: there is always one alpha personality who prevails and tends to influence the direction of approval and/or rejection.

Aside from the flaws of the judging process, these two newspapers are well deserving of the honor as both go beyond visually appealing design to include also great, timely, well written content that is presented with elegant typography, a space that allows for texts and photos to dance in the midst of well orchestrated white space, and the overall look of a print product designed  to appeal to those with taste.

In the case of Die Zeit,  our initial design “disruption” of this newspaper’s layout in 1994, created a strong foundation typographically, architecturally and via a soft color palette that still stands firmly today.  The talent of its current designers and art director, Malin Schulz, and deputy art director, Jan Kny (former Garcia Media  art director) contributes to fortify that foundation, to enhance it, to build upon it. They make me proud.


A matter of taste

These are the best two designed newspapers for readers who appreciate clarity, elegance and who would prefer caviar and champagne over  a burrito and a beer.

Count me in!

And, yes, Virginia and John, there is still a market for those who cling to their burritos and beers.  Those papers usually don’t sports design that make it to the SND judging category of Best of Best. But, before someone will correct me, many of these ugly ducklings thrive, make money and their readers would not want them to look any differently.

Congratulations to all those editors who respected design enough to allow for pages like those we see in Die Zeit and Het Parool to happen.  Bravo to the art director, designers, photographers and illustrators who enhanced good storytelling with their work.

Read more about Die Zeit’s redesign process here

I have told about the redesign of Die Zeit in my blog:…/die_zeit_the_greatest_evolution_f…/

Speaking Engagements Coming Up

SIPConnect 2017, to be held in Miami June 21-23, is a program of the Inter American Press Association, IAPA, or SIP (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa).  The venue will be the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel.


Join us at the SIPConnect Hemispheric Conference 2017. Organized by the IAPA, SIPConnect is a gathering of media and digital businesses to encourage more audiences and higher revenues. It’s a laboratory for new ideas and successful experiences for the digital transformation. As in the 2016 successful meeting that was attended by media from the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, experts in digital businesses and representatives of innovative companies will participate in this event.

For more information

TheMarioBlog post #2612



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Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.