The Mario Blog
The Wall: Get ready for the prototypes

As someone who has spent four decades hearing the word “prototype” and creating prototypes, I jump every time I hear the word. But these eight prototypes are of a different kind, the type that may divide one country from another.



Everyone has heard about President Trump’s proposed WALL –yes, in capital letters—to provide better border protection between the United States and Mexico, and, more importantly, to fulfill one of his presidential campaign’s centerpiece promises.  While I am not here to discuss the merits of that Trump idea, I found it interesting to hear so much in the news the past week about the eight prototypes that have made it to the finals as the US selects the one prototype that will serve to build the wall across a stretch of 3220 kilometers.

I think that when it comes to selecting prototypes, three is a good number.  It allows for a more focused discussion. Or, maybe that is what works best for prototypes for the type of work we as designers do, and may not necessarily apply to a gigantic project such as the building of this wall.

If those who have presented these prototypes are like we are when we pitch our projects, they will be nervous with anticipation and will be preparing themselves both for victory and defeat.

During my four-decade career I have been on both sides of the “pitch wall”.  When you win, you always take a good look at those competitors you  have won over, to learn from the experience. Often, you feel honored when the competition is phenomenal. When you lose, that is when you try to get hold of what the competition presented, to learn from that experience too.

And, sometimes, after you win the project, you continue to do prototypes.  My most difficult project, the German newspaper, Die Zeit, required 11 prototypes before one hit the spot.

So, I can only imagine—and sympathize—with those eight vendors who now have presented their best work for a proposed wall and will wait patiently to get the results.

What we know about the 8 prototypes:

 Four of the prototypes are made from concrete and are competing for the chance to be used for the concrete portions of the wall. 

The other four  prototypes are made from non-concrete materials that are competing to be used for the stretches of barrier that can be seen through.

All are between 18 and 30 feet high.



The Guardian: reader support


The Guardian is now funded by more than 800,000 supporters from more than 140 countries. Half a million readers are subscribers or members, or give to us on a monthly basis, while over the past 12 months we’ve received another 300,000 individual contributions from readers all over the world. We are also seeing strong sales of our print Guardian and Observer newspapers.



Our digital transformation workshops

If you would like to find out more about our workshops for digital transformation, email me:

I will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information. Our workshops are offered in both English and Spanish.



Mario’s Speaking Engagements


Nov. 16-19, WAN IFRA Latin America, Buenos Aires, Argentina

April 18-19, 2018-Newscamp ,Augsburg,  Germany.



TheMarioBlog post #2722



Blog Post11.21.2017—1am
So 2017 was really NOT the year of video……
Blog Post11.20.2017—1am
The New York Times: the Spanish weekly
Blog Post11.17.2017—5am
Paywalls, storytelling highlight Latin American conference
Blog Post11.15.2017—5am
In Argentina: the hot topic is “paywalls”
Blog Post11.14.2017—1am
The NY Times’ Jobs Classified: Really?
Blog Post11.13.2017—1am
At The New York Times: a kids section on Sunday
Blog Post11.10.2017—12am
“I read it on Facebook.”
Blog Post11.09.2017—12am
The flow of a breaking new story in the mobile era
Blog Post11.08.2017—12am
When content hits the spot
Blog Post11.07.2017—12am
When hierarchy makes a statement
Blog Post11.06.2017—12am
When the advertising wraps around
Blog Post11.03.2017—1am
New Hebrew fonts from Typotheque
Blog Post11.02.2017—1am
Favorite branding logos? No surprises
Blog Post11.01.2017—7am
A New York terrorist attack on the front pages
Blog Post—1am
White (space) is the new trend for print
Blog Post10.31.2017—1am
Turkey: the jailing of an art director
Blog Post10.30.2017—1am
Need a job?
Blog Post10.27.2017—2am
The Economist & Snapchat Discover: Respecting young audiences
Blog Post10.26.2017—2am
The Wall: Get ready for the prototypes
Blog Post10.25.2017—5am
The New York Times’ website redesign: less is best and, please, sign in
Blog Post10.24.2017—5am
At The Washington Post, The Lily hits its own chords
Blog Post—5am
The Lily: new Washington Post product hits its own chords
Blog Post10.23.2017—1am
Coloring opinions
Blog Post10.20.2017—1am
Digital Media Conference: First Day highlights
Blog Post10.19.2017—6am
Speaking today at the North America Digital Media Conference
Blog Post10.18.2017—1am
Long narratives still have a coveted place
Blog Post10.17.2017—1am
Some good print-related news
Blog Post10.16.2017—1am
Digital Transformation: no newsroom is too small to attempt it
Blog Post10.13.2017—12am
WAN IFRA: the best of digital awards
Blog Post10.12.2017—12am
Taking your brand to where the young audience is: Instagram
Blog Post10.11.2017—1am
Multitaskers consume more media
Blog Post10.10.2017—12am
Germany’s Sūdkurier: workshops for digital transformation
Blog Post10.09.2017—1am
In Spain’s El Mundo: native ads
Blog Post09.29.2017—1am
For newspaper publishers, not much to sing about?
Blog Post09.28.2017—1am
Interesting reference about new digital story formats
Blog Post09.27.2017—1am
It’s a new mobile-focused redesign for
Blog Post09.26.2017—1am
Three things that caught our eye
Blog Post09.25.2017—1am
Paywalls & newspapers: from leaky to hard ones, and in between
Blog Post09.22.2017—4am
Mexican earthquake: front pages tell the story
Blog Post09.21.2017—1am
Saying adios to The Village Voice in print
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.