The Mario Blog
The design of the Silicon Valley Business Journal, from prototype to reality

TAKEAWAY: With the launch of the Silicon Valley Business Journal, we examine the evolution of the design through multiple prototypes. PLUS: links of interest from the holiday.

TAKEAWAY: With the launch of the Silicon Valley Business Journal, we examine the evolution of the design through multiple prototypes. PLUS: links of interest from the holiday.

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Today’s post is written by Reed Reibstein, art director & project manager, Garcia Media

Yesterday, TheMarioBlog examined the new Silicon Valley Business Journal. Today, we look at how our Garcia Media / American City Business Journals team reached the final design.

Garcia Media’s main personnel were Mario R. Garcia, chief architect of the project, and Reed Reibstein, art director. There were many bright people from American City Business Journals—more than can be mentioned in this post—who provided valuable input throughout the process. The initiative was led by Whitney Shaw, president and CEO of ACBJ. Emory Thomas, Chief Content Officer, led the project team, guiding all aspects print and digital. When new creative director Jon Wile joined the project, he was instrumental in taking the design from prototypes to reality. The team also included Ed Baker, Mark Pawlosky and Joanne Skoog from ACBJ in Charlotte; and James MacGregor, Greg Baumann and Moryt Milo from SVBJ in San Jose.

The evolution of the Project Pinstripe design

The final design of the rethought Business Journals was the result of many concepts and even more revisions. Garcia Media collaborated closely with American City Business Journals to investigate how local business stories could best be told. The following images provide a brief look at the major models produced.

Models A & B

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Model A

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Model B

The first prototypes aimed to explore where the team wished to go with this project. Model A was more adventurous than Model B. Only the centerpiece in Model A jumped—the rest of the items were teasers and a self-contained brief opinion piece. Model A also features the first attempt to create an identity system for all Business Journals. Seeing Model B crystallized for the team that the enthusiastic storytelling of Model A was the right direction to pursue.

Model A revisions

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The next phase sought to add more color, variety, and energy to Model A. Note the nameplate, which introduced the pinstripes that would become a key part of the Business Journals’ identity.


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As part of the discussions about the role of print in the modern media ecosystem, the team examined what an elegant, analysis-focused publication might look like. This concept emphasized the “lean back” nature of print, which describes how readers are able to relax and disconnect from the more immediate digital platforms. Though the lean back concept was intriguing, it did not effectively represent the newsiness and urgency crucial to the best Business Journal reporting.

Initial Flipboard

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The “Flipboard” architecture refers to the eponymous iPad app that makes use of large regions of images in a prominent grid. The front page adapts this digital design philosophy to print, producing a contemporary and highly flexible look.

Flipboard revisions

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The Flipboard concept was the right one, and the team undertook additional revisions to develop the front page further. A critical element was increasing the urgency and newsiness of the front page, which were addressed by the more text-driven centerpiece and secondary headline at the bottom.

This revision also included a new nameplate, designed to be more flexible and contemporary than the previous blue pinstriped version. This new nameplate would prove to fit better with the Flipboard front page concept and became the basis for the Business Journals’ identities.

Final Flipboard prototype

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A further refinement of the Flipboard concept, this front page fully developed the Business Journals’ visual language. Note the more sophisticated mix of image- and text-driven panels, along with a more layered centerpiece. This version also introduced a logo for The List and experimented with red instead of blue as the signature color. It was decided in the next round to return to the original “Sapphire” color for Silicon Valley.

Launch issue in San Jose

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Smaller design tweaks led to the culminating launch issue of the new Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Previous posts on the Silicon Valley Business Journal

The new Silicon Valley Business Journal is here!
A new start for the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2013

Of special interest:

Remembering 2012 via the front pages

Do not miss this great collection of newsworthy 2012 pages from The New York Times.

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Along the same lines, Bild of Germany did a double page spread with its notable 2012 pages:

The headline reads: This was our year!

Complete integration

When Gerard Baker put together his new team for The Wall Street Journal, he sent a memo to the team that included this:

“The next phase of our growth will be driven in significant measure by the completion of that integration, the creation of a single and indissoluble news organization uniquely equipped to supply a continuous stream of scoops, analysis, features and penetrating investigations: in real time, on our digital platforms and in the newspaper, to a global audience of hundreds of millions. To that end we need an editorial leadership that is tasked to meet the challenge.”

Platform hopping on the increase

We believe that many media consumers are using various platforms during the course of their day, but we are also reassured that sometimes the content of one story is discovered across platforms. One may begin reading on the mobile telephone, continue in print and then end the story online, or on the tablet.

This piece corroborates it:

As Shoppers Hop From Tablet to PC to Phone, Retailers Try to Adapt

Worth reading (in case you missed it):

Predictions for digital journalism in 2013

USA: A remarkable example of digital journalism

Lowering the Great Wall: how South China Morning Post’s Web site went from closed to metered

Putting user experience at the heart of your tablet strategy

Helsingin Sanomat of Finland redesigns with three custom typefaces from Commercial Type

Pages we like

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And today’s page, a double truck from Germany’s Bild: all about fish and the guide to helping us select it at the fish market.

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Take advantage of our iPad Design/Ad Lab workshops

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Do you want to take your brand to the next level by creating a tablet edition? Garcia Media can help. We now offer one- to two-day iPad Design Lab workshops on demand to jumpstart your presence on this exciting new platform. We also offer iPad Ad Lab workshops to develop engaging advertising models for your app. Contact us for more information.

Purchase the book on the iBookstore

The EPUB version of book is HERE:

Now available: The EPUB version of  iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet, ready for download via for Kindle:

Here is how you can get the book:

The original version of the book is the multitouch textbook version available on the iBookstore for iPad (iOS 5.0 and up): This version includes video walkthroughs, audio introductions to each chapter, swipeable slideshows, a glossary and a sophisticated look and feel.

Apple only sells multitouch textbooks in certain countries at this time, unfortunately. Copies are available in at least the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and the United States.

For those in other countries and without an iPad, we have made the book available in a basic edition for other platforms. This basic edition includes the full text of the original, along with the images and captions, but lacks the other features such as audio and video. It is available on the following platforms in many countries:

Amazon Kindle:

Google Books:

Take a video tour of iPad Design Lab

“iPad Design Lab” trailer on Vimeo.

Read the Society of Publication Designers’ review of The iPad Design Lab here:

Garcia Interactive: a world of information

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Keep up with Mario Garcia Jr.. via Garcia Interactive: helping transform online news since 1995.

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