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See in detail how a content-driven redesign did more than make a community daily look better – it made it a better paper.
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JUNE 2008

Orlando Sentinel redesign, Take 2

Brass Tacks Design

I've taken a lot of heat from a handful of newspaper designers over my critique of the Orlando Sentinel redesign. But I believe some good can come from this brouhaha if it forces designers to focus their energy where it will do their newspapers the most good.

My critique focused on the content, and the lack of consideration it was given during the Sentinel's redesign process. To back up my points, I offered examples from the Sentinel's old design and its prototype, and I quoted its website. I provided alternatives to its story play and rewrote one of its front-page headlines. I even offered examples from a content-driven redesign process. And I cited three newspapers that had used such a process to drive the bottom line.

In contrast, Mario Garcia's critique focused on "black as a color" and its use in the Sentinel's nameplate. Mario claimed that the nameplate "worked," but for whom?

Only two groups matter: readers and advertisers. It's safe to say that both groups care more about content than cosmetics.

Mario also went on to say that he “wished he had participated in the meetings when prototypes were presented to the editors.” I believe that editors should be involved during the production of protoypes, not after they are built.

With the newspaper industry in crisis, we need to tap all our resources: editors, designers, photographers, reporters, etc. It's essential to harness the power of the most creative minds to concentrate on the most serious problem – the irrelevance of newspapers to the lives of most Americans. New data from Orlando supports this.

Alan Mutter asked today, “How close to default is your newspaper?” Folks, it's time to smell the coffee. It's been brewing for years; Now we're about to get scorched.

Here's a story-telling graphic if every I saw one:

However, designers bring a lot to the table: intelligence, energy, wit and vision – without fear of authority or the status quo. They're experienced agents of change. Now is the time to reject the superficial and embrace the substantive to make a real difference.



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A thousand awards a year? Gimme a break.>>

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They never said higher RBS scores would sell more newspapers.>>