Seriously, in the world of news design, this is like Lady Gaga and Madonna meeting. They spoke only briefly, but it was kind of need seeing two design icons, Roger Black and Mario Garcia, face-to-face for a moment.
Black got his start in the newspaper redesign field when he was art director at the New York Times, after stints at Rolling Stone (where he was a principal creator of that iconic look) and New York, and he tapped Garcia for work on a redesign project in Mexico City, an association that Black later cited as something that informed him as he launched into consultancy.
Both are speaking today, the last day of the Society for News Design annual workshop, which this year is in fabulous downtown Denver.
Black is speaking in a luncheon presentation that urges us to think about multiple platforms — tablets, mobile, print. It’s been a consistent message his week with iPad apps in their infancy, but proving popular and promising. It when there are multiple tablets, running on Android, that this may become cumbersome, even when content management systems that parcel out our content.
Later, he will be in a panel that contains some hot-button issues. “Templates and centralized design operations: Smart streamlining or on a slippery slope?”
Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., announced this year that it will create five design “hubs” to serve 81 titles. The idea of having a design job and living in a small Gannett town like Poughkeepsie will be impossible — that job has moved to Asbury Park. But a very small, underserved Gannett paper like the one in Vineland, you might have access to more resources and your newspaper might look more professional. I was proud when SND decided on engagement with an open letter.
And Roger Black’s new set of templates, also aimed at smaller properties, set off a lots of angry debate in July. I notice “Just Add Content” has been substituted with a much better slogan, “Quality design, now accessible to all.” I’ve said all along that that slogan was ill-considered, implying a comparison to instant coffee.
The topic has cooled down, and both Black and Kate Marymont, vp/news at Gannett, will be here today to answer our questions.
Then, before our awards gala tonight, Mario Garcia be gathered with friends and colleagues to discuss his 40 years in the industry in an “up-close and personal conversation.” All I want to know is what’s going on with the Inky’s $3 overhaul. Since he began, the newspaper’s ownership has been in flux — not a good foundation for a redesign project.