May 19th, 2010
I’m in Italy for the first SND conference of the new Italian chapter. It was Milan today, and I’ve just got the train to Rome for a meeting at Internazionale tomorrow, and another day of talks (same speakers) in Rome on Friday.
Good turnout today at the very opulent Milan Press Club, and a good lineup of speakers.
Javier Errea was up first, being a little provocative with the title “Newspapers don’t need designers”. He qualifies that with “they need visual journalists” but he’s pretty hardcore in his insistence that he’s not a designer, and that designers are the problem. I’m familiar with the work he showed (and it’s on his website), but it’s still impressive. The most striking thing is he gets very sophisticated design happening in very small newspapers. Maybe it’s because they’re small that they’re not afraid to take risks. Whatever the reason he seems to get great things out of small papers with very limited resources (and some bigger ones).
Next up was Gianni Valenti from the Gazzetta dello Sport talking about their recent format change and Toni Cases redesign. He came out with with some amazing stats (apparently they sold 2.3 million copies the day after Italy won the last world cup), and an interesting explanation of how they adapted to the new format (average story length was reduced from 70 lines to 45 lines). Unfortunately he didn’t have any slides, so there wasnt much on the visual detail.
I was up next talking about Guardian design in the Porter era. Followed by Benjamin Lana and Paco Trujillo from Grupo Vocento in Spain, on how they applied a new editorial philosophy and a design based on it to 12 regional dailies (with different formats!). It’s quite a logistical feat, with some pages and supplements being produced centrally and distributed to the regions, but local editing and page production too. My favourite line was a spanish saying that’s one of their editorial principles — “más jamon y menos pan” (more ham and less bread), a good motto for us all.
I did hear a couple of other speakers, but I had to leave early to catch the train to Rome, so will post about the afternoon session after the Rome conference. (Update; the second part is here).