A few segments back I snuck in a video on the world’s best designed newspapers. This segment we dig a little deeper and look at the role design may have on saving newspapers. We’ll see it through the eyes of Jacek Utko, a famous Polish newspaper designer who is responsible for increasing his paper’s circulation by 100%. He spoke in February of 2009 at the TED conference.
Though overall circulation of newspapers is up, print circulation has been dropping for the last few years, Jacek contends that newspaper’s are dying because readers are simply not interested in old news (goes back to that “Internet is immediate” thing that we introduced this story with) and knowing this, advertisers are running away from the format. I would add to that the fact that the economics are better online, advertisers pay less and get more for placements on the web, but that’s a segment for another time.
Jacek doesn’t believe there is a practical reason that newspapers should survive, but he does believe in the power of design to tell stories and the power of combining form with function to create something bigger. He has a point, the basic structure of the newspaper has remained stagnant for decades. Certainly they’ve added inserts and shifted things around a bit, but when you look at Jacek’s newspapers, you see how much room they still have to grow.
Would improved design bring advertisers back?
Maybe not but as Jacek says, design doesn’t only change the look and feel of a product, it can completely change the branding and maybe that’s just what newspapers need.