Tuesday, October 2, 2012

News design in the age of tablet

It was 2005 and I was headed to a new job as a professor in the U.S. I was asked to teach infographics and visualization —areas that I considered safe zones for obvious reasons—, but also graphic design and publication design, which made me feel uncomfortable, as I had never had formal training on typography, layout, and composition. I gathered as many books as I could. Among them, Pure Design, by Mario Garcia. I still own my copy. It's filled with multi-colored sticky notes.

Mario has just released iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet, an enhanced e-book available so far just through the iTunes store (it'll be on epub and other formats soon, apparently). My first impression after reading it is that Mario's unapologetic commitment to storytelling and pure journalism is as strong as it used to be. Mario is not (just) a designer; he is a true visual journalist, and that shows. The message of this e-book is as simple as it is neglected by so many managers, journalists, and artists: Focus on structure, content, simplicity, usability, and service; don't forget about beauty, novelty, and surprise, but don't think that those are limited to cheap bells-and-whistles. Sounds familiar? Of course is does. Is it a no-brainer? Hardly.

My favorite quote:

“The education of a journalist today must include a clear understanding of storytelling in motion across platforms and genres, from the simple alert that answers the four Ws (mobile), to the short explanatory but compact story that advances further information (online), to the narrative that analyzes and the more personal, first-person narrator that offers a writer’s view (print and tablet editions). It is not just about multiple platforms. It is also about multiple genres, and all may be part of a journalist’s workday.”