Flemish newspaper De Morgen won the Award for Europe’s Best Designed Newspaper (the “Oscar” for newspapers) in the category Nationwide Newspaper. Europe’s most prestigious award in the field of newspaper design is presented to periodicals which distinguish themselves by their design, photography, colour scheme and type usage. Previous winners include Corriere della Sera, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, The Guardian, Trouw and The Irish Times. The award will be presented next year in April at the city hall of Vienna.
De Morgen received this year’s award because of its “willingness to sail its own course in its content and design”, which lends the paper a “creative versatility, with an impressive image and a daring colour scheme”. A member of the jury noted that “the quality of design isn’t limited to the front page, but is sustained throughout”. The Zeno and Ego section were also very much appreciated.
Editor in chief Rudy Collier admitted to being “a little surprised” at winning the award in the most important category, and added it might have to do with the paper’s distinctive “personality”. In a time when periodicals rely heavily on “newspaper doctors” for their art direction and increasingly start to look alike, De Morgen decided some three years ago to modernize its design internally. The editorial board and art director tackled the redesign organically — one by one all sections of the newspaper were evaluated and overhauled, some disappeared, others were born. Each day, each week, each month still sees continuous improvements, some minute, some more visible.
Now for my take on the type. The main body and headline type — Gerard Unger’s Swift — remained, but it is still used quite poorly, with squooshing, fake italics and the lot. Interstate had to mostly give way to Mark van Bronkhorst’s popular ITC Conduit. Tho the latter works quite well as secondary headline type and for running heads, intro slug and pull quotes, its use as body type for boxes and short pieces is rather unfortunate, especially as they use the Medium weight which simply is too dark for newsprint.
The European Newspaper Award is a European competition for newspaper design and newspaper concept, which was announced in 1999 for the first time. It is organized by the newspaper designer Norbert Küpper from Meerbusch (Germany) in co-operation with the journalistic magazines Medium Magazin (Frankfurt), Österreichischer Journalist (Salzburg), and Media Facts (Amsterdam).
The competition facilitates the exchange of information on newspaper design and conception throughout Europe and has been very successful so far as a great number of newspapers usually participate in it: The Sixth European Newspaper Award counted as many as 334 newspapers from 26 countries.
The chief prizewinners of the Sixth European Newspaper Award in the other categories are:
Diario de Noticias, Huarte-Pampona, Spain
Het Parool, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Bergens Tidende Søndag, Bergen, Norway
Sentinel Sunday, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, GB