The redesign of The Straits Times last year, as part of its 170th anniversary celebrations, has won international acclaim.
The publication picked up three awards of excellence for its new look at the 37th edition of the Best Of News Design international competition - a first for the English-language flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings. It also won awards of excellence in two other categories, bringing its total to five.
The annual print design competition is organised by the Society for News Design (SND) - an American non-profit organisation which encourages high standards of journalism through design. The SND award of excellence is given to entries that are "truly excellent work, going beyond mere technical or aesthetic competency".
The paper won for its July 1 edition, the launch issue of the redesign of the ST across all platforms, following a year-long effort. This was led by design consultant Lucie Lacava, who worked with The Straits Times' sub-editors and art department to give it a new look.
The daily print version sports a cool colour palette, while the Sunday edition is more colourful.
The Straits Times picked up five prizes at the Society for News Design's annual creative competition. Three were for the redesign by the paper's staff, including its sub-editors and artists, and design consultant Lucie Lacava.
1. The paper won an award of excellence for overall newspaper redesign for its July 1 edition.
2. It also picked up an award of excellence in the redesign of a newspaper section for the July 22 edition of The Straits Times’ Life section, which featured Taiwanese pop star Jolin Tsai on the cover.
3. It clinched an award of excellence in the redesign of a newspaper section for the Aug 23 edition of The Sunday Times’ Life. Its cover featured a story on Malaysian getai singers flocking to Singapore to perform.
4. Executive photojournalist Desmond Lim picked up an award of excellence in the category of single photo features for his image of a visiting pastor from Yangon baptising a Myanmar national in the waters off East Coast Park on a misty Sunday morning.
5. Senior executive artist Miel Prudencio Rosales Jr picked up an award of excellence for his coloured illustration which ran alongside an Opinion piece on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the lead-up to his statement on the end of World War II.
Ms Lacava, founder of Lacava Design based in Montreal, Canada, has helped design about 100 publications across the world. She said the award recognised the redesign as being "state of the art" and that it stood out from its competitors.
BEHIND THE REDESIGN
Creating The Straits Times' award-winning look was about striking a balance. We wanted to push out the boundaries with a bold, new look, yet be mindful of what our loyal readers want and expect from ST.
We had several factors in our favour: an editor open to new approaches, input from seasoned designer Lucie Lacava, and a newsroom that rallied behind what we were trying to achieve - and delivered on both design and content. It made for a powerful combination.
We are very happy that our efforts have translated into award-winning work. As reassuring has been the feedback we have received from our readers. They have been overwhelmingly positive about the direction we are taking - and that is where this redesign truly wins.
ST ART EDITOR PETER WILLIAMS
WITH THE BEST
Winning this SND Award for Excellence in illustration validates our experience as visual journalists who are on a par with the best in the world.
MIEL, senior executive artist at ST, on his winning illustration.
The baptism lasted only a few seconds.... I'm happy that I managed to capture the intimate moment.
MR DESMOND LIM, ST executive photojournalist. His winning feature photo depicts the baptism of a Myanmar national in the waters off East Coast Park.
Noting there were more than 8,000 entries from across the globe, she said: "Judges usually look for innovation, excellent use of typography, excellent visuals, strong content and a consistent design."
The other redesign awards were for the July 22 and Aug 23 editions of The Straits Times' Life and The Sunday Times' Life sections.
Said Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez: "We took great pains with this redesign, going over it and reworking it many times. We wanted a new look that our readers would find attractive and distinctive, something unique to ST. Response from readers has been good. Winning several awards from the respected SND for the redesign is a big bonus."
ST executive photojournalist Desmond Lim, 34, also won an excellence award for his feature photo of the baptism of a Myanmar national in the waters off East Coast Park. On his shot, the three-time SND winner said he had only one try as the baptism lasted only a few seconds. "I went to the venue a day in advance to rehearse for the shoot. I'm happy that I managed to capture the intimate moment," he said.
ST senior executive artist Miel Prudencio Rosales Jr picked up an award of excellence for his illustration accompanying an opinion piece on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was due to make a statement on the end of World War II. The illustration depicted a man bowing as a giant tear rolls off his face.
Mr Miel, 52, said it alluded to the Japanese custom of bowing. "The weight of remorse would have been sufficient to make them bow," he said, adding: "Winning this SND Award for Excellence in illustration validates our experience as visual journalists who are on a par with the best in the world. It goes to show that the visual language that we use in The Straits Times is as potent, entertaining and informative."
The competition, which was judged in New York, is open to all general circulation newspapers and magazines. SND selects a team of judges which evaluates entries on how well they accomplish their editorial and design objectives. All winning entries will be represented in the annual "The Best of News Design" book published by SND.