ST's infographics on Budget, Trump inauguration clinch excellence awards from Society of News Design

The two-page infographics spread by The Straits Times detailed 12 measures in Budget 2017 aimed at helping people adapt and businesses transform for the future.
The two-page infographics spread by The Straits Times detailed 12 measures in Budget 2017 aimed at helping people adapt and businesses transform for the future.PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Two infographics spreads by The Straits Times illustrating key measures from last year's Budget and marking United States President Donald Trump's inaugaration have clinched awards of excellence from the US-based Society of News Design (SND).

Executive infographics journalist Celestino Gulapa, 57, regional correspondent Charissa Yong, 28, and deputy art editor Michael Dizon, 48, were part of the team that created the first spread - Future Perfect.

The latter - The Twitter President - was designed by digital infographics journalist Billy Ker, 29, infographics journalist Chng Choon Hiong, 40, and senior executive sub-editor Victor Ng, 50.

The annual Best of News Design Creative Competition is open to all magazines and newspapers around the world.

The Budget 2017 spread, centered on illustrations by Mr Gulapa, detailed 12 measures in the Budget aimed at helping people adapt and businesses transform for the future. It was published on March 11 last year.

Explaining the concept behind the design, he said it was a continuation of two graphics he did for the Committee on the Future Economy coverage.

"To make it different, I depicted Singapore as one building, a high-tech one. It was a vertical Singapore, so to speak, and I loaded it with all the amenities that will equip its residents for the future," said Mr Gulapa.

ST art editor Peter Williams, 45, said that the challenge in any Budget is how to convey a large amount of information in a way that resonates with readers.

"In this case, illustrations worked well with the text to create and capture meaning in ways that text alone, or photography, may not have been able to," he said.

He pointed out how the key numbers of the Budget were captured neatly at the bottom of the page, with the overall effect of the design aimed at drawing the reader's attention to the most crucial information.

Mr Dizon, who helped put the various elements together in the final layout, said that the team had to work against time.

They had started with a different concept but with just a day left, had to tweak their design when it proved to be ineffective, said Mr Dizon.

However, he added that enjoyed the collaborative effort by the team, and said: "My motivation is to do a good job. If we win, it's always a pleasant surprise."

The Twitter President graphic, which was published on Jan 21 last year, was designed using vector icons with interesting and noteworthy tweets by Mr Trump.

Mr Chng said: "I think the presentation was creative and perfectly matched Mr Trump's colourful character, and perhaps that was why it succeeded."

"I am delighted to hear of the win, of course. It was unexpected and a great honour because SND's awards are so competitive."

 
 

Mr Ker, who is familiar with such a design style, said that the team had wanted to create something simple yet impactful on Mr Trump's inaugaration.

Among the challenges he faced was filtering through Mr Trump's tweets to figure out which ones would appeal to readers, but not be too offensive, he said.

Said Mr Williams: "I'm proud that our peers from the SND acknowledge and recognise our design and illustration capabilities, and our ability to project stories so they surprise and engage our readers."