Jacek Utko is a Polish designer whose art direction at several Bonnier-owned Central European newspapers has won them a boatload of industry awards. His newspaper redesigns have contributed to increases of upwards of 35% and in one case—in Bulgaria—100% in circulation. What is the secret to these impressive results? “Give power to designers,” Utko says. By involving the designer at every strategic decision point, newspapers can improve their product, workflow and branding significantly.
While Utko leaves out one small factor—the prescience and skill of the designer—he does have a point. Since designers are at the frontlines of reader response and psychology they have a particular sensitivity to their audience. They know how the form can shape the reception of content, and can intuit what combinations of copy and layout will generate the most interest. It’s pretty reasonable to see how involving someone with this skillset in business and editorial strategy meetings can generate a more refined product.