Monday, July 5, 2010

Stuff of the Week: "SND Awards"

When I first entered the business, the dinosaurs known as newspapers still thrived. I joined the art staff of The Democrat and Chronicle in 1983, and it was a classic example of not knowing how good we had it in the newspaper business until it was over. The D&C was owned by Gannett, along with several other newspapers. But it all started here in Rochester, NY. (Actually, in Elmira, NY, but Gannett Headquarters were in Rochester until the mid '80s) We had a sister paper in Rochester called the Times Union, and the profits from the D&C and the TU were all being siphoned into a new Gannett upstart newspaper called USA Today. Bold and brightly colored, with smaller "McNuggets" of news, the paper was a bit of a blessing and a curse to the industry. The blessing was that it caused editors to begin thinking more visually in the presentation of stories, which opened up more magazine design-like possibilities for illustrators like myself. The curse was everything else. (To this day, I still feel too guilty to actually read USA Today if I stumble across it) But we were proud of the work we were doing on staff, and each year would hope to get our stuff in the Society of Newspaper Design's "Best of Newspaper Design." In 1985, we hosted the competition in Rochester and I got to design the cover, drawing heavily on 1930s design elements. More importantly, me and my friends got some work inside it as well. It was a big deal. Somehow a bit bigger than the more prestigious awards I've gotten since. Having said that, there are plenty of mistakes on that cover...

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