Friday, October 8, 2010
Are newspapers dead?
Design legend Ron Reason (above, left) weighs in for the first segment of the 100 Words Artists-in-Residence Series. Ron has redesigned newspapers from Walla Walla to the Wall Street Journal. Today, we ask Ron about design, the new Gap logo, the iPad and whether he's wearing any pants.
1W: Why does design matter?
RR: So people can find, use and enjoy things more.
1W: What's the best-designed paper in the country right now?
RR: The New York Times. Its format lets readers find, use and enjoy the content quickly, and reinforces its brand - authoritative, orderly, smart.
1W: What paper needs the most help, design-wise?
RR: Any paper that has found itself in a state of severe attrition over the past few years - and there are many of them - but hasn't started from scratch. Many of them look anemic or like they are choking to death.
1W: Is there any hope for newspapers in the digital age?
RR: This is a huge readjustment period for newspapers. I'm hearing from clients that things are stable for now. They aren't making 30% profit margins like in the past (goodbye, classifieds) but they are doing OK. The challenge is how to put out a product that anyone wants - staffs have been cut so drastically.
1W: Is the iPad the savior of newspapers?
RR: Not anytime soon. So few people have them, the money isn't there and won't be anytime soon. But, in 5-10 years, will so many people have a tablet (not just iPad) that it will be the new thing? Will the revenue sharing be worked out with Apple and others that it all makes sense? Once newspapers ditch their printing presses, newsprint purchases, delivery trucks (and related staff), it just might work out. But that's going to be another huge shakedown and readjustment for the industry.
1W: Your thoughts on the new Gap logo?
RR: I haven't been in a Gap in 15 years.
1W: What are you wearing right now?
Thanks Ron! Stay tuned for the next installment of the 100 Words Artist-in-Residence Series, where we interview western swing music legend John England.
at 8:13 PM