World’s Best Designed Website

By Mike Swartz April 13, 2012

The Society for News Design announced today that has been named the World’s Best Designed Website in their digital competition. Hot damn!

Those SND awards meant a lot to us before we hung up our newspaper spurs, and as students at the turn of the 21st century we would dream about designing a newspaper page that would win us a silver, or be still my heart, a gold.

A lot has happened between 2002 and 2012, and most of it can just be summed up as “the Internet.” But I remember entering my first feature page and watching it be judged in Syracuse. I thought it was a shoe-in. The type of newspaper page you tell your grandkids about (I actually thought that). Well, it didn’t win. It got 2 chips, but the judges passed on it. And I pouted like a mofo to my girlfriend at the time (now she’s my wife!).

This is a really cool moment for us, and means more than a Webby, or an AIGA award or something like that. We grew up with SND, learned from it, and vied for the affection of its stars (Whatup Zedek, Klee, Dorsey, Kordalski and Emmet Smith!).

Eventually though it felt like we left it behind when we started working on the web. But now it’s back, and it feels like a real turning point for the industry. Do I think the Globe is the World’s Best Designed website? Is it really the best possible design of all the websites in the world? (there are probably at least 1,000 websites as of this writing). No, probably not.

Did the project succeed because of our unrivaled design genius, devil-may-care attitude and handsome-but-not-too-handsome looks? I’ll let you figure that one out. I know there are tons of great designers at newspapers with really great ideas sitting in their drawers gathering dust. They just need to be listened to.

This is a referendum on newspapers and how they approach the web and their businesses. Do something different! Listen to what people outside the executive suite have to say! Try harder!

The Globe won this award because they tried harder, and succeeded. They did something really ballsy (technical term) and it turned out well. They put together a great team in Miranda, Ethan, Scott, Mat, Todd, Patty and the Filament Group. And they didn’t let it get screwed up by a committee or the bugaboos of a scared, old institution.

The Globe took the first step to transforming a culture, and other papers and media groups will follow. It’s a great time to be in news design, and I’m really excited to see all the amazing work that gets greenlighted because of this breakthrough project.

If you’ve somehow not gotten enough coverage of this project, check out our blog posts:

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