A tribute to Joe Cocker by the Times of Oman

You probably know that legendary singer Joe Cocker died Tuesday.

What you might not have seen: A Joe Cocker tribute page that ran Wednesday in the Times of Oman.

Design director Adonis Durado tells us:

I designed the Joe Cocker obit.

I knew from the very beginning that my headline will be taken from Cocker’s iconic songs. I was mulling over between Up Where We Belong or You Are So Beautiful. I thought that if I used the former, I am going to redact “we” and write “you” on top of it — “Up Where You Belong”.


But when I read in Wikipedia that the lyrics of You Are So Beautiful is actually a love song about God, I decided to work my concept around it. In my initial sketch I had Joe Cocker’s head replaced one of the letters in the title.


Then I pulled a little conceit to myself — an obstruction — not to use any mugshot of the legendary singer. So I ended up with the final design where I highlighted his five memorable songs.

Click this for a much larger look:


Adonis illustrated 45 rpm singles to use as devices to replace the O’s in his big text and with which to pull out factoids. Here are closer looks at them:






A 2001 graduate of the University of San Carlos in the Philippines, Adonis Durado worked as a designer, art director, and creative director for a number of magazines and advertising agencies before serving as the consultant for a major redesign of the Cebu Daily News in 2004 and 2005.

From there, he became design editor of a free weekly tabloid published by the Gulf News of Dubai and then news presentation director of Emirates Business 24-7. He spent two years as group creative director of Instore and Indesign magazines in Bangkok, Thailand, before moving to the Times of Oman — and its sister publication, Al Shabiba — in 2010.

Find Adonis’ Twitter feed here.

Previous posts featuring work by Adonis and his staff at the Times of Oman

  • Feb. 10, 2011: What the hell is the Times of Oman?
  • Sept. 2, 2011: Times of Oman observes Ramadan with a page a day… for 28 days
  • July 31, 2012: ‘The world would never forgive us if we don’t do this particular graphic’
  • Aug. 2, 2012: Yet another genius Olympics visualization by the Times of Oman
  • Aug. 15, 2012: Yet another bit of Olympics graphic genius from the Times of Oman
  • May 30, 2014: Now this is truly an alternative story form

Now this is truly an alternative story form

Telling stories with only narrative and maybe a few pictures? That’s 19th-century thinking.

Telling stories with chunky text, bright graphics and “alternative story forms”? That’s so late 20th-century.

Telling a story with multimedia graphics and rollover popup factoids, optimized for mobile devices? You’re getting warmer. But you’re still not cutting edge just yet.

The new cutting edge: 3D graphics previewing the World Cup.

And I don’t mean the graphics are built in a 3D program so they can be displayed on a 2D surface like newsprint or a computer monitor. I mean these World Cup soccer graphics are actually 3D. The reader can pick them up and move them around to view them from multiple angles.

Not only that, but the pieces of the graphic also fit together to form an actual-sized model of a soccer ball.


This is one. Of the coolest things. I’ve. Ever. seen.

And what’s more: The folks behind it — The award-winning visuals crew at the Times of Oman and their leader, the magical Adonis Durado — are wondering if you’d like to buy it for your readers.

Adonis tells us:

We have created a graphic supplement where readers will have the opportunity to construct a life-size collectible football model. The entire supplement will be full of information and statistics about the 32 national teams. The extent of our research and database building took us months to gather.

The supplement will be around 64 pages, as each national team is allocated a spread (32 teams x 2 pages).

The spread contains the team profile and historical data such as summary of the matches, goals, ranking, top players, etc.

Here are a few sample spreads — for Mexico…






…and here’s a high-resolution sample: Brazil. Click on this one to get a nice look at how nicely the information is researched and presented.


On the left side of each of those spreads is… well, let’s think of it as a puzzle piece. Readers cut out the pieces and then fold and glue as directed.

Here’s a closer look at the Mexico piece.


Note the little diagram at left that shows how the pieces will fit together.

Here’s what those four pieces would look like, after they’re cut, folded and glued.


Those happen to be the four teams in World Cup Group A.

Adonis says these piece will then…

…[assemble] into a truncated pyramid — also known as frustum.


But this thing just keeps getting cooler and cooler. The reader can use the pieces to compare different sets of data. Here, the model is comparing three teams.


Not only is the data cited in “big number” form for easy reading, the graph runs off the sides of each piece. This makes the data easy to compare between pieces.



When you’re done comparing data, you simply stack the pieces back together into a life-sized soccer ball.


Now, that’s one heck of a coffee table display for your World Cup-watching party.

So that’s the cool part. Here’s the sales pitch. Adonis says:

We are currently selling this graphic project to targeted newspapers around the world. This is definitely an opportunity for your paper to generate extra revenue during the World Cup season. Think of bringing a premium sponsor or an advertiser to print this whole supplement for you, just as we do here in Oman:


We are still currently editing the video on how to construct the ball. I think it will be ready in a day or two. I will definitely share you the YouTube link.

UPDATE: Here it is:

Times of Oman World Cup Ball from Times of Oman on Vimeo.

The graphic will be available in both English and Arabic. But we can easily work out the Spanish version, if there’s a demand.

Interested? You’d better act fast — the World Cup starts competition in Brazil on Thursday, June 12. Contact Adonis at:

adurado [at] timesofoman.com

Who gets the credit for this bit of genius? Adonis tells us:

Everyone in the team was involved, but this is the pet project of our graphic editor, Antonio Farach.


Adonis and his staff do amazing work. For example, they observed Ramadan in 2011 with a full-page graphic a day.


…which, of course, assembled into one larger “blanket” made up of 24 broadsheet pages.

The 2012 London Olympics happened to coincide with Ramadan. How did Muslim athletes observe this holy time — with the customary fasting and prayer times — yet still compete? Adonis and his team showed us.


And throughout those Olympics, the Times of Oman continued to publish truly great graphics, like this one showing a swimming relay race…


..or this one, that allowed readers to construct a full-scale tape measure to show distances in the high and long jump competitions.


Now, y’see, that’s just fun.


Amazing work.

A 2001 graduate of the University of San Carlos in the Philippines, Adonis Durado worked as a designer, art director, and creative director for a number of magazines and advertising agencies before serving as the consultant for a major redesign of the Cebu Daily News in 2004 and 2005.

From there, he became design editor of a free weekly tabloid published by the Gulf News of Dubai and then news presentation director of Emirates Business 24-7. He spent two years as group creative director of Instore and Indesign magazines in Bangkok, Thailand, before moving to the Times of Oman — and its sister publication, Al Shabiba — in 2010.

Find Adonis’ Twitter feed here.

Yet another bit of Olympics graphic genius from the Times of Oman

My pal Adonis Durado — design director of the Times of Oman — sent us some terrific samples of sports graphics during the Olympics:




And then, of course, there was this magnificent piece:

I wrote a lengthy blog post about that graphic here. South Africa’s weekly NewsNow magazine reprinted an edited version of that graphic in the edition that went on sale Saturday, the day I departed Johannesburg for home.

Today, Adonis writes:

The Olympics are not over yet, as far as Times of Oman is concerned.

Today, we tested our interactive page titled “Tale of the Tape” which was published [yesterday, August 13]. This graphic is our take in visualizing the record-breaking history of long jump and high jump. On the page, we recreated an actual measuring tape and marked the historic leaps of high and long jumpers – from past to present.

Click this for a much, much larger look:

Let me point out that the tape also works as a timeline. (Question: Could this be the longest timeline ever?)

Hmm. Y’know, it just might be. Especially when you cut it all out and assemble it.

Luckily for us, Adonis took plenty of pictures. Here, illustrator Lucille Umali wields a powerful blade and straightedge to slice away the segments…

…and paste them together…

…using gluestick.

The tape grows…

…and grows.

Here is what’s left of the gutted page. Note the assembled but carefully rolled “tape measure” at left.

And here, the boss clowns with the tape segments.

Adonis tells us:

When we finished cutting and sticking the pieces together, we then converted our office hallway into an instant runway track.

I have a multi-cultural design team, so we had different countries represented, including South Africa, Syria, Honduras, India and the Philippines.

Guess who got the gold? It was [Quasem Gamiet] our South African colleague who jumped beyond three meters.

By the way, he’s a Muslim and is fasting.

Adonis also sent along sequences of the team members involved in this project giving a flying leap. From left to right: Illustrator Lucille Umali, calligrapher Osama Aljawish, artist Quasem Gamiet.


Graphics editor Antonio Farach and, of course, Adonis himself.


Yet more amazingly clever work from Adonis and his staff.

Previous blog posts about this amazing visuals team…

  • Feb. 10, 2011: What the hell is the Times of Oman?
  • Sept. 2, 2011: Times of Oman celebrates Ramadan with a page a day… for 28 straight days.
  • Sept. 11, 2011: A look at today’s 9/11 anniversary visuals
  • July 31, 2012: “The world would never forgive us if we don’t do this particular graphic.”
  • Aug. 2, 2012: Yet another genius Olympics visualization by the Times of Oman

Yet another genius Olympics visualization by the Times of Oman

Adonis Durado and his staff of the Times of Oman have done it again.

Two days ago, we looked at a wonderful graphic the folks there did on how Muslim athletes are coping with the physical needs of competing in the Olympic games in London. Which happens to coincide with Ramadan. Which means they’re fasting.

It was amazing work in both conception and execution.

So, what does Adonis have for us today? He has a diagram of the 400-meter individual men’s medley race.

Actual size. In length, that is.

Adonis writes:

Can you fit an actual 400-meter line into a full page?

You can. And we did that when we visualized the 400-meter individual


Click for a massive, hopefully readable view:

Adonis tells us:

Antonio Farach [below, left; the Times‘ graphics editor] and I [design director; below, right] thought of creating this graphic because of the sensation and controversy this event has stirred.


It was a let-down for [Michael] Phelps fans, and a sweet victory for Ryan Lochte — well, if not for the phenomenal performance of [Ye Shiwen], a Chinese swimmer who out-swam him in the last lap of the corresponding women’s event.

So what Antonio and Adonis did here was to plot out the entire 400 meters. They show us the relative positions of each swimmer at the start of each lap.

Here, you can see Lochte “behind” Phelps at the start of lap “G.” But a) Lochte is marked with a yellow dot, which signifies the leader of each lap.

But note the distance. Lochte is, in fact, a little under 8 meters ahead of Phelps. That’s several times around the page. Which is why his marker is several lines to the inside of Phelps’.

Adonis knows exactly what we’re all thinking, though:

Is the 400-meter line for real in this graphic? I’ve attached screen shots of the Illustrator file showing the actual length of the coiled lines before the endpoint was tweaked to reach the exact 400-meter measurement.

Here’s the coiled line, selected in Illustrator. The “race” starts on the far left laps around the page several hundred times and then ends in the top center.

This screencap shows the length of that line is just uner 40,000 centimeters.

This is astounding stuff. Especially to those of us who are old enough to remember when you’d get limitcheck errors if you put too many points into a polygon.

Here is the intro copy Adonis and Antonio used in the center of their graphic.

Here is a bit at the bottom left that compares the sizes of the two male competitors and tosses in info on the Chinese woman as well.

And this bit at the upper right shows the final two laps. You can see that Phelps (grey) came on strong in the last lap — but not quite enough to edge out Lochte for the win.

However, Ye (red) swam a faster lap than Phelps in the penultimate lap and a faster lap than Lochte in the final lap.

Is this the wave of the future? One day, will female swimmers compete alongside men?

Fascinating information. And presented in a most unique way.

Go here to see a collection of wonderful Olympics work from the Times of Oman.

Previous coverage of the London Olympic Games here in the blog…

  • Friday, July 27: A look at the Chicago Tribune‘s Olympics special section
  • Saturday, July 28: A face that captures what the Olympics are all about
  • Sunday, July 29: Somebody, please buy NBC Sports an atlas
  • Monday, July 30: A Johannesburg paper celebrates Olympic gold for a South African swimmer
  • Monday, July 30: Cool front-page Olympic photo on the front of the Globe & Mail
  • Tuesday, July 31: A look at Olympics pages from the Guardian
  • Tuesday, July 31: Times of Oman graphic explains how Muslim athletes are balancing their Ramadan fasting with their dietary needs for Olympic competition
  • Wednesday, Aug. 1: Olympic gold medal elation on the front pages of South African newspapers

I’m just not capable of doing much research myself — I’m currently in Kenya on a consulting assignment and will leave Friday for South Africa for another week of work there.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t post great work here in the blog. If you’d like to share Olympics pages with your fellow blog readers, please send ’em to me. The address:

chuckapple [at] cox.net

‘The world would never forgive us if we don’t do this particular graphic’

Adonis Durado — design director of the Times of Oman — tells me today:

I told my staff that the world would never forgive us if we don’t do this particular graphic.

Our paper is from Islamic country, and as visual journalists, it’s our responsibility to show this relevant issue to our readers: The challenges a Muslim Olympian will face this Ramadan. The sheer idea that we’re arguably the first paper to carry this kind of graphic kept us motivated.

And brilliantly so. Here’s the latest stroke of master work from Adonis and his staff. Click for a much, much larger view:

Adonis tells us:

This graphic took us a week to finish — from research to final design. At the beginning we thought we had less data to work on, but along the way, we were overwhelmed by the amount of information that we gathered. Eventually, we had to eliminate a few. We had even expanded our workspace from a single full page to a double-truck just to accommodate everything.

I personally took charge of designing the whole package but I had all my whole graphics team pitched in. I assigned each a topic or area to work on, from content down to tiny visual elements.

Here are a couple of working sketches:

In doing this graphic, we learned that fasting is just one of the many

hurdles that a devout Muslim athlete will face if he or she intends to

observe Ramadan. Perhaps the greatest would be finding a proper

sleep. There are five obligatory prayers (called salah), which one

must perform everyday. Muslim athlete should not miss praying, as

salah is one of the pillars of Islam, even on regular days.

Here’s a closer look at a preliminary version of the part of the graphic that lays the five prayers, competition and sleeping periods and daylight and nighttime hours onto a 24-hour clock. As the curved text at the top potions out, fasting athletes have only one six-hour window in which they can take in whatever food and water they’ll need for that day.

Again, click this for a readable version.

In addition, Adonis and his staff included a chart that shows prayer times for each day of the Summer Games, in both Oman time and London time.

Just how many athletes could be affected by the intersection of Ramadan and the Olympics this year? Nearly a third of them, it turns out.

Have Ramadan and the Olympics ever overlapped before? Five times before. In fact, they’ve overlapped all three times the Summer Games have been held in London.

Adonis tells us:

We also realize that six hours might be too short and too tight to pack the needed calories that would sustain an athlete throughout the day — and we compare this on how a British Olympic swimmer gobbled up 3000 to 6000 calories — eating 11 times a day — during competition. (See our source here.)

Adonis and his staff also included a nice segment on how dehydration works and how this might be especially bad for a world-class athlete.

This bit here — laid over the main illustration — addresses how, after four hours with no nutrients entering the body, the liver will crank up production of energy for the body.

Normally, you never know about this. It happens automatically while you sleep. In my case, though, I’m diabetic. The last thing I want is for my liver to increase my blood-sugar levels while I’m asleep.

Sure enough, I happen to have a bit of an overactive liver, so my morning glucose levels sometimes make me quite ill. As a result, my doctor has me on a medication called Actos. And when I forget to take it: Man, do I feel awful.

Interesting how these Muslim athletes have to worry about the same thing I worry about, but for a completely different reason.

Adonis continues:

We found very interesting data from ESPN.com that shows the degree of difficulty for each sport discipline. This helped us evaluate and plot which sport would pose a greater challenge for an athlete who is fasting.

Admittedly, this is part where we struggled in visualizing. In fact, our graphic editor made countless attempts before we found the best solution.

Here are three of those attempts. One…


…and three:

What graphic editor Antonio Farach ended up with…

…is a combination of circle plot and fever line in which the X-axis is not time.

It’s a very unusual approach. But one that makes plenty of sense, once you sit down and analyze it.

One last tweak to that chart added dots at the data points and highlighted the most impactful aspects to fasting athletes in red.

Antonio included, of course, a primer in how to read the data.

The visual focus of the entire piece, of course, is the large illustration by Isidore Vic Carloman.

Looks like Isidore used graphite for his base drawing and then added color via Photoshop.

Here, illustrator Lucille Umali adds color and cut-away muscle effects to Isidore’s drawing.

One more detail I’ll point out to you: A little segment in the upper right of the page. Here, illustrator Winie Ariany is working on…

…a piece that addresses what Muslim female athletes are wearing in London.

Like many Americans, I know virtually nothing about Islam or Ramadan. But, wow. Look at these burqinis. How on Earth does one compete in swimming events wearing that?

The dedication these athletes have just amazes me.

An the dedication of Adonis’ staff there at the Times of Oman? Ditto. Adonis tells me:

I know my staffers were already exhausted, as we just completed our sixth double-truck Olympic preview graphic before we embarked on this.

From left to right: Antonio Farach, graphic editor; Isidore Vic Carloman, illustrator; Sreemani Kandan, infographic designer; Lucille Umali, illustrator; Winie Ariany, illustrator; and Adonis Durado, design director.

Wait, what? Six Olympics preview graphics? You mean this was the seventh double truck graphic the Times produced for these Summer Games?

Apparently so. Adonis sent us copies of all six of ’em. Again, click on any of these for a larger view.

This one takes a look at the events held during the Summer Games, going back to the start of the Olympics in 1896.

This one covers the history of the medals themselves — what they looked like, how many were distributed and so on.

Note the bar charts that run down the side of the left side of that page. The bar representing U.S. medals is a part of that chart, but runs across the top of the doubletruck.

This one looks at who paid for the London games: Where the money came from and on what it was spent.

This one looks at the schedule and venues in and around London. The illustration shows an imaginary U.K. Olympics team made of famous folks from history and fiction.

This one addresses just the opening ceremonies and the history of the opening ceremonies.

And this fabulously-illustrated one is a look at 11 athletes from around the world to keep an eye on.

Amazing stuff, once again, from the Times of Oman.

Find the Times‘ astounding Ramadan project from last year — all 28 broadsheet pages of it — here.

Go here to read about the Times‘ first big year in the annual SND competition.

Previous coverage of the London Olympic Games here in the blog…

Coverage of graphic journalism in the Olympics by other folks:

Olympic background material from around the visual journalism world…

I don’t have time to do much research myself — because I’m currently in Kenya on a consulting assignment — but that doesn’t mean I won’t post great work here in the blog. If you’d like to share Olympics pages with your fellow blog readers, send them to me. The address:

chuckapple [at] cox.net

A look at today’s 9/11 anniversary newspaper visuals

There’s a lot of amazing work out there today. So amazing, in fact, that I was a little swamped trying to process it all.

My solution was to try something unusual. I posted the first half of my material so folks could begin digesting it. And then I added as the afternoon faded into evening. Not the way I’d prefer to work. But there was just too much to talk about today.

Even so, I didn’t get everything posted that I would have liked to. But I’m out of gas. By the time you’ve read all of this, you probably will be too.

Unless noted, these images are from the Newseum.



Just because I’m picking ten papers to make up my “most astounding” list, don’t let that seem like an insult to the papers that didn’t make the list. As you’ll see, many, many more than just ten papers did fabulous work today.


Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 254,372

The most stunning 9/11 image I’ve seen so far today in Sunday’s newspapers is this one by master illustrator Andrea Levy:

Click on that — or any other image here today — for a larger view.

Isn’t that just amazing? That’s the cover for a 9/11 special section inserted into today’s Plain Dealer.

Andrea tells us this evening:

The editors at the paper told me a while ago that I would be doing this cover. So I had been carrying it around in my head. I knew it was going to be practically impossible for one image to say enough.

Finally, I decided to just make an image that expressed how I felt and hope others could relate. I tried hard to make something that didn’t exclude others in the world, even though it is an American tragedy.

The editors had me write some words to accompany the art. The whole experience was just a terrific opportunity.

Here are those words, that also ran in the section:

I made many drawings for this, but in the end, I was left with no flags, no planes, no buildings. Just the human toll.

This image is at once a plea, a scream, an admonition. It is loss of innocence. But it is also conviction. Conviction that we will reach past this and any other tragedy.

Thanks to AME David Kordalski for sending me the illo. David adds:

Not too many papers would run one full-page illustration in one Sunday edition these days, let alone three. We’re understandably proud of the support from our leadership, editor Debra Adams Simmons and managing editor Thom Fladung.

Huh? Three illustrations in today’s edition?

Yes. Andrea also illustrated the fall theater preview today (left). Plus, the NFL preview section today kicked off with a full-page illo by Chris Morris (right).


What a pile of riches in today’s paper.

And as if that wasn’t enough, today’s front page is one of the nicer ones of the day, thanks to the awesome camera angle and the deft design by Emmet Smith:

The photo of the new Ground Zero memorial — with the new World Trade Center One rising in the background — is by Don Emmert of Getty Images.


Salt Lake City, Utah

Circulation: 113,032

One of the more remarkable uses of a file photo today was found afront the Tribune of Salt Lake City.

Remarkable. Words fail me. Which is pretty much the mark of an outstanding, emotionally-evocative front page.

Design editor Colin Smith tells us:

I designed the cover about a week-and-a-half ago. And after some minor alterations (the headline started as “A nation, divided” but was changed to “Still rising from the fall” to match the essay which came in later, and a desaturated version of the twin towers was substituted for a full-color version) the page ran pretty much as prototyped.

In fact, there was surprisingly little discussion or controversy, even over the half-missing nameplate or lack of other imagery

Of course, there was a bit of consternation late last week when we found out there was [an advertising] Spadea, but in the end, we decided the design was strong enough to survive even the ugliest of spadeas and kept the layout unchanged.

Yes, well. More about ads like that in a few minutes…


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 246,169

I think we were all stunned today by this lushly-illustrated cover on the front of today’s Detroit Free Press.

Editor for news and presentation Robert Huschka tells us:

Our efforts were spearheaded by multimedia art and projects director Eric Millikin and news designer Tim Good, who both worked tirelessly on our 9/11 anniversary pages.

Eric created our Sunday front page illustration. Tim Good designed most of 9/11 pages (while also building the “regular Page 1” that nestled behind our 9/11 poster front.)

Here are examples of some of the inside 9/11 covers, including the rails down the sides that pull out all the elements used in that giant cover illo and from whence they came.


I’m pretty sure I uploaded those pages large enough to be readable. Click on either of them for a larger look.

Robert tells us:

Rick Nease contributed a truly stunning illustration for our News+Views cover.

Here are a couple more inside pages.


And here is the enormous doubletruck to that special section.

Now, make sure you zoom in on that one. And be prepared to read for a while.

The memorial graphics in the doubletruck are from MCT. Designing this behemoth was David Pierce, Brian Todd and Eric Millikin.

Thanks to Robert for sending all these pages last night.


Albuquerque, N.M.

Circulation: 90,471

Here’s another outstanding illustrative poster-type front. It’s very subtle.

Assistant managing editor Joe Kirby tells us…

…the page was designed by me and the illustrations were done by our very talented artist Cathryn Cunningham.

Wonderful. Just wonderful.


Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 605,243

The L.A. Times today chose to go with a scratchboard illustration of the Twin Towers afire.

The illustration — so gorgeous but of such a horrific scene — is by Ken Barton. The page was designed by Kelli Sullivan.


San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: about 225,175

The double-page spread below wrapped around the Merc — and, in fact, all Media News’ Bay area newspapers — today.

My first reaction: What th’

And then I click on it, start reading. And I go: Oooohh…

Design director Tiffany Pease tells us:

The story is really amazing. Our reporter, Julia Prodis Sulek, was given access to voicemails left for Flight 93 passenger Mark Bingham as the events of 9/11 were unfolding. The cover is the transcript of those voicemails, which were provided by Bingham’s mom (the hands at the top).

The page was designed by Tiffany, deputy design director Alex Fongwhose birthday happens to be today — and picture editor Jami Smith.

Read the entire story here. Tiffany also says that the video is pretty awesome, as well. So check it out while you’re there.

Thanks to Tiff for sending us the wrap.


Neptune, N.J.

Circulation: 107,443

The folks at Gannett’s Asbury Park design studio came up with this very clever, very graphic way of depicting the new Ground Zero memorial.

Very clever. And very simple, which adds to the impact it has. Simple objects work best, sometimes.

I asked Tim Frank, director of the Asbury Park studio who drew the art. He replies:

It was me. The studio has been very busy, launching our fifth paper, so I had to jump on it.

Ha! Let’s hear it for the boss man who rolls up his sleeves and gets dirty!

The design studio used that same art for three other regional front pages as well.


From left to right:

  • Somerville Courier Post (Circulation: 17,531)
  • East Brunswick News Tribune of  (Circulation 33,889)
  • Parsippany Daily Record of  (Circulation 22,847)


Victoria, Texas

Circulation: 28,032

As you’ll see in a few moments, lots of papers did interesting things with text today. Robert Zavala of the Victoria Advocate pulled off one of the more ambitious with this double-truck, wrap-around cover showing the pre-9/11 New York skyline.

But when you look closer, you see that embedded into the illustration are the names of all the 9/11 victims.

Make sure you click on that one for a closer look.

Thanks to Robert for sending us that higher-resolution version.


Newark, N.J.

Circulation: 229,255

It’s always interesting when a paper zigs while everyone else zags. The Star-Ledger of Newark — which has been running fabulous anniversary stories and pictures all week — wiped all the visuals off the front today and went with a striking all-text page.

The essay there is by Mary Jo Patterson, who also wrote the very first 9/11 story for the Star-Ledger ten years ago today.

Mark Miller — assistant managing editor for news production at the Star-Ledger tells us:

Sunday’s page one was 94 percent Shawn Weston. He’s our newly appointed presentation editor ( a fancy title for lead designer and guru).

It was his idea to run a single essay, and it was his design that sold the idea. A page so design-driven that after we saw his original concept, we had to find a writer for a piece we hadn’t envisioned, an essay the defined the day. The look evolved through the past two weeks, distilling down to the simplest possible. A classic case of “the more you take way, the more you have.” At the end, after we’d pared it down to essential words (no headline!.. again) and no color at all, the editor looked at it and said it looked like the Declaration of Independence.

It was a remarkable end to a run of incredible work by Shawn, who designed the eight days of coverage we gave the 9/11 anniversary. Very clean design through the week, and across several sections. Incredible writing and fabulous stories to tell from a great set of reporters, and some mind-bending photo and video work.

And did I mention we did this while covering an earthquake, a hurricane and historic flooding?  Shawn literally did not go home for days on end.

Mark’s quite right — I’ve admired the Star-Ledger‘s work this week. I believe I’ve cited it a number of times in my 9/11 anniversary roundups.


Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 152,198

And speaking of zigging! The Virginian-Pilot is famous for the ol’ zig-zag, of course. But today, the Pilot may have set a new standard for off-the-wall thinking with this look at how the world is different today than it was ten years ago.

The reader has to do a little work to follow the amber-colored lines across the page. But if she takes the time, she’s rewarded with a little surprise and delight. That’s one thing editor Denis Finley preaches a lot: Surprise and delight readers.

This pair is just amusing.

This one, we’ve seen reported lately. But the numbers are still shocking to see.

This one is just sad.

This one is a real sign of the times.

And this one? It’s pure humor.

But in the context of the page, it works. Especially in a military town like Norfolk.

The designer, Denis tells me, is one of the best in the business: Sam Hundley.

And to answer your next question: Why, yes. Yes, he is the guy who designed the SND gold-medal-winning page for the fifth anniversary of 9/11.


Stay tuned until 2016, folks. Who knows what Sam will come up with then?



That Virginian-Pilot page is the perfect segue to our next chapter: Pages that based their main page-one visuals on what we are today vs. what we were ten years ago.


Atlanta, Ga.

Circulation: 183,415

You’ve seen me rant about the AJC. I often refer to them as “the home of the two-column lead art.”

Well, the paper didn’t have that problem today. Today’s front page is beautifully designed and beautifully themed.

In fact, the fact that the paper usually runs its lead art too damned small perhaps makes today’s front even more eye-popping.

I’m told AJC product design chief Will Alford designed that one himself.


Huntsville, Ala.

Circulation: 47,366

The Huntsville Times took a similar approach. With equally nice results.

Design director Paul Wallen tells us the page was a collaborative effort between outgoing intern Andy Rossback, features designer Bethany Bickley and boss-man Kevin Wendt.


Twin Falls, Idaho

Circulation: 18,603

We’ve seen plenty of pre-9/11 pictures of the World Trade Center towers. And we’ve all seen gorgeous shots of the Ground Zero light show memorial.

Leave it to Josh Awtry and his folks in Idaho to find a way to mash up the two.

I suspect Josh might have designed this page himself. If you hear differently, please let me know.



Oh, there was so much going on today with typography. Much of it was wonderfully inventive. Some of it was rather derivative. And yes, some of it might not even be *ahem* good.

But, admittedly, it was all interesting.


Boise, Idaho

Circulation: 49,616

Lots of folks today insisted on rebuilding the twin towers of the World Trade Center in text of some sort. In Boise, the Idaho Statesman did this using snippet of quotes from local folks.

That page was designed by Lindsie Bergevin, I’m told.


Asheville, N.C.

Circulation: 32,962

The small paper in Asheville, N.C., added twin towers consisting of twin stories, reversed out of a photo.


Santa Clarita, Calif.

Circulation: 12,500

The Signal of Santa Clarita made its version work by clipping out the background. Which seems a bit of a shame. Clearly, this idea can work on blue sky.


Lihu’e Hawaii

Circulation: 9,122

But then these folks in Hawaii tried to reverse their twin towers of type out of a night scene.

Hmm. I hope the print registration at the Garden Island is very, very tight. Or else they might have ended up with a real mess on their hands today.


South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Circulation: 4,046

Michael Higdon at Swift Communations’ hub in Carson City, Nev., tells me:

Did something a little different for the cover of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, usually very featurey with full of color, photos and fonts on the cover. We didn’t really feel like we had appropriate art for the story and we wanted something quieter than usual.

Thanks to Michael for sending me that page.


San Diego, Calif.

Circulation: 224,761

The Union-Tribune of San Diego pulled off their version by laying the headline sidesaddle. Which worked well.


Phoenix, Ariz.

Circulation: 337,170

The folks in Phoenix, on the other hand, elected to build their twin towers with negative space. Which made for a front similar to the ones I’ve just shown you. But with a different twist.


Rochester, N.Y.

Circulation: 120,037

In Rochester, words supplied by local folks stretched all the way across the page. The twin towers were called out only by manipulating color.


Sioux City, Iowa

Circulation: 35,335

In Sioux City, the Journal elected to use a word cloud for its own twin towers.

Every time I think I’ve seen the last possible way to use a word cloud, another one comes along to prove me wrong. This is an example of an idea I’d probably be in favor of shooting down in a meeting. Yet, I have to admit it works on the page.

Particularly nice is the way the Journal ran its nameplate white-on-white, with only a dropshadow to define it today.


La Crosse, Wis.

Circulation: 26,857

La Crosse used just the word cloud. With no twin towers.

Given the theme of that front, you could easily argue you don’t need the twin towers.


Brownsville, Texas

Circulation: 7,409

Down in Miami, the Spanish-language Nuevo Heraldo ran a list of victims, but with a nice twist: The shadow of the towers and a single rose.

Quite nice, in fact.


Williamsport, Pa.

Circulation: 23,575

Williamsport went with a stark black page, listing all the victims in grey.

The page was designed by Tim Wertz.


Grand Rapids, Minn.

Circulation: 94,746

Grand Rapids damned near did what Newark did today: It downplayed the visual and played up words — in this case, a rare page-one editorial.


St. Paul, Minn.

Circulation: 193,549

The St. Paul paper played downpage a nice portrait of a young woman whose tenth birthday was Sept. 11, 2001.

Up top was a series of decks that set the mood for the entire day’s coverage.

The lead element is a headline. You gotta love it.


Aberdeen, S.D.

Circulation: 15,206

And in Aberdeen, the editors made a very unusual move. There was so much good 9/11 stuff in today’s newspaper that the designer spent nearly the entire front refering to those stories.

Yet another idea that sounds bad. But looks great. It most definitely worked.



So, what’s the opposite of designing with text? Designing with lush illustrations.

Or, in some cases, not so lush, perhaps. But still eye-catching.


Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 108,247

This was one of the more moving front pages of the day, I thought.

The illustration is by my good friend and former colleague Mark Marturello, perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in newspaper visuals over the past 20 years.

Just like other papers used Tim Frank’s ground-zero fountain illustration, the Advertiser of Lafayette, La. — which, I think, will soon be designed there in Gannett’s Des Moines design studio hub — also used Mark’s illustration today.



Fayetteville, N.C.

Circulation: 52,698

While that one was quiet and moving, this full-page, page-one illustration is much less subtle.

The artist on that piece is Bill Campling.

I can’t quite tell, but it looks like there may have been a nice sideways front page for an inside 9/11 section as well.

I might point out that Fayetteville is the home of Fort Bragg, one of the nation’s largest military facilities. In case you’re wondering about all the army imagery.


Melville, N.Y.

Circulation: 298,759

This page a) wrapped around today’s Newsday, and b) didn’t show up in the Newseum today.

Obviously, those are victims of 9/11 in the background.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 161,858

Cincinnati took a similar approach, but adding a poem written by a local sixth-grader following the attacks in 2001.

The paper ran a story about that kid — now a college senior — back on Wednesday.


Springfield, Ill.

Circulation: 44,189

The paper in Springfield, Ill., also ran photos of victims along the bottom of a photo of ground zero. The entire page wrapped around today’s edition.


Palm Springs, Calif.

Circulation: 43,422

While some of those pages are quite complex, the folks in Palm Springs, Calif., went in an opposite direction. Talk about minimalist design!

You just don’t get any more minimalist than that.


White Plains, N.Y.

Circulation: 77,102

The folks in the suburbs of New York had a similar idea.

Hmm. I see what they were trying to do, with the mirror-image, reflection kind of thing. But I’m not so sure that one worked.



You’ve probably noticed by now that most of the pages I’ve shown you are single-topic front pages. Yes, that’s because I’m trying to show you the most extraordinary and the most unusual visual treatments of the day.

Typically when a newspaper runs a poster front on page one, however, it’s a huge photo. Here are a few papers that did that today.


Greensboro, N.C.

Circulation: 60,993

We’ve all seen the candles metaphor used to represent the twin towers, so that’s not new. However, the Greensboro paper did it particularly well today.

The page was designed by design director Ben Villarreal. Thanks to Ben for sending it along last night.


Seattle, Wash.

Circulation: 253,742

Now, this was an arresting image on the front of today’s Seattle Times. I liked it quite a bit, even before I knew what it was.

The note along the bottom of the page says:

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Seattle Times sought out two Northwest artists who have created works shaped by those events. The essay is by Jess Walter, a Spokane author whose novel about 9/11, “The Zero,” was a finalist for the National Book Award. The photo is of sculptures of the World Trade Center towers created in 2002 by Mercer Island artist Ingrid Lahti. The 13-foot-high structures are covered by nearly 3,000 medallions that bear the names of the victims.


Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 94,192

I saw this vintage picture used by several papers this week. No one used it better than the Los Angeles Daily News today.


Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Circulation: 13,000

Here’s another iconic image from 9/11. This small paper in Hawaii turned their front page sideways today to take in the scope of the day’s tragedy.


Sandusky, Ohio

Circulation: 21,003

Again, here’s a great use of a terrific image shot on 9/11.

The one thing I’d quibble with: The script text for “What’s inside,” at the bottom of the page. That font just doesn’t carry the weight it needs to on a great page like this.


Naples, Fla.

Circulation: 72,080

A number of papers led today with big pictures of the new Ground Zero memorial and the new World Trade Center One tower.

This one was particularly nice.


Portsmouth, N.H.

Circulation: 9,461

The Portsmouth paper turned its front page on the side to display this picture of firefighters holding what’s calle the National 9/11 Flag, which was found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center after the attacks.

Folks have been working on repairing the flag. It spent time in Portsmouth last month, when a columnist participated in the repair work and when this picture was taken.

Find the story here.



Unfortunately, a number of papers did fabulous work today on page one, only to see that work obscured — or partially obscured — by non-editorial matter.

That’s why the Virginian-Pilot today took a look at “Te years after 9/11.”

Or why readers of the Times of Munster, Ind., wondered why that giant yellow box on the top of the World Trade Center was on fire.

And the unfortunate inclusion of a Spadea today rendered this gorgeous presentation nearly indecipherable.

Heavy, heavy sigh…



Adonis Durado — design director of the Times of Oman and whose project I blogged about last week — sent us his paper’s 9/11 front pages.

The Times, you see, publishes in both English and Arabic. The headline on the English edition is: ‘US stronger after 9/11.’


Adonis writes:

Although our English and Arabic newspapers carried similar art, it’s interesting to take note how the two editors framed their headlines. The Arabic headline reads: “Ten Years On: Is the War on Terror Over?

That’s a pretty inventive way of representing the twin towers, though. Quite nice.

Even nicer is the Times‘ center spread today. Make sure you click on this to see all the graphic material there on the right.

The terrorism deaths timeline/bar chart across the top is brilliantly done.

Previous 9/11 anniversary posts here in the blog…

Sunday: Please send me your 9/11 presentations.

Tuesday: First three days of the Boston Globe‘s remarkable anniversary series.

Tuesday: The best of the rest of the 9/11 anniversary pages, so far.

Tuesday: How we got all those incredible photos on 9/11.

Wednesday: The day’s notable anniversary pages.

Friday: How college newspapers covered the anniversary.

Times of Oman observes Ramadan with a page a day… for 28 days

Here’s something very, very cool to round out your week.

Adonis Durado is design director of the Times of Oman. You might recall that paper won 36 awards of excellence earlier this year from the Society for News Design.

Founded in 1975, the Times is actually two daily papers, both based in Muscat, the capital city of Oman. The Arabic version has a daily circulation of 15,000. The English version circulates 45,000 daily.

Adonis tells us of a very special month-long project his staff just completed. He writes:

During the month of August, Times of Oman cooked up something special in observant of the holy month of Ramadan.

In Ramadan, it has been customary for newspapers in the Middle East to devote space on Islamic-related stories — it’s either an article or a wholesome package. Last year, our newspaper published a series of Ramadan articles, so this year we decided to take this a little further by coming up with a blanket poster.

When Adonis says a “blanket poster,” he’s referring to one of those projects in which readers can save each page, connect them in a certain way and create an enormous wall poster-like presentation.

Adonis continues:

What makes this poster more interesting is that it poses as the biggest Eid greeting card ever! Ramadan culminates in the Muslim calendar on the holiday called “Eid al-Fitr“, the festivity that marks the end a month-long of fasting and spirituality. So, the humongous Arabic script in our poster reads “Eid Sayed” which means “Happy Eid.

Full pages ran in the Times from the start of Ramadan — Aug. 2 — through Monday, Aug. 29. That’s 28 days in all.

And here’s the result. Click on this for a much, much larger view.

Adonis writes:

The dimension of the poster measures 174 cm x 212 cm — a total of 24 full pages in a 6×4 grid.

For those of us not on the metric system, that’s five feet, 8.5 inches across by just under 7 feet tall.

There are common elements atop each page. A logo at the upper left identifies the project. Because lunar phases are so important to Ramadan, there is a small diagram and a countdown. There’s a daily devotional thought.

And, of course, a small diagram on the right that shows how to collect and assemble the pieces.

Adonis sent a few complete pages for us to see. Click on any of these for a larger look. Here is the first day’s page, which ran Tuesday, Aug. 2.

The highlight of this page is the wonderful illustration. Click for a larger look at just the illo.

Day five on Sunday, Aug. 7, featured a piece on the physical need for getting on one’s knees for prayer.

The infographic explains how to find Qibla — the correct direction in which to face.

Day six explains why the moon is important to setting the dates of Ramadan.

The graphic goes into great detail as to how to use various means to determine when Ramadan begins.

What I love about these pages is that it’s not all about 1,000-year old tradition. Please note the little guy checking his laptop.

Day 15 — which ran Thursday, Aug. 18 — featured the traditional way Muslims clean their teeth…

…with a natural twig called miswak.

I seem to recall learning a similar technique 40 years ago in Boy Scouts. Surely that descended from this ancient tradition.

Again, Ramadan is holy for most of the readers of the Times. So yes, these pages have a very heavy religious bent to them.

Day 21 — Thursday, Aug. 25 — covered the topic of the tradition of keeping a woman’s head covered. I enjoyed reading this piece, especially in light of the mess that went down earlier this week in New York.

Again, clicking on any of these pages should bring up a readable version.

I’ve been calling these hijabs, but I see now that hijabs are only certain types of scarves. This graphic shows the difference between eight different head coverings.

The final day — this past Monday, Aug. 29 — marked the end of Ramadan and the traditional celebration of Eid Murbarak.

And now, perhaps the most amazing part about the entire project: There was only one week between the time they had the idea and when the first page ran.

Wow. Adonis tells us:

I told my team that in order for this project to work out, we have to nail down the whole shape and basic structure before the publication date kicks off. Polishing and tweaking would have to done on the run.

It’s a backbreaking experience, but it’s worth it. We are all happy with the idea that we are doing something different and something that has never been done before here in Oman. And given the time constraint, I think my team had done a superb job with the final result.

Here is Adonis’ talented visuals team:


Left: Osama Aljawish, calligrapher. Right: Winie Ariany, illustrator.


Left: Antonio Farach, graphics editor. Right: Greg Fernandez, designer.


Left: Aftab Kola, writer. Right: Sahir K.M., designer.


Left: Waleed Rabin, project coordinator and lead designer. Right: Lucille Umali, illustrator

Adonis was kind enough to quickly walk us through the process of how this came together. He writes…

The initial look of the page plan.

Design director [Adonis himself at left] and project coordinator [Waleed Rabin] brainstorm and critique the plan — the visual flow and distribution of stories. One of the key questions posed here: Which story will carry the dominant image or which story will serve as the focal point?

We get the graphics editor [Antonio Farach] involved. The discussion is how or what stories need layering.

Our calligrapher [Osama Aljawish] in action.

Digitizing and tweaking the Arabic script.

Creating actual page mockup to anticipate problems in proportion and consistency in our illustration style.

That is project coordinator Waleed Rabin speaking with illustrator Lucille Umali and designer Sahir K.M.

That photo must be of a size-only mockup. Note what appear to be classified ads there in the center.

That’s illustrator Lucille Umali again, I believe.

Shooting our models.

Illustrators at work.

That’s illustrator Lucille Umali yet again. This next one shows fellow illustrator Winie Ariany.

Researching and preparing the graphic.

Critiquing the illustrations.

Progress of the page dummy.

The writer [Aftab Kola] and project coordinator [Waleed Rabin] discuss the story treatment.

Another round of design tweaks.

Adonis marks up the changes he seeks.

First issue and the daily progression.

Times of Oman CEO Ahmed bin Essa Al Zedjali mounts the page of the day.

The team poses in jubilation — at last, it’s over!

I uploaded that last one extra large, if you’d care to click on it. The boss, Adonis, is the one being silly. Of course.

I don’t have the savvy to give you a slideshow here in the blog. But here is a quick sequence of photos that show you what the wall there in the newsroom looked like once each day’s printed page was added.

Click on any of these for a larger view.









Again, the Times of Oman won a ton of awards from SND this year. I’m looking forward to watching Adonis accept accolades for his work and that of his staff later this month in St. Louis.

A few samples of work by Adonis’ staff:

See many more — plus a picture of the design staff and a Q&A with Adonis — at the Newspaper Design site.

What the hell is the Times of Oman?

Did you see the preliminary tally of SND award winners, posted Monday at the Society for News Design web site?

If you’re like most of us, you’re wondering: The Times of Oman? Who the hell is the Times of Oman?

It’s actually two daily papers, both based in Muscat, the capital city of Oman. The Arabic version has a daily circulation of 15,000. The English version circulates 45,000 daily. The paper has been around since 1975, in fact. But no, I had never heard of it, either.

The design of both papers is directed by the wonderfully talented Adonis Durado.

Adonis and I worked together here in Johannesburg in October 2009, during the launch of the redesign of Rapport, the big national Afrikaans-language Sunday paper. I was consulting with the graphic artists for the papers here. Adonis was brought in to assist redesign consultant Peter Ong with the launch.

Not only did we all work together, we spent quite a bit of time relaxing together on the weekends. Here we are, watching a Saturday afternoon soccer match and eating a hot dog at Sun City.

Adonis took over as design director at the Times in February of last year, handling both the English and Arabic papers in Oman. Previously, he worked at a number of newspapers and agencies, including Sunstar Daily, Cebu Daily News, XPRESS/Gulf News and Emirates Business 24-7. He’s a 2001 graduate of the University of San Carlos.

Adonis told Iam Sajeevkumar T.K. of the Indian web site Newspaper Design:

The Times of Oman & Al Shabiba design team is ecstatic about this achievement. We never really expect to be in the top five. We all thought that by just winning three awards would make us all happy. But to fold it 12 times is simply unbelievable.

A few samples of work by Adonis’ staff:

See many more — plus a picture of the design staff and a Q&A with Adonis — at the Newspaper Design site.