Mario Garcia is a veritable legend in the business of news media design. He has designed more than 700 newspapers, magazines and news websites across 120 countries, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and South China Morning Post in a career spanning more than half a century.

When businessline began collaborating with him on the redesign in early 2022, it was evident the 76-year-old Garcia passion for journalism and the focus on reader experience remained undiminished.

Garcia who began his career as a journalist is the founder and CEO of Garcia Media, a global consulting firm, and the Senior Adviser for News Design/Adjunct Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which he joined in 2013. In an interview with TR Vivek, he spoke about his ideas and approach to designing the new look of businessline.

Q

Could you describe the broad principles behind the redesigned businessline, both the newspaper and the website. How does it enhance the user experience? 

The new design of businessline emphasises functionality, a good user experience, elegance and a combination of typographic fonts, spacing and colour that make the reader's journey more effective and pleasant.

In this design, my team and I have followed the same principles that have guided our design projects in 121 countries: make it easy to find, make it easy to read, and make it attractive.

We have created a design that adapts to the various platforms in which readers access content today. The way we read on our phones or tablets is different from how we read in print. This design allows for those variations and idiosyncrasies.

There will be more mobile-friendly stories where the text and the visuals blend together, to carry out storytelling in the same intuitive way in which we communicate via text messaging and What's App. We write and we show.

It is my hope that the readers of the businessline will find these designs effective to make their reading easier.

Q

Typography perhaps plays the most important role in newspaper design. Could you explain the type schema and hierarchy you have employed? 

Typography is one of the most important elements of a publication’s design. In fact, 75% of what the eye records as we read on a page or screen is type itself. We read headlines. We read stories. We see captions under photos. We see authors’ bylines and photographers’ credits. The reading experience is, in essence, all about typography.

So, it is no surprise that we designers begin the design of any project by selecting typographic fonts that will be legible, easy on the eyes and that will help the reader understand the content. As such, we distinguish between legibility (the elements of a font that make it easy on the eyes) and readability (having to do with the content itself—sentence structure, spelling and such).

For this project we have selected IBM Plex Serif and Roboto, in variations of weights, from light to bold. These are modern typefaces that adapt well to various platforms. The readers will see continuity from digital to print. 

Q

Business publications typically use plenty of data and infographics. How does the new design approach the use of data? 

A very important part of a business publication is how the editors present data. Good informational graphics emphasise clarity, a minimalist approach to design, and the ability of the image to convey information quickly.

Nobody should be expected to study a graphic, the way we do when reading academic textbooks. For newspapers, the graphic has to combine the headline and the numbers to tell a story at a glance.

For example, how did unemployment grow? Or, how is inflation accelerating in the past 30 days? Maps are key and should not try to be too ambitious. Instead, use maps to locate the reader within the story, but do not use unnecessary information that may create clutter and deviate from the story at hand. 

If there has been a major attack in a city during the Russia-Ukraine War, then let’s concentrate on that specific point, without trying to teach a geography lesson in the process. We have redesigned the businessline graphics to be consistent in terms of typography and colour, to be direct and at the same time provide good visuals for the eyes. 

Q

How does the colour scheme work? 

Colour is an integral part of how we become familiar with the publications we come to daily. So we have created a colour palette that is elegant, not too loud and that will respond well to separate the businessline from other publications, while giving it a sense of authority and gravitas, elements which are so necessary in business publications.

Our colour palette emphasises gravitas, with soft tones. The reader will see the branding colour starting with the logo, but this same colour will be used as accessory element throughout all the various platforms. 

Q

bl.portfolio is a unique product aimed at active investors. The nature of stories too is quite different from the rest of the paper. What was your design approach for portfolio

Portfolio’s design needs to emphasise two important criteria: separate the content from the daily business reporting, but also provide a look that is more “lean back” for the readers. 

Our design for Portfolio says: we know that you know about some of these stories, but we will take you deeper, explore new angles, and provide good visuals to go with the story. Portfolio is a visual treat, with more of a magazine-like look and stories that sometimes will be longer reads, more analytical and in-depth. 

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