Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Olympic legacy: bolder design

With another three gold medals in the bag and Jessica Ennis breaking records in the Hepthalon, selecting the right image for today's front pages was understandably a tough call. The Times simply chooses the most suitable photograph for a wrap ... horizontal, stunning, beautifully framed with colours that make it look more like a watercolour than a photograph. The pursuit of excellence is a nicely understated headline too. The Times wraps have been a joy. I hope they have translated into sales. If you didn't catch yesterday's here it is.

The best angle, though, was the amazing performances by the Team GB women. It was clearly an opportunity too good to miss for the Mirror.

What a great tabloid page - the top to bottom cutout of Jessica Ennis is a real eyecatcher. A page of joyful faces.

The Daily Star inevitably also took the girl angle but it is all a bit overpowered by the clutter ... and the massive yellow Free £1. I am not sure why, when you have pictures of beautiful women who have achieved something extraordinary, you would decide a stock image of a couple of anonymous blonde models is a better choice. 
The Sun is, unusually, a little understated. It's certainly an emotional picture of Victoria Pendleton but does it capture the real joy that was around yesterday? The paper is normally excellent at reflecting the feelgood factor but misses out here. The pedal medal headlines have been around this week too.

It was left to the serious papers - who have definitely moved into tabloid territory during the games - to go for it. The Telegraph decides Victoria Pendleton's celebration is the strongest image of the day. Queen Victoria may be predictable but it works. The advert (yes, yes I know journalism has to be paid for) isn't really very Telegraph at all. Sandcastles and cheap 'white out of red' flights. My word. What would Max say?

The Guardian also goes for a picture of Victoria, one with more movement that fills the page better. It was clearly The Guardian's turn to use the Gold, gold, gold headline. 

It was the i's turn yesterday (above). Presumably the missing comma after The Guardian's second gold was added in later editions. Remarkably, The Guardian, not for the first time this week, uses an exclamation mark on its splash headline. 

The Independent has had a confident games and today is no exception. It has swapped its serif headlines for sans caps, used cutouts, chosen dominant pictures and the titlepiece has been gold, yellow and now cyan. This is a nicely balanced page. It has a bull picture, well cropped and cutout, captures the fact that Team GB won three golds and manages to build up anticipation for the day ahead. Impressive.

The Mail wraps its week up with a souvenir supplement, which will no doubt sell, but it overshadows the stories and pictures. I am not a fan of blurbs that shout Free Inside. It strikes me that they are a waste of a prime spot ... tell us what you've got, rather than where it is and how much it costs. The Dream Cottage is a popular promotion so it gets top of the page prominence. All of this means the lead gets squeezed into a downpage oblong box with two square pictures and too many words. Not the Mail at its best.

The Express is selling on the word Free today ... which it uses four times in its blurbs. It clearly believes its target readers are 'owt of nowt' merchants. I am not sure anyone who has seen the Dark Knight Rises will be able to recognise Batman from the toy teetering at the top of the page. Top of the World and Golden girls are the straightlaced headlines. 

The i, as is its style, goes for pictures of all of the Gold winners, plus Jessica Ennis - and another four photos on top. Busy, busy. Gold rush ... now where have I seen that before? Oh yes, it was the Mirror and Express's main Olympic headlines on Thursday.

Once more a largely good set of impressive pages. I like to think the mould-breaking will inspire other newspapers to burst out of their templates and be bolder and braver with their designs, even when the Games are long forgotten. That would be a good Olympic legacy.

Thanks as always to @suttonnick #tomorrowspaperstoday 

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