THE Business Times (BT) has picked up an Award of Excellence from the Society of News Design (SND) for its newspaper redesign. Undertaken last October, the redesign was part of a major relaunch of Singapore's sole financial daily, aimed at simultaneously refreshing its newspaper, website, tablet and smartphone apps.
Among the changes that the redesign brought to the printed paper were wider columns and more distinct fonts - for a crisp feel and clearer reading. The redesign has also enabled the paper to make more extensive use of data and information graphics, or infographics, to tell stories better.
The SND, an international non-profit organisation, said that the Award of Excellence was "granted for truly excellent work, going beyond mere technical or aesthetic competency".
"It honours outstanding entries for such things as being daring and innovative, even if they are less than 100 per cent in every respect. Judges were asked to be tough, but fair," said SND, whose Best of News Design competition is now in its 36th edition.
BT editor Alvin Tay said: "The redesign was undertaken by in-house talent, which makes the award even more gratifying. It shows that there is creativity and flair in the BT newsroom."
The redesign was conceptualised in-house by senior executive sub-editor Michelle Low and senior executive graphics journalist Gareth Chung.
Ms Low said that the new design approach focused on clarity and ease of use. "Layouts are clean and modular for easy navigation, while a muted colour palette delivers data without distraction. The look of the paper is refreshed with a more contemporary look, while retaining BT's refined, elegant personality."
Apart from the aesthetic changes, the redesign altered the way in which the news is reported in the newspaper. News is now categorised by industry sectors to underline a sharpened focus on business; before, news was grouped by geographical markets.
The print design was carried over to the newspaper's website and mobile apps. The website, in particular, now features a responsive design, and adapts to the screen from which it is being read, so readers get as natural a reading experience on tablets and smartphones as they would on desktops and laptops.
Two other Singapore Press Holdings publications picked up awards in the 36th edition of the SND's competition. The Straits Times won two Awards of Excellence for a photospread and a portrait photo, while The New Paper received an Award of Excellence for page design for a travel feature.