The beauty of newspaper layouts

epa05156425 Editions of the British newspaper Independent are presented on a table in London, Britain, 12 February 2016. Britain's The Independent and The Independent on Sunday newspapers will close their print editions in March, owners ESI Media said on 12 February 2016. Both will have online-only editions. The Independent, which was launched in 1986, will become 'the first national newspaper title to move to a digital-only future,' ESI said. The Independent on Sunday will go online on March 20, and The Independent on March 26, the Press Association reported. EPA/TERESA DAPP


I’m in the process of reading Steve Kruger’s Don’t Make Me Think and one of the things that caught my eye is a section where he gives a newspaper front page example. Now, I’m from a magazine background and before I even knew what the term UI meant… I was working in publishing houses for magazines like Elle or harpers bazaar.
Newspaper layouts might be different than web layouts but I think every good designer should have the first page of the daily mail (or better still, the daily prophet) on his wall of inspiration. Looking at online newspaper sites I can’t help think that this:


is still more pleasing to the eye, than this:



The “page” has been with us for a few millennia. The first “books” (thick slabs of clay) were used some 4,000 years ago, replaced by scrolls, then books. The concept of the page is still strong today. The way things are named impacts on how they’re perceived and utilized. Thinking of the web as pages sets boundaries on how people interact with the web and how we create web interfaces.

In the early days of the web, companies simply translated their printed materials onto their websites. These ‘brochure’ websites had a very one-dimensional perspective but this made it easier for creators. At the time there weren’t any guidelines or inspirations. Now we have sites like Google’s Material Design where you can find the guidelines for good design.

But do we really have to evolve beyond the page? Isn’t there anything that we could learn from past layout design?

For me, the things we know and understand (like newspapers and books) tend to be the most intuitive. So creating a whole new experience for everything that’s electronic is not the way to go. I think there is still a lot we can learn from the pages of newspapers and magazines we look at every day and taking into account that a newspaper has size restraints when websites don’t – should give us something to think about.