About a month and a half ago, Chadd wrote a post about the demise of the Rocky Mountain News. Like Chadd, I wasn’t too sad to see the paper go. Actually, if I hadn’t read his post I may not have even notice that the paper went under. Like so many others, I had pretty much written off the newspaper industry as irrelevant and dying. This evening I changed my point of view.

Most of my posts so far on this blog have had a common theme, that good design is good business. I believe that an investment in design will make you money. If design is really that powerful, could good design save they dying newspaper industry? Watch the video below and see if this short video of Jacek Utko changes your mind:

The results that Jacek Utko is able to achieve in his newspaper redesigns is remarkable. In an industry where newspapers are going out of business all over the world, the newspapers that Jacek redesigns are gaining readers! The redesigned newspapers are increasing their circulation by up to 100%. What is going on here?

It’s important to emphasize that Jacek’s redesigns aren’t just graphic makeovers. Saving a newspaper would require more than a new font and logo. “Reinvented” may be a better word than “redesigned.” There is an important slide in his presentation that equates “form and function” with “design and content.” Not only does the newspaper look great, the content is captivating and fresh. In order to survive, a newspaper needs to become something other than a grid of text. It needs to be an experience. That’s what good design does. It can transform an obsolete piece of paper into something as captivating as the internet or the iPhone.

If you find yourself in an industry that is struggling to survive, or a company that people have written off as obsolete, I challenge you to be like one of Jacek Utko’s newspaper redesigns. Design isn’t rocket science, but it does take courage to differentiate yourself. Give us a call and maybe we can help you with your redesign.

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