John Bark’s redesign work with four Finnish newspapers has now materialized into print. Here are examples of the four newspapers.
This design project actually has its beginning at the much talked about (and well remembered) SND/S seminar in Iceland back in 19. My studio and I had just completed a redesign of Helsingin Sanomat lead by the sympathetic design director Calle Henning (called the ”Stern Man in Helsinki” back then) when Juha Tolonen from Kaleva – late at night at a bar in Reykjavik – mentioned their plans of a complete retooling of the Oulu based paper Kaleva. Next time we came to talk about it was about eight years later in Copenhagen. (Some redesigns have quite a long runway …)
The Kaleva assignment started as a plain redesign (the previous one conducted some fifteen years ago by Ernst Dernehl) but before we got to the paper we reconstructed the entire website www.kaleva.fi and the design of the mobile services.
In the beginning of last summer, new editor-in-chief Markku Mantila asked me if I could take a look at some related newspapers as well.
The polite suggestion turned out to be a request for a redesign x 4 that could be called nothing less than a tall order. (Mantila was referring to – apart from Kaleva; the broadsheets Ilkka, Pohjalainen, and Keskipohjanmaa). Four complete redesigns in a total of seven months! I’ve been through some tough time schedules but this must be some sort of record.
And as it turned out, the redesign parts were initially more of ”icing on the cake”. The real purpose was a task of a more complicated nature: to coordinate the editorial resources and allow for a greater sharing of common editorial material. The project was named “West Coast “ and the aim was to use the ”energy and creative forces” of the redesign projects to create conditions for the editorial exchange.
Although this meant synchronized geometrics and templates and controlled text lengths to a certain extent, each newspaper would maintain their own character and a brand identity that was unique. Four different visual approaches, in other words.
A work group/project team was put together at each paper and I started to ”do my rounds” visiting the teams for intense weekly working sessions. During some periods I lived more or less in Northwestern Finland (and I still do).
These are incredibly exciting, but challenging, projects. And the key is that basically all the work is being done in-house; I lead the visual development and my function is that of a catalyst. The hands-on-work and the new construction is being done by the redesign teams. That secures the process within each organization and creates strong internal foundations.
The redesigns were completed this spring, and now all four papers, Kaleva, Ilkka, Pohjalainen and Keskipohjanmaa are on the street in their new looks.
The next step for all the broadsheets in Finland will of course be a challenge of a smaller format.