Perhaps Switzerland’s most ambitious news project to date, “Newsnetz” joins the forces of major Swiss newspapers and a series of local Swiss papers to become the country’s leading news domain in terms of reach, traffic, editorial size, and production.
It works by having a single, central online CMS process massive amounts of high-quality news that is fed to a conglomerate of large newspaper sites. These major sites in turn distribute specific local news throughout the entire network of which they are a part. It can be thought of as a star-shaped news machine where major Swiss newspapers such as Tagesanzeiger, Basler Anzeiger, and the Berner Zeitung join forces to their mutual advantage.
The project began about a year ago when we posted our popular article, Washington Post Redesign as a Wiki, in which we, unbeknown to our primarily information-designer audience, covertly solicited a multitude of high-quality comments from the likes of Jeff Croft, Khoi Vihn, and Cameron Moll about our newspaper design. On the left appears our design for The Washington Post, on the right, our design for Tagesanzeiger.
The project was visually kick-started into high gear by an extensive preliminary conceptual phase where iA delivered a set of initial mock-ups:
Following this, iA won a tough final pitch in March to design the user interfaces for Tagesanzeiger and Basler Zeitung, as well as to establish blueprints for all other identities under Newsnetz.
Our solution is focused on the realization of a strong, consistent user experience that is aimed at closing the gap between print and online in order to consolidate the brand as a single, consistent sphere of news experience. This is based on a very simple concept: online = offline.
Throughout April, iA developed the essential design elements and created scores of design sketches:
From amidst hundreds of these sketches, we determined a working solution and began to refine it. We established a functional layout of the essential structural components and defined a solid baseline grid:
With the design, layout, and baseline grid constructed, we proceeded to HTML mockups. Shown is the new design alongside the newspaper. Mouse over the image to see the old website:
During a two-week workshop at the Tamedia head office in Zürich, iA worked in close cooperation with Matthias Saner, creative director of Newsnetz, as well as with Peter Waelty, the head of the project. Working directly in the client’s environment proved to be a powerful time-saving strategy and an exciting experience for all parties involved that further solidified iA’s ties with the Swiss media house.
Since then, the designs have been continuously refined and significantly improved from the above. As such, you’ll have to wait until the early-August launch date to experience the final product. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to further cooperation with Peter Waelty’s amazing team of journalists, tech professionals, and Web professionals as we continue to grow and improve our two other mandates, FACTS 2.0 and Das Magazin. Here is another sneak peek of Tages-Anzeiger and BaslerZeitung: