Review the facts, become acquainted with the athletes, then try to do what is imaginative, innovative, but still simple enough to convey information at a glance. The good visual journalist is the one who conveys the essence of the story fast in a non complicated manner. Emphasize hierarchy, avoid clichès and try to surprise.
Well-known Design Consultant
The Olympics is few days away, but designers should already have been prepared.
But if they have not, the best thing is to read up all about the Olympics in London and about the games itself. If you know the subject very well, you will be able to come up with creative ideas quite easily.
It is also a good idea to look at all the Olympics coverage from newspapers around the world to see what others have done before.
Look particularly at good ideas and great design and give yourself a challenge – can you come up with something just as great or better?
here is one example of what i mean.
I hired the great info graphics journalist Peter Sullivan back in 1988. He worked for me for three years.One of the best graphic ideas he came up with was the 100 metres race in Birmingham in 1991.Leroy Burrell had won the race with a record time of 9.90 seconds.
Peter decided to compare how previous 100m champions would perform if they had run with Burrell. The result was this stunning graphic.
Remember that in those days, almost everything had to be done in black and white and drawn by hand or on the teeny-weeny Macintosh 512K computer using a simple software called MacDraw.
I don't think I have seen another better graphic than this on the 100meter sprint.
Imagine a graphic showing Usain Bolt running the 100m with former greats. How far would bolt be ahead of the pack?
A few days ago, the Daily Telegraph of London had a story about the 100m sprint that will happen during the Olympics.
The paper had a graphic across the top of the page showing the fastest sprinters.It was in full glorious colour but it didn't tell the story as well as Peter Sullivan's graphic.
So this goes to show what I am trying to say – do your research into every sport, and especially those that are dear to your readers.
Dare to think different. Dare to innovate.Don't copy. Don't do what others have done, but try and improve on them.
HANS PETER JANISCH
Well-Known Design Consultant
Of course preparation is the most important thing to do in advance. One can collect visuals, do sketches, plan supplements and discuss content. But for me, a big part of the preparation is also the mental part. I need to be inspired, I need to be in the right mood to design great pages for such an event. For inspiration I love to study the past. In this case past olympics. One can find an excellent collection and compilation done by Stephen Komives, the executive director of SND. Check out: Bigger, stronger, faster: 32 years of SND award-winning Olympics de...
Also I like to review my own work. See the pages that I have done for past large sport events. Acknowledge where I failed and what went right. And based on that I usually start from scratch. Simple and rough sketches as a beginning and groundwork. After that all the great visuals, the infographics, pictures and logos can bring life to those ideas.
• First, designers must understand about Sports. He must be interested in Sports. Sports pages demand some special touch and a deep understanding on different competitions. It is not the only requirement obviously, but wouldn't trust on designers not knowing about Sports. It is much more convenient if the designer even like Sports.
• Second, designers must dive into the Olympics history. The Olympics is much more than pure competition. It is kind of spirit. Designers need context. I would read books and go into main Olympics hits and glorious moments.
• Third, it is more than useful to look into previous superb coverages by largest newspapers and magazines. What they did and why. It is not a question of copying and pasting, but of being inspired.
• Fourth, Olympics means photography. It is not graphics but pictures. I am tired of typical big one-page graphics explaining details about any competition like if it was archeology. Sports design is not about boring Encyclopedia but passion. High jump or marathon cannot be explianed as every race and every competition is different from the other. Designers have to tell the Olympics using photos. Displaying superb pictures. They will have World's best pictures available, thousands. No excuses.
• Fifth, planning. The agenda is quite clear. It is not breaking news but well planned calendar. Designers, along with editors, must bet: one big story per day, one hero.. Of course, it may occur that unexpected heroes bump into the news.
• Sixth, the Olympics spirit tells about new heroes, unknown and brave people, those who will never win but deserve big display as well. Who is who.
Research, research, and research. Go on line and look for any information on the upcoming games, location maps, routes, etc. Get information on top athletes, prepare a timeline of their accomplishments ready to receive the new stats. Seek out how previous Olympics were handled by various media around the world. Sketch out your paper's front page, inside pages, special banners, and double page spreads. Get you graphics style ready, be consistent with your colour palette and type treatment, create a mini style guide for you department. Follow the games on your own free time.
Well-Known Design Consultant
From a practical standpoint, I would advise these five tips toward effective Olympics coverage:
-- Use resources wisely. At most small or mid-sized newspapers, resources are very limited as to what can be done with infographics, and even page design, so be as judicious as possible balancing staff time and wire service resources. Examine in advance what kinds of graphics or page designs the wire services will be providing, and check your archives to see what your own paper has done in the past - many sports graphics are timeless and can be republished. Do not attempt to duplicate routine graphics (breaking down what judges look for in a particular event, swimming styles for different events, etc).
-- Focus on information, not decoration! While it might be nice to do a series of watercolor paintings showing the sequence of a gymnastics routine, stills from file videos might get your point across easily, or even simplified sketches or even stick figures, with much less staff effort that could be reallocated somewhere more important. And while it might be tempting to fill your pages with silhouetted photos that pop off the page (a favored technique for visualizing the Olympics through the years), consider that a good sports photo is often so dramatic that it stands perfectly well in its environment, without silhouetting. Another time-saver.
-- Think local. Who are your national or local athletes and what are their endeavours that are not likely to be covered in the wire services? Make sure you have their stories, photographs, and video in advance. Do the journalism that only your newspaper can do.
-- Push digital. Don't forget to push your digital offerings. Refer readers back to your website for up-to-the-minute results, particularly of local or regional athletes that might not be covered in much depth by the international news sites.
-- Take chances and have fun! Look for elements of surprise, humor, and drama in your photo editing in particular. Sports photos often lend themselves to extreme horizontals and verticals, and great colour. Take advantage of the opportunity!
Design Editor,Gulf News
I think that the preparation for Olympics is same as the preparation for any expected coverage.
Usually you can divide between coverage in advance, opening day, the proper event coverage and the closing ceremony.
Base on this:
1. Decide on what to do for each part of the coverage. Since most of the information is there for you and your competitors you must come with a unique approach that differentiates you from the rest.
2. Count your resources. Once you have an idea, confirm that is doable in terms of time and human resources, otherwise adapt it.
3. Start as early as you can. Define a production calendar with continuous progress reports that allows you to detect any possible issues with enough time to fix it. On the live coverage, check the time difference and how it will affect you, you may need to create a team to come afterhours and modify your deadlines, other option is to come with an extra edition.
4. Have your complete advance coverage ready before the publication date. This will allow you to focus on other aspects of the coverage.
5. Define a way to measure the success of the project. This will help you to know if the effort is worth.
6. Do a post mortem. Once the project is over have a short meeting to review what worked and what doesn’t this will create knowledge that you can apply to do better next time.
President ,Society for News Design
The great thing about the Olympics is we already know when the key events are going to happen, that allows us to make a plan and key in on the events and athletes that mean the most to our local markets.
Here is a great outline of how to think about it by Josh Crutchmer, of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Well-known design consultant
If designers - or, rather, graphic reporters - are left on their own when preparing for big events like the Olympics, the results very often become flashy but complicated pages/graphics which readers might admire but seldom actually read.
Over the past twenty-five years, useful methods have been developed for ensuring that big visual achievements actually communicate. Whether named the maestro concept or WEDding or whatever, the procedure is more or less the same: Organize early planning meetings with everyone involved – writers, editors, photographers, designers, graphic reporters, etc – and make sure that your preparations take off from a reader’s perspective: Why should our readers care about this? What are the main questions our readers will ask about this subject? What are the local perspectives? And which questions are best answered with visuals (graphics/illustration/photography/layout)?