afaqs!

The Midas touch

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | February 01, 2007
Dr Mario Garcia is the man who has designed HT Media's business paper 'Mint', besides the makeover of redesigning publications such as 'The Hindu', 'Malayala Manorama', 'Mid-Day', 'The Week', 'Sportstar' and 'Hindu Businessline' in the past


A well & #BANNER1 & # known name in the print world, Dr Mario Garcia is the man behind the design work for HT Media's newly launched business paper, 'Mint'. But this is not to be mistaken for his first assignment in India. He has, to his credit, the satisfaction of redesigning publications such as 'The Hindu', 'Malayala Manorama', 'Mid-Day', 'The Week', 'Sportstar' and 'Hindu Businessline' in the past. His forthcoming project in India is the Marathi daily 'Sakal'.

Internationally too, he has changed the fortunes of many publications. The recent format and redesigning of 'Wall Street Journal' is also Garcia's creation.

Mario Garcia
Talking about his experience while applying his strokes to various Indian publications, Garcia states simply, "I use lots of colour." His rationale? "India is full of colours, and that should be visible in its publications," he explains.

In Garcia's opinion, the hierarchy of the stories is not appropriate, which is one key thing he works on while redesigning Indian newspapers. "Indian publications tend to have an unorganised and chaotic design, which certainly needs to be rectified," Garcia remarks. Another problem area, according to Garcia, is that Indian publications also lack a sense of photo journalism. Most of photographs used in these publications are mostly of the same size, thereby lending a similar priority to each one. "People should learn how play with these photographs while designing a newspaper," advises Garcia with a nod.

Taking the bird eye's view, Garcia says that the future lies in compact designs. According to him, broadsheets will get narrower by the day. In fact, he predicts that in the next 10 years, most of the dailies in the country will move to a compact Berliner format, used by some of the classiest, most elegant and journalistically sound newspapers in Europe such as 'Le Monde', of Paris, and 'La Vanguardia', of Barcelona, amongst others.

His latest work HT Media's 'Mint' is also in a compact Berliner format.

Essentially, the Berliner format has the feel of a broadsheet, allowing for sections to be separated and read by different people in the same household, but at the same time, the dimension of the page permits a real good hierarchy from top to bottom, with interplay of vertical and horizontal structures, and a good display of photos.

The Berliner is also easier to handle than a broadsheet. "It can be read while travelling on trains, buses, and even aeroplanes, with greater ease than the wider two-page spreads of a broadsheet," Garcia says.

Before and After
As far as advertising is concerned, Berliner is a size that allows for greater eyeballing of ads on the right-hand side of the page. "Few readers ever fold a Berliner. They read it with both pages open simultaneously, thus providing an opportunity to carry an ad even on the right hand side of the page," Garcia observes.

When asked about the perception among readers that tabloids, which are similar to the compact format, are not taken seriously by the readers, Garcia says this is nothing but an old school of thought, which is redundant. This perception has changed, he says, especially among young readers.

The Hindu's new look
Garcia is particularly proud of his work on the makeover of the Indian daily, 'The Hindu'. The redesigning gave the publication a contemporary look while maintaining its classy touch, as it is one of the oldest publications in the country.

According to Garcia, the challenge of redesigning traditional newspaper such as 'The Hindu' is that one improves the product and attracts younger readers, without doing away with the attributes of the being amongst the iconic brands of Indian journalism.

Garcia is a trained journalist and has devoted more than 30 years to redesigning publications. His philosophy is to combine writing, editing and design as basic principles for effective communication of ideas.

He is also a teacher and he started with his alma mater, Miami-Dade Community College as a journalism professor. Thereafter, Garcia was a professor of graphic arts at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications between 1976 and 1985, and the University of South Florida between 1985 and 1991. Besides, he has also taught at the University of Navarra, Spain, and in colleges across 14 other countries throughout Europe and Latin America.

He is also listed in 'People En Español's' list of the '100 Most Influential Hispanics' in the Culture and the Arts category for his contributions in the field of newspaper design.

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