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.
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.
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.
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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