The Guardian, the British newspaper that gave former NSA contractor Edward Snowden enough rope to hang his ex-employer for being even nosier than previously thought, is back in the headlines again. This time, the paper is launching a monthly Saturday-supplement magazine called Do Something, designed to “encourage readers to develop new skills and try new experiences”. While that’s all very nice, what really spoke to us was the design of this new offering – quite bold for a newspaper supplement.
First, though, here’s a bit of wide-eyed enthusiasm about the project from The Guardian website:
From learning to snowboard to mastering street photography or starting your own supper club, ‘Do Something’ will make it happen – with a wealth of resources and features including:
– expert guidance and advice
– Guardian writers’ and readers’ experiences
– exclusive special offers
– guide to the best courses in readers’ local areas.
The first issue is perfectly timed to help readers make the best possible start to an active 2014, with lots of brilliant ways to get more creative, social, smart and adventurous.
Frankly, we’ve never seen this much use of illustration in a mainstream publication, period. You would probably have to go back to the lifestyle and women’s magazines of the 1960s to find something similar, and even then the illustrations were a lot more naturalistic than what we find in the pages of Do Something.
Doubly exciting is the fact that this is being brought to us by a newspaper, a medium hardly known for its design sense. (Emails of protest to the usual address, of course, but understand that we say this having worked in newspapers half our professional life.)
There is the strong temptation to assume that newspapers having been on a long march to the chopping block for some time, they have nothing at all to lose by experimenting with art and presentation now.