The New York Times For Kids editorial design

The New York Times’ monthly print section uses an engaging approach to design to get children interested in current affairs from a young age

In 2017, the New York Times created a special broadsheet section of its Sunday newspaper. Featuring sports, news, food and arts content, along with opinion pieces and how-to guides, it mimicked the format of the regular paper, but with one crucial difference: it was designed and written entirely with kids in mind.

Aimed at readers aged eight to 13, the New York Times For Kids came out of a wider initiative to experiment with new print formats. It was created in collaboration with school children from Queens, New York, recruiting teenage consultants to advise on content and inviting pupils to create pieces on topics they cared about.

Originally intended as a one-off, the response to the first edition was so positive the section has since become one of the paper’s most-loved regular features. Intended to engage kids creatively with the news while never talking down to them, its success is all the more impressive considering the lack of other current affairs titles and platforms aimed at kids.

“There really isn’t, or hasn’t been, anything out there quite like this brand,” says NYT design director Debra Bishop. “We don’t have a mandate to ‘kidify’ the visuals for our readers, and we didn’t depend on focus groups when we started, which tends to dilute innovation. We often direct illustrators to keep their art appropriate for kids but to imagine they are working for a world-class publication, such as the New York Times Magazine, because kids today are visually sophisticated.”

In this context, the fact that the section is a repeat winner in the Creative Review Annual Awards is testament to its continued emphasis on the importance of creativity. This year, the team behind it have brought to life subjects as varied as puberty and the bottom of the ocean through imaginative illustrations and engaging editorial design. By giving every issue a completely unique look and feel, they are ensuring the section will continue to delight kids for years to come.

Jess Marie, creative director at Dragon Rouge New York and a judge for the Annual Awards, explains why the project was picked as a winner:

Category: Print
Brand: The New York Times
Design Director: Deb Bishop
Contributing Art Director: Ken DeLago
Senior Designer: Fernanda Didini
Designer: Mia Meredith
Photo Editor: Rory Walsh
Creative Director: Gail Bichler