Media Magazine

La Gaceta of Tucuman Turns 100,  with Rich Design History, Too

Posted on the 29 May 2012 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

TAKEAWAY:  In Tucumán, Argentina, La Gaceta turns 100 years old on August 4, and it is celebration—-and remembering—-time.  Perhaps one of the best designed regional newspapers in the world, La Gaceta has managed to maintain its design top quality in spite of cuts.

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The front page of Sunday’s La Gaceta: celebrating 100 years


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This is a page from the Sunday edition of La Gaceta, devoted to the evolution of design in the newsppaer


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Cover of Entertainment: celebrating weekend music


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Tucuman’s love affair with jazz


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Electronic “pacifiers” and how they create addiction for teenagers


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Tucuman: time for Carnival


The glory days of design at La Gaceta

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Assorted wonderful section openers from La Gaceta through the years:  design director Sergio Fernandez writes me that “I could not help but opening the vaults to highlight the type of work our team has done over the years.“


It was a surprise email from Sergio Fernandez, design director of La Gaceta a couple of weeks ago, asking me to write something for a special edition of the newspaper, as it prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday.  I was only too happy to do so, since my memories of working with him and his team ranks at the top of my list in terms of the little project that could.

It was the summer of 1994 when I first went to the beautiful city of Tucuman, which has the well deserved description of the garden of Argentina.  But, what a surprise for me to realize that the efforts to redesign this newspaper would be incredibly difficult, as there was no infrastructure for design, no graphics department, and only great eagerness on the part of the team to take La Gaceta to the next level.

As I said before, it is also not the type of city where one finds readily waiting designers to take over.  But, alas, there were the most talented artists (yes, as in plastic artists, painters, illustrators0 dispersed all over the historic building of La Gaceta in the center of Tucuman.  It took me weeks to do my tour around the various departments, to discover a team that we assembled, under Sergio’s leadership.

La Gaceta’s design department became a reality, and the rest would be, as they say, history.  The pages began to reflect the freshness that only those who have never worked as “newspapers designers and/or artists” could bring.  La Gaceta went for the poster look on section fronts, and what amazing posters they were (some of them shown here today, courtesy of Sergio Fernandez).

It was not too long before international designers noticed it.  I personally included La Gaceta in my presentations worldwide, “the little train that could”, with inspiring stories of how one could build from zero, and still emerge with a winner.

La Gaceta of today

As has happened for so many newspapers, La Gaceta, too, has had to face the austerity of difficult economic times.

We no longer have so many of the sections that made us popular with readers and designers,“ laments Sergio Fernandez, who remains at the helm as the design director. “But we have new incentives, and a supplement for young people.“

According to Sergio, today’s La Gaceta carries three daily sections: The main news section, one devoted to Tucuman (which includes the old Actualidades, Entertainment and Services), and Sports.

Sergio reminds me that La Gaceta no longer enters many of the international design contests from which it received hundreds of awards.

It is a matter of not having enough money to pay for the expensive contest participation. We prefer to invest in things closer to home,“ Sergio adds. “But we are proud of our 160 awards, and the fact that for two consecutive years, we were the most design award winning newspaper in the world.“

I did write a column for La Gaceta’s Sunday opinion page, one of many that will mark the newspaper’s centennial celebration. You see my piece at the bottom right corner of the opinion page above here, with a headline that calls attention to the evolution of design in the newspaper.  For those who read in Spanish language, see link below.

To read my La Gaceta column in Spanish:

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Tucuman is located in the northwest of Argentina, an agriculturally rich part of the country, known for its expansive sugarcane fields, which produce over 60% of the sugar consumption of the country. A short drive from the city takes one into very picturesque views of a mountainous countryside.

Previous blog posts with references to La Gaceta of Tucumán:


The iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

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Video walkthrough of the iPad prototype of iPad Design Lab


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TheMarioBlog post #1026

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