Simon Hill

Express & Star / Shropshire Star

My job is to showcase the words of our amazing writers and sub editors. I try to entice the reader, to make them stop and look at a page in more detail - or to buy a copy of the newspaper from the news stand, where it is fighting for attention among a sea of national publications. My approach is to use strong typography and layout, to make the content as engaging and aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to work on some of the biggest stories for a generation or more, as well as covering major anniversaries, including the outbreak of the Falklands War and the terrorist attacks of September 11, where I was able to combine historic, hard-hitting pictures to illustrate the precious interviews that we are privileged to have in our archive at the Midland News Association. The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is the biggest news story I have worked on in my career. Although we had prepared and refined some obituary pages in advance, the quick turnaround of pulling together a whole paper, done in four hours, was a tremendous challenge. My role was to oversee the design and theme of all the pages and I feel, we delivered an exceptional newspaper that attracted a sales uplift in excess of 20 per cent. In the days following the Queen's death, and in our coverage of her funeral, we had to make sure our newspapers continued to engage readers. I was very conscious that this was a unique time in our history as a nation and as a newspaper and my designs reflected the gravity of this period. These publications were effectively souvenirs for people so they had to look good every day and I believe the examples included reflect this. Finally, I have also overseen a recent redesign of our newspaper templates to create a more modern, appealing format for our readers. The layout for pages is now much more design-led and visually appealing. Teaching layout subs typography skills, and working within grids and design principles, is now part of my role, and to overall enhance the look and feel of news, features and sport pages within our newspapers. Martin Wright, Editor-in-Chief Express & Star / Shropshire Star: Simon is an exceptional designer who has transformed the look and feel of our newspapers. While continuing to maintain our high story count, Simon's designs nonetheless allow greater creativity to cover major stories presenting our content in a clear but attractive manner that has made our titles feel more modern and accessible. His front page designs are particularly effective, with some stunning work in recent weeks and months. There is no doubt, for instance, that his front-page design on our edition reporting the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II played a significant part in the 20 per cent lift in sales we saw.