NPR Visuals Team Wins at SND Best of Digital Design Awards

February 2016

The NPR Visuals Team won two awards from the Society for News Design Feb. 21, 2016. The team earned Silver Medals at SND’s Best of Digital Design Awards for “Rain Forest Was Here” in the “Features: Single-subject project” category, and “Wes Lindamood Portfolio” in the “Individual Portfolio of Work” category.

“Rain Forest Was Here”, created by the NPR Visuals Team

“Rain Forest Was Here” explores the effects of deforestation across South America’s Amazon rain forest. Immersive photos, maps and charts accompany Lourdes Garcia-Navarro’s interviews with government officials, farmers, vigilante environmentalists and more. Photos are by Kainaz Amaria, and data reporting and graphics are by Tyler Fisher. 

Users can also navigate the NPR Visuals Team piece in Spanish and Portuguese.

Screenshot from "Rain Forest Was Here"

Screenshot from NPR Visuals Team’s “Rain Forest Was Here”


Screenshot from NPR Visuals Team’s “Rain Forest Was Here”


Here’s what the SND judges said about “Rain Forest Was Here”:

Unique and excellent visual journalism. It shows, it teaches, it explains. The translations were well done. The narrative arc was well-paced and the graphics were deftly integrated. NPR has set their own high bar for this type of storytelling and this project shines. Deceptively simple and seamless; it was totally immersive and poetic. It makes you lean forward and back. The experience works thoughtfully across devices and screen sizes. This caliber of storytelling requires great photography, which this delivers.

“Drowned Out”, created by the NPR Visuals Team

NPR Senior Interaction Designer Wes Lindamood also received a Silver Medal for his individual portfolio. In “Drowned Out”, an interactive multimedia piece, the NPR Visuals Team weaves images and audio to submerge users into the world of whales. An enthralling NASA visualization of ocean surface currents amplifies interviews and sounds, mimicking the marine mammal’s perspective.

NPR’s Chris Joyce and Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bill McQuay led the project’s interviewing and reporting. Wes Lindamood, Tyler Fisher, Becky Lettenberger and Claire O’Neill produced the piece.


NPR Visuals Team

Screenshot from NPR Visuals Team’s “Drowned Out”

NPR Visuals Team

Screenshot from NPR Visuals Team’s “Drowned Out”


SND judges’ remarks on Wes Lindamood’s portfolio:

Impressive variety and well executed — big visuals, layered smartly with maps, charts, along with well-executed and high-utility product design. Excellent photo editing throughout that meets the high expectation of full-screen. This checks a lot of boxes when it comes to immersive storytelling. The audio experience of the whales story is incredibly emotional and mesmerizing and invites you to focus on what you’re hearing without being fussy.

The Society for News Design is an international organization for news media professionals and visual communicators who create print, web, mobile publications and products, according to its website. The SND’s annual Best of Digital Design Awards rewards skill, innovation and high-quality digital journalism from all news sites around the world. 

The NPR Visuals Team commenced in 2013, when the news application and multimedia teams decided to merge after years of collaboration. They shared a mission to make audiences “care” about stories with dynamic, multimedia experiences. The team spearheads photographs and video for enterprise news stories, charts, maps, and other daily news graphics, data-driven news applications and visualizations, and visual, web-native stories

Want to align your brand with innovative digital content created by the NPR Visuals Team and more? Consider sponsoring NPR across digital platforms, including, NPR Podcasts and NPR One