The New York Times is quite possibly the worlds most famous newspaper. The NYT website has an Alexa ranking of 101, an average visit time of 4.6 minutes and has over 100,000 websites linking back to its content. They must be doing something right! I read the NYT (website) on a regular basis, but until now I never stopped to think about what exactly pulls me in about the design of this site.

1 Designed by Khoi Vinh

Haven’t heard of Khoi Vinh? Proceed directly to and block out a few hours of your schedule. You will engrossed in his blog. Khoi Vinh is the design director for the in-house team at the New York Times. Khoi is the guy in charge of the NYT website. His clean design style is evident in the design of the site.

2 Grids, grids, grids OH MY!!!

6 column grid structure of the NYT website

The NYT website is extremely well organized – which is probably an understatement. The design is based on a 6 column grid. Everything just feels so nice, and in its rightful place. Grids impart a sense of structure and order to a website.

To me, using grids is very much like alphabetizing things… sooner or later, you realize that the alphabet is an incredibly useful organizing principle. So there was a certain amount of inevitability to it.

- Khoi Vinh on grids

3 Typography & Hierarchy

Hierarchy is one of the most important elements in newspaper design. When I squint my eyes at the NYT website the hierarchy is still evident. The website does an excellent job of differentiating headlines by weight, size and color.

4 Breaking outside the box

I will NEVER get tired of this. I do this all the time in my designs, and I just think its such a nice easy touch to add depth and break out of the ‘box’ of web design. These titles and simple illustrations ad hierarchy and focus to the pages titles and headines.

5 Great content

Not a design element, but I think that the technology (read: nerd) section of the site is very good. This is probably what I read most (besides scanning the headlines). The NYT covers a huge variety of topics on a daily basis – so there’s something in there for everyone.

What do you think?

What newspaper websites or online publications do you read? Any out there that have amazing design? Leave a comment and let me know!