As a Cuban refugee the teenage Mario Garcia taught himself English from his local paper. He went on to become one of the world’s great newspaper designers working on 450 papers, including his latest project, The Observer’s redesign.

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Newspaper readers are a tough bunch to please. Change the shape, size, and design of an entire newspaper and you get a blogging firestorm. 
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The Observer’s Web site got a barrage of feedback from its readers when when it was relaunched on January 8 this year. 
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About two-thirds of the comments were negative, a third positive. Sales, however, were up. The man responsible for the paper’s redesign is 68-year-old Cuban-American Mario Garcia, CEO and founder of Garcia Media. 
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In a career spanning four decades, he has helped redesign 450 newspapers, from local rags to the Wall Street Journal. The Observer project though, was a high point. 
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“This has been one of the most satisfying consulting experiences of my career,” he says. A “one of a kind project,” he describes the nine-month long job as: “The ultimate collaborative effort where journalism meets design.” 
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That Garcia should mention journalism so soon in an interview about design is not surprising. He trained as a journalist and later taught at Syracuse University’s Newhouse school of public communication. 
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He ended up as the school’s professor of graphic arts. Since then he has lectured at universities in 14 countries, founded the graphic design programme at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and has presented at over 150 seminars. 
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