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Chapter 7 (part 2)

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 1 month ago

Comments and Discussion:


All the aspects of the design of modern US newspaper were inspired by the European ideas.The commercial artists( as designers and illustrators from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar) introduced new art movements as:

• Cubism-In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form — instead of rendering objects from a single fixed angle, the artist depicts the subject from multiple angles simultaneously as an attempt to present the subject in the most complete manner. Often the surfaces of the facets, or planes, intersect at angles that show no recognizable depth. The background and object (or figure) planes interpenetrate one another creating the ambiguous shallow space characteristic of cubism. It was a complete and clearly defined aesthetic. Newspaper scraps are among the most usual items the artists pasted to their canvases. They went further by adding paper with a wood print, or other types of scraps. Later they pasted advertisements, as well. This helped reintroduce color into the cubist works. (Personal translation).

• Constructivism-“Social constructivism is a variety of cognitive constructivism that emphasizes the collaborative nature of much learning. Social constructivism was developed by post-revolutionary Soviet psychologist, Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky was a cognitive, but rejected the assumption made by cognitivists such as Piaget and Perry that it was possible to separate learning from its social context. He argued that all cognitive functions originate in, and must therefore be explained as products of, social interactions and that learning

• was not simply the assimilation and accommodation of new knowledge by learners; it was the process by which learners were integrated into a knowledge community”.(Encyclopedia Britannica)

• De Stijl-influenced by the Dada current, the Dutch for The Style current was a utopian philosophical approach to aesthetics, centred in a publication called de Stijl, which presented their ideas and designs. The founder of the publication and leader of the group was Theo van Doesburg, an architect.

• Suprematism- is an art movement focused on geometric forms (squares and circles.In which geometry was the principal headlight. This science and its principles spread mathematics’ functionalism into media and commercial arts.

“Suprematism liberates art from the ballast of the representational world.” (Malevich)




I’ve noticed another movements and I thought to develop them:

•Fauvism-current also known as wild beasts-the simplified lines made the subject of the painting easy to read, exaggerated perspectives and used arbitrary colors. They also emphasized freshness and spontaneity over finish.

•Dadaism- originates from the Romanian artists Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco's frequent use of the words da, da, meaning yes, yes in the Romanian language.

The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature (mainly poetry), theatre, and graphic design, and was characterized by absurdism, nihilism, deliberate irrationality, disillusionment, cynicism, chance, randomness, and the rejection of the prevailing standards in art.(personal enciclopedia)

•Surrealism-the current represents”Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.»(Britannica)

The modern current brought the expresionism,which its major tool was the image, and its task was to stimulate the emotional appeal, the subconscious and the supernatural.



TYPOGRAPHY-this domain will remain the living evidence of how the newspapers evolved, and represent the way printed journalism should look.

All the changes in this “chapter” of the newspapers, its new elements and features, appeared and disappeared like all the elements in the fashion.

The cosmopolitan rubrics of the newspaper (as books,entertainment,women,advertisements) were “testing” the variations, available for experiments.

The “tail” of the newspaper, its back page was hosting tabloid stories of crimes and emotional distress.

There existed two reasons in making any typographic changes:one,was the influence of artistic styles, contemporaneous and antecedent and second, was the influence of the underlying political economy.


In the few following lines I am making brief list of modern influences:

•Art deco inspired types

•Unusual fonts(outline versions and a cursive based on Roman lettering)

•In the genealogical column was used the block letter(or Old English)

•The magazine-style logotypes.


Another modern request was the standardization: the newspapers that type for each section should match the news content- front page containing only news summaries set in authoritative modernist typefaces.

Other rules imposed were the new typographic trends:

•Streamlined large-scale headlines typically in Bodoni, with standardized nameplates for section headings.

•Popular broadsheets and tabloids.



Professional journalism was not the only reason why design changed during the 1920s and 1930s.

The avant-garde artistic movements risen in Europe and spread over United States. One of the most important event to know European contemporary art for American people was the Armory Show in 1913 and soon afterwards, the outbreak of the first world war caused waves of European immigrants. Among them had been important and famous artists (designer and illustrators) who later on, worked for fashion magazines (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar) and created new design on newspapers, too.

During the 1920s, there were a sort of speediness in all technological areas and artists observed carefully what was happening around them and took inspirations for their works.

Response was not univocal but two different kinds of thoughts:


1. __functional__: make new ideas with no regard to the past. Artist movements were: Cubism, Constructivism, de Stijl and Suprematism. The most important thing for them was geometry.

2. __expressionism__: the heart of these movements were supremacy of image and colour everywhere.


While modernism was difficult to enter in American society because came from European left and socialist fringes, modernist forms had great success and they entered in the United States through two ways:

 typographers.

 advertising press where artists started to work during the 1930s.


For a better understanding of modern newspapers design and its development in social culture it is useful to focus our attention on: typography, imagery and layout.



I’ve found very interesting and curious the fact that, in the two schools of modern style (Reserved and Emphatic) we can see the division also between prestige broadsheets, such as the Wall Sreet Journal, and tabloids. Probably it isn’t true, but those things suggest me that the formers are older than the other. Is it right? I feel closer to the expressive form, the “younger”, with its wish to explore emotions, the subconscious and, so, new things, far from tradition.

Is it possible that this tabloids represent also a reaction against the more conservatives and previous newspapers?



Although the emphatic and reserved schools occur within broadsheets as well as tabloids, the screaming tabloid is much newer (historically). But of the two styles, the tabloid is the more conservative politically, because it invokes a moralism that can be prudish and narrow. The Syracuse Bugle, for example, was emphatic and playful, but also reactionary in its response to (and use of) tittilating content.



Did we realised that there is a Victorian newspaper in Italy? And it is also one of the youngest Italian newspapers, only few years old. See the example here below of IL FOGLIO directed by Giuliano Ferrara. It


Ok, it is not 100% Victorian but it looks to me clearly inspired by the old period. Knowing the subject (Ferrara) I understand that he can be a fun of a much cultural and traditional role of newspapers.



I wonder how this example relates to the conservative-liberal spectrum. Is the Victorian being used here to invoke old-style values (a conservative move in some respects) or to be playful or ironic about them?



I believe that Giuliano Ferrara could be a case study for psychologists. He is a well known journalist with a strong personality and strange look, 150 kg (at list) hard smokers, always strong opinions against the common sense or in favour to someone. He has a high cultural background, in terms of politics he started supporting the “far left” then moved to the right but never conservative, it’s difficult to explain, something like strong liberal.

Having said that I believe that the choice of a non-tradition layout comes from a need for distinction from other journalists, something related to his personality. In some way the old-styles in this case is telling that he is the champion of old journalism values and on his newspaper people can read alternative opinions from a inestimable source (himself).

I’ll bring a copy of IL FOGLIO tomorrow for the discussion in class.



By the way I found some pictures, of course Ferrara is the fat one.



















A designer revolution

Design change involved more than news people; it was also a designer's movement. As such it reflected artistic and design trends evident throughout the industrialized world. Commercial design in the 1920s and 1930s responded in general to the avant garde art movements collectively identified as modernism (Meggs, 1993). Modern art's arrival in the United States dates from the Armory Show of 1913, which showcased the design ideas of Europe. Later, European refugees from the Great War, trained in fine arts, brought visual ideas with them. Some landed jobs as commercial artists, principally designers and illustrators for fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, where their work gained a wide audience.


The burst of creative energy these artists carried with them had begun early in the new century and had at its root the broad changes in industrial machinery, transport, weaponry, communication media, political order, and intellectual life. These changes and, more importantly, their very speed invited two contradictory responses, giving birth to the artistic movements that gave modernism two distinct faces, the functional and the expressive (Ferebee, 1970). The urge to order, clarify, and make functional all that was new--and to disregard the old--found an outlet in art movements such as Cubism, Constructivism, de Stijl, and Suprematism. The principal tool of these movements was geometry, at least as they spread functionalism into commercial arts, where they took typographic form in the geometrically pure (unadorned) sans serif. The opposing urge led toward the expressive extreme, found in movements such as Fauvism, Dadaism, and Surrealism. The principal tool of expressionism (besides color) was the image, enlarged to become dominant in any context, with dramatic emphasis on emotional appeal, the subconscious, and the supra logical.


The new visual ideas invaded slowly. Modernism, a harbinger of cataclysmic change in Europe (Haskell, 1993), found capitalist America hostile ground at first. The ordering impulse lagged especially, because it arrived tainted by leftist and socialist political agendas in several European countries. Instead modernist forms entered by a circuitous route that bled them of their political associations and turned them, ultimately, into tools of corporatism and consumerism. In the case of newspapers, modernist ideas from the fine arts found entry through two vectors. Type workers at newspapers provided the first. In the 1920s, typographers, who admired the new asymmetrical type design as well as the revival of classic typefaces demonstrated in the private presses, attempted to transfer their ideas into newspaper work (Barnhurst, 1994). Later, avant garde artists who found employment in the advertising business applied their ideas to ads, which began to appear in newspapers during the 1930s.


General observations from cultural history suggest a linear narrative of design change for the period, moving the Victorian newspaper toward a vessel of modern design, from a mirror of the disordered world to an authoritative social map. Testing that narrative requires a detailed examination of newspapers from the period, with particular attention to three topics: typography, imagery, and layout.



Typography, although subtle and easily overlooked, provides the clearest evidence of how the newspapers evolved. Typographic changes were not random or highly individualistic, but conformed to larger constructs about how a newspaper ought to look. We encountered two general models in the initial years under study: the reserved Times school derived from the Victorian era and the emphatic Examiner school of the turn of the century. Newspapers differentiated themselves by selecting and deploying typography to match their self-definitions.


The Boston Evening Transcript of the 1920s, as a serious newspaper of record, wore headlines in several decks, stacked above a single column of text. Heads were middling to small in a mixture of three typefaces. Although it strayed quite far from its roots in the reserved Victorianism of the London Times, all of its subsequent design changes, mentioned in what follows, conform to expectations that the Transcript took important matters seriously.


The Chicago Daily News sought a middle road in the 1920s. Its main front page and news pages relied on three fairly gray typefaces, adhering to the Times school. Its street wrapper and some interior pages, however, added a few typographic signs of the emphatic school, including banner headlines and bold secondary headlines. In its changes over the two decades, the Daily News continued to invoke both these declarative and the exclamatory modes, even as it shifted toward modern styles of type.


In contrast, the Chicago Herald and Examiner began the period with type that leaned strongly toward the emphatic school. Banner headlines topped the pages, and subordinate headlines were made of moderately sized contrasting typefaces. This exclamatory and energetic quality makes intelligible some later design decisions that would otherwise be surprising.


Finally, the Denver Post and the Syracuse Bugle stayed firmly in the emphatic camp. The Post typography had a wild energy produced by extreme contrasts, not only of typefaces but also of fonts: bold and light, capital and small, condensed and expanded, and italic and regular letters. The Bugle provided constant surprises with its type, sometimes importing a completely new headline face for a single story. Despite some variations, both these newspapers remained quite stable in their display typography; for all their energy, the type did not go through the great changes found in other newspapers.


Most of the changes in typography occurred in wave-like patterns, that is, variations that came and went with short-term daily practice or longer-term with changing fashion. For example, the popular typeface Cheltenham with its blocky serifs first appeared on feature pages of the Transcript in the 1920s, disappeared in 1928, reappeared in 1930, grew in importance to become the principal headline face in 1935, dwindled in 1937, and reappeared in 1940 in banner headlines only. Such changes at times produced a ratchet effect, imparting each time some element that permanently redefined the newspaper and made its typographic image more modern. In the Transcript example, another typeface, Bodoni (a high-contrast modern roman with hairline serifs), became the standard head dress in 1928. Its use also waxed and waned, until it was superseded by Cheltenham in the 1930s. But the short period of Bodoni use left a residual effect. Its specific features required heads in upper and lower case to run larger and use more space to be legible. Headlines thereafter remained larger in scale and continued to use upper and lowercase letters, two signs of modernism.


The vector of innovation ran consistent through all the papers, guided by the canons of serious journalism. Front pages, news pages, and sports pages (in that order) remained more or less sacrosanct, ruled by conservatism and resistant to typographic change. Feature pages, such as radio, books, entertainment, and women (in roughly that order) were more open to typographic variation, available for experimentation. A typical example occurred in the Chicago Daily News. Bodoni first appeared in 1929 on feature pages, then moved to news pages, made the front page by 1931, and became one of the three largest headlines in 1932. As it traveled from women's stories, through local news, to page one, Bodoni appeared in increasingly strident fonts, bold, condensed, italic, and all-capitals for emphasis.


Change itself was a constant, revealing the ongoing struggle to redefine journalism through its visible form. Despite day-to-day wobbles in the trajectory, two general processes came clear. Most changes were evolutionary, gradually shifting the mix of types used. The Herald and Examiner headline dress began in quite pure state in the early 1920s and wove tenaciously in and out of all subsequent type variations. The back page of the paper, which started out in typical news dress, slowly came to accommodate many tabloid stories of crime and emotional distress. From about 1935, the page began to acquire distinctive typefaces in larger sizes - a particularly tabloid look. The paper then, predictably, became a tabloid in 1938, applying generally many of the typographic effects developed on the back page.


The second process involved abrupt typographic change. The precipitous redesigns in some cases left only the nameplate intact. For example, in 1928 the Boston Evening Transcript suddenly abandoned its Victorian-inspired head dress in favor of streamlined Bodoni, a new, purist typography that lasted only until 1930. After a period of tinkering, the newspaper underwent another complete facelift in 1940 and then ceased publishing in 1941, right after its dramatic redesign. Although giving the impression of decisive action, quick make-overs indicated a newspaper had lost its way, whereas evolutionary, sometimes random-seeming change moved a newspaper more resolutely toward modernism.


The forces driving typographic changes we could only surmise from the printed record. Two are most salient: the influence of artistic styles, contemporaneous and antecedent, and the influence of the underlying political economy. In the more serious press, hard news pages seemed influenced only by design styles derived from newspaper fashions (rather than from the arts proper). The typeface Bodoni in streamlined (upper and lower case) headlines became established as the height of newspaper fashion in 1931, when the Ayer & Sons advertising agency gave its first newspaper design award to the New York Herald Tribune designed by Ben Sherbow (Hutt, 1973). The Boston Evening Transcript had made the shift to Bodoni in 1928, and the Chicago Daily News moved the face from feature pages onto the front page in 1931.


The soft news or feature pages proved more directly amenable to design styles found in the fine as well as commercial arts. This is especially true at the emphatic papers. The Herald and Examiner played with Art Deco-inspired types. The Post tried on unusual fonts (such as outline versions and a cursive based on Roman lettering) for full-page features. Other newspapers were less likely to venture into the art realm. In the Chicago Daily News, Art Deco-inspired nameplates for feature sections appeared in 1932 but lasted only a year before being replaced with something more classical. The reserved Transcript was the least experimental, using such conservative devices as a blackletter (or Old English) label for its genealogical column. Feature typography also felt the influence of European émigré artists in the United States, whose work as magazine art directors had a second hand effect as newspapers redesigned the special sections. When the Daily News Midweek Features section separated from the broadsheet paper and became tabloid size, it acquired a magazine-style logotype. The book review section of the Transcript came out in 1937 with a typeface entirely unrelated to anything in the newspaper - an odd, sinewy echo of Art Nouveau designs.


Within the twenty years studied, the rate of design change generally increased to match the pace of political and economic change. The relative stability visible in the early 1920s designs crumbled around the time of the stock market crash. Typographic changes began to accelerate in 1928 and 1929 and reached a quick tempo in the early 1930s. Like other industries faced with a sudden collapse in demand, newspapers began to encourage consumption by using planned obsolescence, a strategy of regular redesigns to make products fulfill the social urge to keep up with the latest style (Arens & Sheldon, 1932). The Chicago Daily News, for example, began periodic redesigns for section headings in 1932. The heads were altered in 1933 and completely replaced in 1934 (with a type similar to the old Saturday Evening Post logotype), and these in turn got supplanted in 1936 only to return in several versions from 1937 through 1939.


Changes in the 1930s also opened the door to forms of modernist order originally inspired by the leftist European thought mentioned previously. When redesigning its section headings in 1932, the Chicago Daily News introduced standardization. In place of the vernacular newspaper notion that type for each section should match the news content, the redesign imposed a modern notion of consistency and uniformity of design throughout. The balance of power between news and art at the newspaper had shifted, but the new design control served marketing rather than socialist purposes. Related changes occurred throughout the decade, as newspapers saw continuous experimentation, with a surge of change from 1938 to 1940. The most dramatic of these (setting aside the Herald and Examiner conversion to tabloid) was the Transcript's move in 1940 to a front page containing only news summaries, set in authoritative modernist typefaces (such as Futura). This change followed a proposal by Herbert Brucker of Columbia University, who experimented with the format by converting a sample front page of the New York Herald Tribune into a summary front page he called Gist (Brucker, 1937).


The modernist system of design control also advanced as the newspapers moved toward greater emphasis and hierarchy. Contrasts grew between typefaces used together, between fonts (such as bold or light, condensed or expanded, italic or roman versions) of the same typeface, and between headline sizes. The newspapers used such contrasts to assign emphasis and rank stories. Greater hierarchy resulted by the end of the period in the Transcript, the Daily News, and the Herald and Examiner. Hierarchy also grew as the news sections followed a typographic pecking order, not only defining an inner sanctum where typefaces slowly gained entry but also establishing a standard presence beneath the veneer of typographic flourishes on feature pages. Clear hierarchy required that the newspapers adopt a grander scale. Typography, on the whole, got larger, and big headlines occupied more space on the page. This tendency held for all the newspapers, but especially for the Herald and Examiner and the Bugle.


Typographic trends clearly marked the newspapers' shift from Victorian to modern design and from vernacular (journalistic) to professional (artistic) design. At the end of the score of years under study, two new, modern schools had emerged in the typography. One for serious newspapers included streamlined large-scale headlines typically in Bodoni, with standardized nameplates for section headings, and, in some cases, for the logotypes and sigs (the individual designs combining type, lines, and sometimes imagery) used to mark regular columns. The other, for popular broadsheets and tabloids, included the brash circus of high-contrast typefaces descended from the turn-of-the-century emphatic Victorian style.

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