Rocky Mountain News: Evolution of the nameplate

henrypijames's picture

The Rocky Mountain News published its Final Edition yesterday, nearly 150 years after the founding of the paper. The 52 page commemorative section "Rocky Mountain News History" is available online, containing many interesting things related to the layout, particularly the "Evolution of the nameplate" on page 6 to 7:

metalfoot's picture

It's sad to see once-great newspapers closed down. Thanks for the link to the pictorial!

henrypijames's picture

I find it also interesting that Minion was chosen for the goodbye editorial on the front page, instead of its usual typeface for the running text, SunText (which I can't find anything about). I can't imagine any plausible reason for this -- especially because Minion is a fairly new typeface and couldn't possibly be, for instance, what was used when the paper started.

Reed Reibstein's picture

I was wondering about the Minion, too, since they have such nice typography after working with Roger Black. Perhaps they thought their normal type was too newsy and wanted something more elegant?

Miguel Sousa's picture

Or something that makes it look more like a (goodbye) letter.

henrypijames's picture

@Miguel: I don't think so -- after all, there're plenty of highly legible script typefaces out there.

Nick Shinn's picture

Re. Minion: it was used to contrast with the style of the first edition, so that the Then and Now elements of the final front page are in distinction. The designer chose to oppose the Modernity of classic news types with an older, humanist form.

henrypijames's picture

@Nick: Now I'm even more confused than before. Are you saying that not only does the two decade old Minion appear stylistically "older" than the newspaper typeface one and a half century ago, but it is actually the designer's intention to show this "contrast"? As in "old is new, new is old"?

You don't think the typical newspaper typeface today -- like Rocky's SunText -- is different enough from the typeface used for the First Edition? And even that'd be the case, I'd have thought that the overall negative impact of using a typeface that people can't identify with the newspaper for its Final Edition outweighs any particular gain from the purely aesthetic perspective.

Nick Shinn's picture is actually the designer’s intention to show this “contrast”? As in “old is new, new is old”?

That's incidental. As I see it, the designer wanted to give the farewell message an otherness that visually separated it from the reproduction of the first issue that is part of the same page. Such overt contrast is the graphic concept of the page. One way to do it was to use a non-newspaper face, such as the humanist Minion.

henrypijames's picture

Actually, I'm doubtful you can call Minion a "non-newspaper face". Are humanist typefaces generally considered "non-newspaper"? If so, I don't understand why. One of Minion's most outstanding properties is its (visually discrete) narrowness, which makes it a great choice for anything where space matters. One could argue that nowhere does space matter more than in newspapers.

hrant's picture

Minion is absolutely not a news face. For display it's too mannered, while for text its vertical proportions are way off.

Also, concerning narrowness, it's actually not necessarily space-saving, especially in a newspaper. The most sense I've managed to make on this is here, about 2/3-rds of the way down:


Nick Shinn's picture

I’m doubtful you can call Minion a “non-newspaper face”...One could argue

One could indeed argue about typographic principles.
But I'm just reporting the facts.
Humanist faces such as Minion are rarely used for newspapers.
Of Robert Slimbach's faces, Utopia has founf favour for news text.

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