I just posted something on Alan Mutter's blog -- an item about planned redesigns at Tribune Company newspapers -- and realized afterward that hardly anybody currently employed at an American newspaper will have any idea why I referred to "funereal column rules" in Peter Palozzo's design for the old Chicago Daily News.
Friday I was chatting with a woman at work, much younger than myself, who has an unusual necklace, a gift from her newspaperman father. It's a Linotype matrix, a little brass mold for setting the letter F in type ("type" meaning molten lead, not pixels on a screen). She wore it on a visit to one of our newspapers. The executive editor asked her if it was some sort of Star Trek thing.
Here's the Palozzo explanation.
In the final days of the struggling Chicago Daily News, art director Peter Palozzo was brought in to try some visual shock therapy. He produced a design that had a jiggy new Bookman Swash logo and broke the pages into three vertical sections, each separated by a thick black line. You could fold the paper and read it on the El.
It was funereal, because in the days of hot type it was common for major stories of great sadness for a paper to "turn the rules" -- literally flip the lead column dividers upside down, so the fat base instead of the thin top presented itself. In other words, a thick black line.
Before this post there was not one single reference on the Internet to "turn the rules" and "hot type." Things change. We move on.