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Newspaper Titles

Title Banners from Newspapers
This is part of my pages on Typeface or Font Readability.
What on earth is this? Is it a Chinese pictogram? Answers on a postcard to . . . Of course, we know what it is, it’s a capital letter I. Seen in context as below, that’s obvious.
The typeface is called Engravers Old English, it’s a font of the Blackletter type and this particular example is based upon the Bitstream version, see
The Old English typeface has some letters that, looked at in isolation, make rather stylish designs that may not be immediately obvious what they are, but when seen as part of a word are widely recognised as perfectly readable, and I can state that so confidently because Blackletter fonts are used by a number of newspapers for their title, and so far as I am aware you don’t hear people complaining that the titles are hard to decipher.
Newspapers that have an Old English Blackletter title don’t necessarily use the Bitstream version of course; in fact probably none of them do. They’ll all be slightly different from one another; here are some examples, all current when I last looked:
New York Times. Note the capital T, which is quite different from the other examples on this page.
The Washington Post. See the difference between the capital W and that of The Westmorland Gazette, below, and also compare the lower case g with that of the Chicago Tribune, The Daily Telegraph and Il Messaggero.
Chicago Tribune. Notice the lower case g and compare it with that of Il Messaggero below.
Los Angeles Times. Another design of lower case g.
Daily Telegraph (UK). The typeface is quite stylised. It looks traditional at first sight, but compare the T and the a with the other typefaces on this page and you can see that it is much less fussy and more modern and lively-looking. All the letters are like that, for example look at the D.
Daily Mail (UK). Look at the a and the M which are relatively simple and stylised, but the typeface has a very fancy y and a somewhat fussy D. The overall effect is simple while looking solid and traditional at first sight, which fits with the tone of the paper exactly.
Le Monde. Stylish, eh?
Lapin Kansa, a Finnish newspaper. Has the double-line look like Le Monde and the Los Angeles Times, but notice that the jiggedy-jaggedy L is different from either of those, and that the capital K is interesting, for I think that if you did not know that the newspaper is called Lapin Kansa, you'd probably think it was Lapin Ransa. But then once you get to know the typeface, you get it right no trouble.
Fredriksstadt Blad (Norway). Double s and the wonderfully elaborate capital B, though if you compare the lower case a with other examples on this page the letters are not so fancy and fiddly. Strictly this is not an Old English font but a Gotisch Fraktur – roots are in old German rather than old English.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Zurich). Another Gotisch Fraktur made stylish, very stylish, especially those Z’s, though also the N and the curly lower case g.
Il Messaggero (Rome). One of my favourites, not least because the Italian masculine singular definite article il begins with an I and a capital I is what we started this page with. Il Messaggero has stylish body text too. Details about the design of Il Messaggero at Sergio Juan Design Studio.
Ethnos (Athens) (Ethnos is the Greek word for nation). Another favourite, I like the stylish lettering. Simple equal-weight sans-serif. Handily the word has an N as its middle letter, which anchors the two letters on each side that can be made into circles. The word Ethnos in a more traditional font is ΕΘΝΟΣ, or in case that didn’t render correctly:
This is the only title on this page that is all-capitals. Had it been in title case it would have looked something like Εθνοσ – which might have opened completely different possibilities for a stylish banner.
The Westmorland Gazette (UK). This is definitely, definitely one of my favourites because of that capital W. Put that by itself and you’d really begin to wonder what it is. But in context you can read the title OK, no? Here it is by itself, below:


Anonymous said...

yeah, not helpful or anything

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...


Jade Graham said...

because Blackletter fonts are used by a number of newspapers for their title, and so far as I am aware you don’t hear people complaining that the titles are hard to decipher. chicago banners

Anonymous said...

but what font would you use to get that?...

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