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A newspaper page is made up of varying degrees of whites, grays and blacks. Some pages may contain other colors. A good editor strives for relative balance of colors on a page and will not let any color dominate the page. You will not have any problems with white pages, black pages or any other colored pages; your concern is staying away from gray pages.

There are many ways to relieve grayness, or gray-out, which is created by large areas of body type. One way is to use multicolumn pictures to break up columns of type. Another way is to use thumbnail photographs.

Type also can be used effectively to relieve grayness. To breakup gray areas in a long story, you can set selected paragraphs in boldface type, if used sparingly. Another method of breaking up long gray stories is to use boldface subheads set about two points larger than your body type size. A third method of using type to break up grayness is to use boldface, all-cap lead-ins. This method is particularly effective in matter set in wider measures. In two-column matter, the first three to five words of the paragraph containing a lead-in can be set in boldface and all caps, and in one-column matter, the first one to three words of the paragraph can be set in boldface and all caps.

The paragraphs to be set in any of these boldfaced methods should be the paragraphs that introduce anew element into the story or ones that contain information of more than usual interest. Two paragraphs using the same boldfaced method should not be run side by side because they tend to cancel each other out. Note that the use of boldface type is not favored by the editors of contemporary newspapers as much as by the editors with traditional leanings. (More about traditional and contemporary designs will be presented later in this chapter.) "Modem" editors rely on the use of different design concepts to eliminate large gray areas on their pages and consequently have little use for boldface type, except possibly as subheads.

Other useful devices in breaking up grayness are initial letters (mentioned earlier in this chapter), kickers and hammerheads (covered in Chapter 9) and sandwiches.

A sandwich is a device for handling "reefers" (References to a related story on another page). It is a small, sideless box made with the same rule used for regular boxes. The reefer type in the sandwich should be set in boldface and not be indented. No headline is needed and it should be brief, containing not more than two or three lines.

The sandwich should be placed about 2 1/2 inches deep into the story. Presumably, this practice gives the reader enough time to become interested enough in the subject being addressed to want the related information being offered. The use of the sandwich assumes the reader will immediately turn to the related story, read it and then return to the original story and continue reading below the sandwich.

Special effects can be obtained with special art, such as boxes and ornaments (art borders around individual stories, announcements and ads or the entire page). These devices are also effective gray breakers but should be used sparingly, so their use does not create a cluttered effect. In using boxes, you can indent a story on all sides and use a box of white space all around the story. You can also indent on all sides of a story and then use a ruled box. Dingbats, once in vogue, are now considered old-fashioned and are shunned by modem editors. White space provides margins to frame your page. Side margins should be the same width, but bottom margins should be about one-fourth wider than your top margins to give your page a lifted look White space is also used to give breathing room around headlines and pictures in much the same manner as margins frame the page. However, you should make an effort to avoid the appearance of trapped white space. White space should run to the outside of the page.


Rules are commonly used typographic devices in newspaper makeup. Properly used, they separate unrelated items and unite related ones. The two types of rules used are the column rule and the cutoff rule.

Column Rule

The column rule is a vertical, thin line that runs from the top to the bottom of a newspaper page. Use the column rule to separate columns of type and to separate unrelated items, such as photographs and stories, from the rest of the page. Part of a column can be deleted to indicate that the items joined are related

Cutoff Rule

A cutoff rule is a horizontal, thin line that runs across one or more columns of a newspaper page, depending on the width of the items to be separated or united. A cutoff rule is used to separate unrelated items, such as boxes, photographs, multicolumn headlines and advertisements, from the rest of the page. A cutoff rule helps the reader's eye turn the corner from where a story ends in one column to where it begins in the next column, except when the story wraps from the bottom of a page. Then no cutoff rule is needed


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