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Exclusive: Edmund Arnold was the father of news design

Monday, February 12, 2007

Press release from the issuing company

February 12, 2007 -- (WhatTheyThink.com - As remembered by Frank Romano) -- Edmund Arnold, died on February 2nd at 93. He was a typography and design expert who changed the look of the modern newspaper. By executing hundreds of newspaper redesigns and inspiring generations of students, Arnold helped make newspapers more visually interesting. Arnold's design concepts concerned how to arrange typography and graphics on the newspaper page to enhance readability. When an editor puts the lead story at the upper right of the front page, they are following one of Arnold's "Ancient Axioms," as he titled a book in 1978. He was opinionated, pugnacious, and witty. He started at the Frakenmuth, MI News, where he became editor and then publisher, a job he kept until 1969. He took time out to serve in World War II and covered the Battle of the Bulge for Stars and Stripes. He loved a restaurant in town that served fried chicken. In 1954, he moved to Brooklyn, NY to work for the Mergenthaler Linotype Co. as editor of Linotype News and as ad manager. He toured the country to address editors about typography and design. He edited Linotype News for many years, even after he left to teach at Syracuse University. I worked in the Mergenthaler ad department and Ed had recommended Art Koop to be the new Linotype ad manager. I worked for Art and Ed was in on a regular basis. The first time my name ever appeared in print was in an issue of the Linotype News. Our Naval Air Squadron spent two weeks in Guantanamo Bay and we were asked to help out on the base. I headed for the print shop. The Lino operator had a fan blowing on the pot of molten lead and this was throwing the thermostat off. And here I am. He published "Functional Newspaper Design" in 1956, which became the standard text on the subject until superseded by his "Modern Newspaper Design" in 1969. He was retained at Syracuse University in 1960 and was one of the few journalism professors in America to teach graphic design. Later, in 1975, he moved to Virginia Commonwealth University. His most famous book is ?Ink on Paper.? Arnold also helped redesign hundreds of newspapers in America and abroad. He had a notebook, which I have a copy of, with 85 numbered paragraphs on newspaper design. He would go through a paper and write paragraph numbers. Our office secretary, Emily Bauman, would re-type them in a multi-page letter and the recipient would be amazed at the level of detail. He told the SND's Design magazine about "The Gutenberg Principle" -- "When I pick up a piece of printed paper, I go immediately to the top lefthand corner and when I get to the bottom right I'm done and I turn the page. That's it!" Arnold first developed modular design, which used layout to draw attention to an individual story and used white space to emphasize it, for the Christian Science Monitor. Ten years after retiring, he moved to a retirement community in Roanoke, VA, in 1993 and taught part time at local colleges. His name may not be known to many, but his ideas will live forever.

 

 

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