The curse of automatic hyphenation (part 3642)

Sportswashing IMG_3617 960pxAnother good demonstration in today’s Guardian of why sub-editors are still needed. “Sportswashing” is a great word describing an important concept in today’s fast changing world. However, the H&J algorithm in the newspaper’s typesetting program obviously can’t cope with it, and has inserted a hyphen after the letter t. It has thereby created the splendid new compound word of “sport-swashing”, evoking the spectacle of a new Olympic role for Errol Flynn, swinging a sword as he climbs a spiral staircase, taking on all-comers as he does so.

I don’t want to be too critical of the newspaper’s sports writers and subs who produce daily miracles in getting reports of football matches which finished at 10pm into a printed paper which arrives at my newsagent by 7am the next day. The whole production staff deserve huge credit and support for this.

But there should still be time for someone to check the text for hyphenation errors, and insert the odd discretionary hyphen or two.

Grumble from the old sub sitting in the corner over.


How the Guardian tabloid masthead has evolved

Two weeks into the Guardian’s redesign as a tabloid, it’s interesting to see how the masthead has evolved. Here are the mastheads from the first five days:

Safe to say, there is a lot going on in all of them.

But it seems that now it has been decided to change things a bit – mainly by introducing a faint blue tint into the background. And on both Monday and Tuesday, the number of other items in the box was reduced considerably. Here is yesterday’s masthead (6 February):

The words The Guardian have been lifted slightly to leave space between them and the four fine rules which separate the masthead from the splash headline below. The typography is restricted to two shades of blue and black.

However, today (7 February) – bang! All the clutter is back, and the colour palette for the typography has been wildly expanded.

It’s a design which is obviously evolving.

I’m still not sold on the type used in the masthead itself. It was described on the first day as being specially drawn for the purpose. To me, it looks too much like that ghastly 70s kitsch typeface, ITC Tiffany Heavy:

I know the individual letterforms aren’t much the same, but it is the overall effect which immediately reminded me. Each to their own, I suppose.