Gee Whillickers!

Newspaper and Twain

For a time in his life, Mark Twain was the editor of a small Missouri newspaper. One day he received a letter from a reader who had found a spider in his paper and wrote to inquire whether this portended good or bad luck.

“Finding a spider in your paper,” Twain replied, “is neither good luck nor bad. The spider was merely looking over our paper to see which merchant was not advertising so that he could go to that store, spin his web across the door, and lead a life of undisturbed peace ever afterward.”

Earlier, an editor once admonished his cub reporter, Twain, never to state as fact anything to which he could not personally attest. Twain did just that. Have a look at the resulting account of a gala social event:

“A woman giving the name of Mrs. James Jones, who is reported to be one of the society leaders of the city, is said to have given what purported to be a party yesterday to a number of alleged ladies. The hostess claims to be the wife of a reputed attorney.”

Inspired Ideas!

Comic Stripped Ads

Want to think up and design ads that are internationally acclaimed and award winning? It’s easier than you might think—all you have to do is open your local paper to the funnies!

2003 Raid® Ad

Early ’90s
The cartoon, “The last thing a fly ever sees,” was created by The Farside® cartoonist Gary Larsen.

Below is a partial image of an outdoor ad for a bug spray that uses a similar tagline to Larsen’s caption—it also won an advertising award.

2003 Winner of the Cannes’ Grand Prix outdoor category

Cartoon found on the web.

Cartoonist: Eric Decetis

Camp Light Juice ad, winner of the Cannes Bronze Lion.


Off with Her Masthead!
The term “masthead” is frequently misused to describe the nameplate or banner of a magazine, newsletter or newspaper.

Here’s what it actually is: the box or column with the publication credits, headed by the publication name, that lists sponsors, editors, writers, designers, illustrators, photographers, and others, along with contact and advertising info.

Banner or Nameplate: the title or logo of the name of a periodical, which appears on the cover, often with date and serial info. The term nameplate comes from the fact that earlier typesetting and printing was done by hand with metal type blocks, set character by character, to create printing plates. So, when putting together the cover, you would use only a single metal plate to produce the banner—the nameplate.

Kicker: a brief phrase or sentence lead-in to a story or chapter; usually set smaller than the headline or chapter title, but larger than text type.

Headline and Subhead: a line or lines of copy set in a larger face than the body copy. Used to get attention and create interest or act as a division between different articles or stories. Subheads are normally smaller than heads but still larger or distinct from the body copy and act as a further subdivision.

Let’s Review
So, using all of these terms in a newsletter for example, the sequence starts with the banner (or nameplate) then a kicker, then a headline, then a subhead, and you wouldn’t run across the masthead until later in the publication.