The Drummer’s Masthead

The Granby Drummer‘s masthead has changed throughout the years. I was responsible for the 2003 redesign.

[Image: "The Granby Drummer" masthead, circa 2002]

Drummer masthead, circa 2002

The previous masthead went through several minor variations. One such variation is shown above. The capital “D” was the major element in the previous redesign; the original Drummer logo had a lowercase “d.”

[Image: "The Granby Drummer" masthead as of May 2003]

Drummer masthead, May 2003

To update the Drummer‘s front page, and give it a clean, modern appearance befitting its status as a “grown-up” newspaper, I began by scanning the original hand-drawn type into the computer. Using Macromedia FreeHand, I traced the letterforms. The tracings were “tweaked” to make them more uniform without removing the character of the original hand-drawn letters. The letters were drawn closer together, reducing awkward spacing between the letters and giving it a more compact, modern appearance.

It took a few iterations to get it just right. The April 2003 edition was the first to use the FreeHand-based masthead. This first revision featured the drum offset to the left, with “The Granby” set to the left side of the “D” in the same font used for many headlines in the redesigned Drummer, Officina Sans.

The editors felt that this redesign was too radical, and requested that the design be revised to more closely resemble the “traditional” masthead. I returned the drum to its original location, adding a white outline to the “Drummer” logotype so that it stands clear of the drum, making the title of the newspaper more legible. This revision appeared in the 2003 Town Budget Special Edition, with an oversized drum due to the “Special Edition” banner.

This was the first issue of the Drummer to be created using only desktop-publishing techniques from start to finish.

Normally, most pages of the Drummer are typeset using Macintosh computers, and then laid out using traditional hot-wax and paste-up boards. This Special Edition was created electronically, and e-mailed to our printers. The sole glitch in this grand experiment was the masthead: The Eras font for the words “The Granby” wasn’t available to the printer, so they substituted Avant Garde without our knowledge. Eras was chosen because it closely resembles the font used in original editions of the Drummer. (The immediately-previous design used Helvetica, introduced when the Drummer moved from rub-on headline type to a “Merlin” headline typesetter. The “Merlin,” now disused, is an industrial-strength label maker.)

With the May 2003 edition, the proper font was in place, and the redesign was complete. Although the drum in the May 2003 edition is darker than usual—the printer ran the entire issue darker than usual, resulting in overly dark photographs throughout as well—the actual design reached its final appearance.

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