Changing Times:

New ideas, technology alter Crimson design

Over the decades, designing each issue of The Crimson has involved time, effort and, in the pre-computer days, large sheets of wax.

Despite these constants, the process of laying out the newspaper and the look of the completed issues have changed dramatically.

The Early Years

In the earliest issues, short articles were laid out in two wide columns on sheets measuring only ten inches by seven inches. Advertisements ran on cover sheets printed for each issue.

When The Magenta became a daily in 1883, it was renamed The Daily Crimson and the layout changed to look more like a traditional newspaper.


Articles were still short, but they were now arranged in four thin columns with brief headlines and subheads.

For the first few decades of The Crimson's history, advertisements contained the only graphics in the paper.

Around 1910, blurry photographs first appeared, but their size was limited due to poor quality.

Layout stayed essentially the same until 1920, when the newspaper expanded to five columns.

Proving that the Depression era at The Crimson was not marked by an economy of words, story lengths began to grow in the thirties. By the late 1950's, a modern format had been established that would stay essentially the same for forty years.

Modeled after the design of The New York Times, the new format featured lengthier articles and more high-quality photos, says Joshua J. Schanker '98, president of The Crimson in 1997.

Departing from its earlier columnar layout, The Crimson now contained articles which snaked around the page in irregular patterns.

The Crimson became more reader-friendly due to the efforts of the 1967 executive board--the headlines were more spacious and easier to read, the banner reading "The Harvard Crimson" increased in size and clarity and stories spilled over to the back pages.

The size of the paper itself also was increased by a few inches.

The same number of stories--eight to nine--remained on the front page, but with the larger size, there was room for more of each story.

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