The American journalist and designer who is credited with creating today's modern newspapers, especially typographically, Edmund Arnold has died. He was 93.
Over his career as a designer he changed the look of modern newspapers , making them easier to read. He was the pioneer of the six column page. Also he is credited with the axiom that the lead story should be on the upper right of the front page – a principle that most editors have followed for years.
Arnold started in journalism on his high school newspaper in Michigan, then worked on a local paper with time out during WW2 to work on Stars and Stripes, the American military paper for whom he covered the Battle of the Bulge. Back in the US he joined the Mergenthaler Linotype Co as editor of Linotype News, a job he held for many years until he took up teaching newspaper design .
Over the years he helped redesign hundreds of newspapers in the US and abroad, including several in South America, despite the fact he spoke no Spanish. Other papers he redesigned included the Christian Science Monitor, which became a yardstick, the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, The Boston Globe and The National Observer.
One of his long-held concepts – which he called The Gutenberg Principle – was how a reader approaches a newspaper, first from the top then down to the bottom and then turns the page.
In the Sixties he suggested that the standard old-style eight-columns broadsheet newspaper layout created columns that were too narrow. He designed the six-column size to work with nine-point type across a column span that would accommodate exactly one and half times the width of the complete lower-case alphabet.
By the Seventies six columns were an industry standard.
At least one improvement always eluded him: "There must be some feasible ink that won't rub off and make reading a newspaper a dirtier job than digging coal," he used to say. After he retired he lived in a retirement community in Virginia where he edited the community's newsletter and designed custom birthday cards for fellow residents