IT’S A CARDINAL RULE of page design: “Don’t! Bump! Heads!” And the example above is a perfect picture of what happens with an unfortunate head bump. The headline really reads like this:
Arden Chaffee wins barroom brawl
Mayor of Year Award turns bloody
You can’t blame readers if they don’t see that these are really two headlines. The type size is similar, the number of lines is the same and the two heads run right into each other. The only difference—one that’s easy to miss—is that the barroom brawl headline is just…a…bit bolder than the Mayor Award head.
Some suggestions on how you can keep this from happening on your front page:
1. Keep the head on the left (Mayor Award) a bit short, to open more space between it and the head on the right.
2. Make the barroom brawl head three lines deep (or the Mayor Award only one line).
3. Adopt a style that calls for vertical rules between packages. Such a rule here would have kept readers from reading from one head right into the other.
4. Use clearly different sizes. 48 point for the Award, 30 point for the brawl, for example.
5. Use clearly different fonts. A lighter head for the Award story would have helped.