Who says the old broadsheet newspaper is dead?
To celebrate its 190th anniversary, the U.K.'s Guardian (known at its 1821 founding as The Manchester Guardian) has concocted a very-old-school version of the front--er, home--page of today's edition.
The page uses serifed and black-letter Web fonts; copious vertical and horizontal rules; vintage engravings; and a background image of a pulpy, papery texture to re-create the thrill that awaited one who clapped a copper into a newsboy's palm and flapped open a newly purchased copy of the Latest Edition.
In explaining the project, the page's developers also have some fun with Georgian/Victorian-era prose stylings:
"This new edition is available in the following establishments: the Flaming Fox public house; the Verdi & Traviatta at the Royal Opera House; the African Expedition outfitters and the recently-constructed Silver V8 engine foundry," they write in a blog post. When readers click the included links, the rather exotic appellations become clear:
- "the Flaming Fox public house" = the Firefox browser,
- "the Verdi & Traviatta at the Royal Opera House" = the Opera browser,
- "the African Expedition outfitters" = Safari,
- and "the recently-constructed Silver V8 engine foundry" = Chrome.
The rascally developers couldn't help but take what appears to be a swipe at Microsoft's notoriously standards-unfriendly Internet Explorer:
"Some copies will also be found at the Internal Voyager private society," they write, "but print may be slightly spoilt due to ill-applied waterproofing."
And there's more horseplay:
"Some clever use of mechanical legerdemain allowed the staff to reroute requests by readers to publicise the daily news through the means of Twitter, a new Tachygraphe that conveys 140 character messages which are then deliver'd via Carrier-Pigeon."
All this adds up to a cracking good job of capturing the authentic feel of a traditional newspaper of nearly two centuries ago. And the attention to the slightest detail is impressive: With my monitor-browser combination anyway, it's impossible to see all the stories without scrolling hither and thither, horizontally and vertically. At first, impatient 21st-century data consumer that I've become, I found this annoying. But then I decided it was actually the designer's brilliant way of replicating the experience of trying to read a traditional broadsheet while jiggling along in a hackney carriage or omnibus--folding the gigantic mess of newsprint this way and that, shaking out creases, trying not to elbow the gentlefolk beside you.
Now if they could just develop a way to leave e-ink all over your fingers...