Typography: when is a sign-off an end stop, or even a tombstone?

The question asking what do you call the graphic sign-off at the end of a magazine article cropped up a while back and two answers came in:

I’ve always called it an end-stop. No idea why. (Andrew)

I’ve always known it as an end-point. (Angela)

The OED defines an ‘end-point’ as ‘The end or latter part of a period, process, etc’, for example of a chemical process.

Apparently, in WordPress, there’s an ‘endmark’ plug-in.

Martin Johnson recently sent me to a Wikipedia entry about ‘tombstones’:

The tombstoneHalmos, or end of proof mark “∎” is used in mathematics to denote the end of a proof, in place of the traditional abbreviation “QED” for the Latin phrase quod erat demonstrandum, “which had to be demonstrated” (QED). In magazines, it is one of the various symbols used to indicate the end of an article.

At both the Times and the Financial Times, a tombstone is an advertisement displayed in a thick black border. These papers used them to show adverts for companies underwriting a share listing; in the medical press, black boxes signified there was a problem with the advertiser (if I remember rightly, an example would be a hospital seeking to recruit staff that was in dispute with the BMA or junior doctors). The ‘halmos’ bit comes from its use by US mathematician Paul Halmos, but he got the idea from magazines, so it must have had a name before then.

One US typographer, Ilene Strizver, has her own word for it at Fonts.com:

An end mark (sometimes called an end sign) is the small graphic element placed at the end of an article, chapter or story. It sends a clear, “that’s it, there isn’t any more” message to the reader.

In the days of hot metal and typewritten copy, when each page of article would go off to a different compositor for typesetting, the American Journalism Review reckons US journalists typed in -30- at the end of their copy (in the UK, they simply wrote MORE and then END on the final sheet):

The use of the symbol was once so prevalent that it made its way into Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, which says 30 is “a sign of completion.” But the tradition of using it to cap off a piece of sprightly copy dropped off considerably when the computer replaced the typewriter — the what? — in America’s newsrooms.

But they don’t give the -30- symbol a name and the usage hasn’t made the OED.

One Adobe forum correspondent talks of an ‘end of article dealie-bob‘. That’s a bit much.

So, nothing definitive on the name, but how long have magazines been putting printer’s symbols at the end of articles? I identified Executive using a fox’s head ranged right (1982); The Face in 1980 used a pyramid; Riva in 1988 used a solid square bullet; Italian men’s monthly King used a capital K reversed out of a black box (1988); and Mondo (2000) a red box with a capital M reversed out.

In the late 1930s, the popular weekly Woman used a right-facing double chevron to show when its fiction continued over a page (», like a guillemet or French punctuation mark) and simply said ‘THE END’ at, well, the end. Algamated’s news magazine Pictorial Weekly also said ‘THE END.’ on its long pieces (1933).

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: