OLD Media Moves

WSJ moves to animated hedcuts

December 3, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Scalia hedcutThe Wall Street Journal began using animated hedcuts with its A-hed front-page stories on Wednesday.

A story on its website states, “Today, the Journal moves the dot drawings into the Internet age, with the first use of an animated hedcut – a charmingly goofy puppet of Justice Antonin Scalia, to accompany a story on a raft of theater pieces using characters based on the Supreme Court justice.

“The Journal’s newsroom development team, headed by Erin Sparling, decided to try out hedcuts as animated gifs, and first built a mockup using Grumpy Cat–the hedcut that went with one of our most popular A-heds. ‘It just seemed that, since we were designing this with the Internet in mind, you have to start with the core essence of the Internet, which I think is Grumpy Cat,’ Mr. Sparling said.

“The gif hedcut of the scowling cat moves slowly, pursing his lips and blinking. ‘I liked the pace,’ he said. ‘It’s slow enough so you would second guess yourself, wondering, ‘is that really moving?’’

“But the test was mocked up using Photoshop, and the quality wasn’t what the team wanted. For the next effort, the Scalia puppet, the team needed multiple frames of animation drawn by one of the Journal’s dot-artist illustrators.”

Read more here.

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