BACK in the early 1970's the Sydney Morning Herald's presses could only produce 120 broadsheet pages on a collect run.
The Herald's classified pages were bursting at the seams and eating into the news pages.
Online inserters were still being perfected. Additional press units were ordered, but in the mean time, classified advertisements were being left on the stone.
Revenue was being lost and a lot of classified customers were very unhappy to say the least.
The typeface we were using was Linotype's 4¾pt Adsans.
I noticed that Adsans had very short descenders, so with the GMs approval, I had 4½pt liners inserted into a couple of Elektrons and had a classified page reset using TTS tape from the previous day's publication.
Four stereo plates were cast of the page and run on a press to produce a number of four page dummy papers.
These papers were circulated among the Fairfax board, and executives responsible for classified sales and production.
There was general agreement that there was no perceived difference in the readability of Adsans set on the 4¾pt body and the 4½pt body.
It was decided to go ahead and change the body size for classified advertisements to 4½pt.
The SMH's column depth was 22” which accommodated 330 4¾pt lines, however by decreasing the body size to 4½pt and we get an extra 17 lines per column or an extra 187 lines over an eleven column page.
That was just over half a column per page.
It is my understanding that we never received a complaint that the classified advertisements were harder to read.
The new press units arrived and were installed, increasing the press capacity to 144 pages.
I don't know if we ever went back to the 4¾pt body size. The union had been told it was a temporary solution.