blog

Michael Jackson's evolving hedcuts

Its editorial voice aside, the distinguished Wall Street Journal is noted for its usage of rather distinctive dot-drawn headshots or “hedcuts” as they call them of individuals that an article is profiling. As part of the newspaper’s redesign in 1979 “artist Kevin Sprouls devised a technique for illustrating the paper that did not disrupt its “gray and wordbound” appearance.” This technique provides the paper uniformity in its style as well as avoidance of intended or unintended editorializing that a photograph might produce. And yet these three headcuts of Michael Jackson published in the WSJ over the course of his career illustrate a complicated picture that reflected his adult life.

michaeljacksonhedcuts_f_20090626111844