Sunday, 31 August 2014

Roger Parlby: An editor of grace and gravitas

Roger Parlby and daughter Joanna examining the new-look Advertiser in 2010

I was saddened to learn of the death of Roger Parlby, chairman and editor-in-chief of the Newark Advertiser, earlier this month. I was fortunate enough to meet him and his daughter Joanna four years ago when he asked me to redesign the title
I was immediately impressed by the man and his deep knowledge of design and typography principles. He had a very clear view of the evolutionary approach the Advertiser needed. The changes we introduced had to be subtle. He knew all about fonts, their history and those he wanted to keep.
The masthead had to retain its Ultra Bodoni typeface while splash heading caps were dropped in favour of lower case Century Bold. It was refreshing to work with a family-run independent newspaper where those who were empowered to make the decisions also had a love for the paper and its history. The paper's editorial, written by Mr Parlby in the relaunch edition, summed up the changes nicely: A refreshed Advertiser strives to please relying on the solid foundation of years long gone. Samuel Wesley said it all way back in 1700 when he wrote: 'Style is the dress of thought, a modest dress neat but not gaudy will true critics please. 
Roger Parlby had worked at the Advertiser since 1941, succeeding his father Cyril as editor in 1967. He became editor-in-chief in 1984 and was awarded an MBE in 2005. He died earlier this month aged 89. 
He was one of the newspaper industry’s great characters - a man with gravitas, grace and a lively sense of humour. It is a sad time for the Parlby family but I know that the title will be in safe hands with Joanna as MD. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet them. It was a real pleasure - working with dedicated and genuinely nice people with real journalistic values whose motivation is to keep both readers and advertisers happy. The sort of work I would happily do every day.  
The Newark Advertiser tribute to Roger Parlby is here.

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