Moon Landing

Copyright: John Frost Newspapers

The newspaper: Evening Standard

The date: July 21, 1969

The news event: Man lands on the Moon

What you see: This is a 'Moon Landing' souvenir issue for the Evening Standard. Editors created a 'mock-up' of the main image in advance, as real pictures from the moon were not yet available. Fast equipment to send photographic images through space had not yet been invented.

Background: After World War II, several nations, particularly the Soviet Union and the United States (enemies in the Cold War) competed to be the first to send rockets, then animals, then men into space. For many years, the Soviets led this 'space race', sending the first man, Yuri Gagarin, to orbit the earth on April 13, 1961. But the US was the first country to send men to the moon. Newspapers knew the astronauts were on their way, and had time to get ready for the great occasion. The real pictures, seen all over the world, were released between two and three weeks later. Millions watched the landing on television; politics, war, famine and other news stories were pushed to the back of the queue as the world celebrated an outstanding example of human endeavour.

The front page: It was a dramatic front page that doubled sales to 1.2 million, but if the Americans had not landed, it would have been a very expensive mistake. Most newspapers cleared their front pages of advertising for such an important event, but the Standard decided to keep their ads for a German Auto Union Audi car and in the top left-hand 'earpiece' an ad for AC spark plugs. Perhaps it was a clever idea to mix old and very new technology.

Design: The design of such big events is usually decided by the photograph or artwork available. Here the graphic artists who would have been more used to designing advertisements devised a clever montage showing the lunar module. The 'splash' headline was simple but effective: THE FIRST FOOTSTEP. The few words of copy were typeset in a larger size than normal and were suitably dramatic:

Human footsteps crunch noiselessly on lunar soil; never to be erased for perhaps a million years.

One of the two brave men gazes at this alien world through gold visors with almost unbelieving eyes. No wind, nor rain, or words shatter the eerie silence. They are there!

The enormous photograph stretched across the page is brilliantly dramatic - almost like a cinema screen revealing to the reader a whole new world.