Introducing a redesign of The Cancer Letter

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Dear Reader,

The Cancer Letter is starting 2017 with something we haven’t done in … well, ever.

We’ve redesigned our “print” edition. I hesitate to say PDF, because, there was no such thing on Dec. 21, 1973, when our newsletter layout was first executed.

Ours was a practical design: two “galleys” per page. The galleys were typeset on a super-duper, iconic IBM Selectric typewriter—the sort that could actually justify lines! Thus typeset, the galleys were placed on a light table and attached with rubber cement to the mockup pages. The mockup was then taken, by car, to the printer and mailer.

The Cancer Letter had to be strictly at eight pages per issue so it could be folded, and placed in envelopes. Twelve pages could be done, but expensive to produce and mail. The process was digitized in 1989, but the layout lived on.

We’ve been getting away from our spartan design heritage over the past three years: first, by launching our new website in January 2014, to enable you to read and share individual articles online. Then, we added videos and weekly art features.

For a while, we thought the PDF would go the way of the Betamax, eight-track tapes, and, for that matter, the IBM Selectric. These predictions notwithstanding, the PDF remains popular, even as our web readership doubles annually. This sleek, colorful redesign is our recognition that many of you like to print and read.

Now, take a look at the issue in your hands (or on your electronic device). It’s just as newsy, but less severe, and easier to navigate. We put in more white space, abandoned the primeval Times New Roman font, and, to reduce visual fatigue, moved the body copy into three columns. The bite-sized version of our logo also acknowledges that many of you have been referring to The Cancer Letter simply as TCL.

Also, we listened to our advertisers. We introduced web ads three years ago, but due to popular demand, we are bringing back full-page PDF ads. Cancer centers, universities, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies continue to widely circulate the PDF, from desk to desk, or via email. Your institution can now place premium PDF ads that will reach our growing list of over 120 site license subscribers—pretty much everyone who matters in oncology.

Over the years, many a design consultant has told us to update our logo, which they described as “too retro.” A bit of history: an art student whose name we no longer remember created the logo in 1973. Jerry Boyd, the founder of The Cancer Letter, paid him a princely sum of $60 for his excellent work. We like it, and we are keeping it.

However, this time, we allowed a designer, Jacqueline Ong, to clean up the logo, while maintaining the look and feel that has been a part of the cancer world since the launch of Richard Nixon’s National Cancer Program.

With the beginning of the Trump administration two weeks—and one issue—away, we look forward to continuing the in-depth, cutting-edge reporting that defines The Cancer Letter.

Paul Goldberg

Editor & Publisher,

The Cancer Letter


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