I run a site ( https://www.gayundah.info ) which I am currently re-theming.

I am wanting to change the blockquote text to reflect the original newspapers the articles are drawn from (1886-1920 era, generally)

However, I need a font evocative of that but with good flow and readability for screen use (rather than as movable type) as the use will be for the website only.

I've read this thread Font or technique needed to recreate newspaper article from 1873 , regarding newspaper fonts from that era but it had a print focus rather than screen focus.

Oh and given a zero budget a free font would be best. :)

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


A lot of modern serif typefaces actually date back to that era, but to get the appearance of an antique newspaper, you need to simulate how the ink behaves on the paper. First of all, it tends to splodge out a bit, making fine details a lot thicker than they would otherwise be. You also tend to see a faint ghost of the text printed on the other side of the paper caused by the ink soaking through. The first of these effects can easily be simulated in CSS by adding a -webkit-text-stroke-width rule. (You might need to increase the letter spacing a bit at the same time in order to preserve legibility.) The second can be simulated by using a seamless background made of blurred text that has been reflected horizontally.

Other things you can try include using old-fashioned typographical tricks like small caps and/or drop capitals for the first line of an article. Since newpaper articles are usually printed in narrow columns with full justification, you should probably avoid long lines of text, and include plenty of soft hyphens (­) to prevent       large       gaps     from appearing.

Here's an example I made using the Baskerville typeface (which has a free alternative available at Google Fonts). You can play around with it here.

Article from the Brisbane Courier, 1930-10-17

In case you need it, here's the background image I'm using. It's just made with Lipsum set in a similar font:

seamless newspaper background texture

  • Nice answer. Might also be worth considering presenting the text in columns, as per the background, since old newspapers made extensive use of them.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 17, 2021 at 16:46
  • Thanks for the great answer that will undoubtedly be very useful. The challenge now is to figure out how to make that pattern in WordPress. The other question I had was around a modern free font which I could use for full width text blocks as opposed to columns, evocative of a period newspaper font but suitable for ease of screen reading. Any suggestions in that line? Thanks.
    – LandyVlad
    Mar 18, 2021 at 21:15

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