Thursday, April 11, 2019

A to Z Challenge - J for Justify

Theme - Journalism jargons
When the lines in a text are aligned horizontally to the left and right margins of a page or a column, it is said the lines are (horizontally) justified.

This is different from when lines are aligned to the left margin or to the right margin. Then, the lines won’t stretch to either margin, instead would be of different lengths.

My blog posts are left aligned. On a Word document, one can justify the text by clicking on the relevant icons.

In a newspaper, the lines of reports are always horizontally justified, like in the images below. For design purposes, journalists might leave the lines of one news item not justified, like in the image on the right. In such cases, the lines will be aligned to left. Since on the right side the lines look ragged, the format is also referred to as ‘right ragged’.

Headlines of news stories are either centred or left aligned as in the images below.

A left-aligned headline in The Hindu 

Centred headlines in The Times of India.
The one in red is left aligned
The New York Times has a different style. The first line of a headline is left aligned, the second is centred and the third is right aligned.

Different lines of a headline are aligned differently


While pages of a newspaper are made, sometimes a story might fall short of a few lines to fit into the module. In such cases, some journalists resort to justifying the story vertically. They do so by aligning the lines to the top and bottom margins of the column.

However, this is not considered aesthetic from the design point of view, since lines in different columns will not be in one straight line from the left to the right margin.

(This post is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2019".)


  1. The NYT alignment style is something I've never seen before! Very interesting :)

    Destination Infinity

  2. Not knowing the term before, I prefer the 'right ragged' look. ~grin~ Otherwise, I find the various spaces between letters visually jarring. Another interesting post. Well done.

  3. That's why they have specific word counts, right? To make sure that the copy does fill the space.

  4. Like Darla, I too generally prefer the look of ragged right text (although I’ve always said “ragged right” instead of “right ragged”). Like Destination Infinity I had never noticed the unique justification of the NYTimes’ headlines; I will now. And I’d never heard of vertical justification. Keep ’em coming!

  5. @Destination Infinity
    Ya, I too found it quite interesting. Thanks.

    Yes, the white space that right ragged format introduces gives a lot of visual relief from the grey matter.

    Yes, you are right.

    Thanks, for the comment.

  6. Another post interesting and informative.