Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute
We’ve all seen them, heeded them, and probably not given them much more thought. But these diminutive symbols are as crucial for periodical readers as compass index lines are for orienteers.
A tombstone is a small icon that denotes the end of an article in a magazine or newspaper. Tombstones are typically small squares, circles or diamonds and follow the final sentence of the last paragraph. Some publications tie tombstones to their brand. Fortune, for example, uses the ‘F’ from its logo. Esquire used a miniature of its mascot Esky for many years.
What’s the tie in to marketing? Some brands – including mine – are starting to borrow tricks of the trade from magazine publishers in their content marketing efforts. We use the Exabeam logo bug as our tombstone. In my opinion, it makes our ebooks and white papers look more polished. Plus, of course, it’s another element that ties together your visual identity.
Figure 1: We use the bug from the Exabeam logo in our ebooks to make them look more polished.
Most marketers probably won’t know what you are talking about when you as for a tombstone to be added, though an engineer might, as the use of the term in publishing is said to have come from its use as a shorthand for Q.E.D at the end of math proofs. One thing I can’t explain is the propensity for three-letter terms related to other meanings of tombstone. In addition to Q.E.D. is a term commonly found on grave markers (R.I.P.) and the lucite tombstones investment bankers commission to commemorate public offerings (I.P.O.).