Holy tinkered-with nameplate, Batman!

Get a load of the top of today’s Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.

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That’s by Merry Eccles of Gannett’s design studio in Nashville. Her guy, Bill Campling — also of the Nashville studio — tells us:

Merry always includes subtle details in her designs, like her Fourth of July promo you highlighted earlier this month.

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This page is no different, with the slight alteration to the mast.

And it’s freakin’ Batman. So that makes it extra cool.

I also wrote about Merry’s work after Vanderbilt won the NCAA national baseball championship back in June.

Find more of Merry’s work here.

Birthdays for Thursday, July 24

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to four talented visual journalists…

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Marc Banks works in marketing and customer service for Dynaric, Inc., of Virginia Beach, Va. He’s a 1988 graduate of Old Dominion University. Marc turns 50 today.

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Howard Finberg is director of training partnerships and alliances for the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. A graduate of San Francisco State University, Howard worked at a number of papers including the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the New York Times and the Arizona Republic. He established the Chicago Tribune‘s graphics desk and founded the nation’s first news graphics service. He also was the founding president for the Society for News Design Foundation. He’s been with Poynter since 2002. Find Howard’s Twitter feed here.

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Cecelia Hanley is a digital producer for Raycom Media of Montgomery, Ala. A 1995 graduate of the University of Virginia, Cecelia earned a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri in 2001. She spent a year as a designer for the Reporter-News of Abilene, Texas, four-and-a-half years as photo editor at the Courier & Press of Evansville, Ind., and two years as a features editor for the Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She left newspapers in 2010 and joined Raycom shortly after. Find her blog here and her Twitter feed here.

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Ashley Smith is assistant news editor for the Daily Sentinel of Nacogdoches, Texas. A 2011 graduate of the University of Houston Clear Lake, Ashley also attended San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, and served as associate editor of the student paper there, the Times. She worked for InsideDP of Deer Park, Texas, as an intern and then a reporter before joining the Daily Sentinel in 2012. Find her web site here. Ashley turns 31 today.

Ashley, Cecelia, Marc and Howard share a birthday with actors Daniel Jacob Radcliffe, Charisma Lee Carpenter, Marlon L. Wayans, Erik Ki La Salle (better known as Eriq La Salle), Woodrick Tracy “Woody” Harrelson, Daniel Ronald “Ronny” Cox; Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edie McClurg; musicians Alison Krauss, Tenitra Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child), Saul Hudson (better known as Slash of Guns n’ Roses), Martin Lee Gore (of Depeche Mode) and David Albert Cook (better known as David Essex); radio host John Donald “Don” Imus Jr.; TV host Bernard Whalen “Bert” Convy; model Stephanie Michelle Seymour; sports greats Anthony Nomar Garciaparra, Donald Scott “Don” Drysdale, Harold Peter Henry “Pee Wee” Reese (all three baseball), Gary Dwayne Payton, Elden Jerome Campbell (both basketball) and Terry Tyree Glenn (football) and novelist Raymond Thornton Chandler.

In addition, today is Cousins Day, National Drive-Thru Day, National Tequila Day, Tell an Old Joke Day and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Pioneer Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, folks! Have a wonderful birthday today!

Birthdays for Wednesday, July 23

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to Jacek Utko, design director at Bonnier Business Press International and a news design consultant based in Warsaw, Poland.

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A trained architect, Jacek drifted into graphic and publication design, eventually becoming art director of Puls Biznesu. He’s redesigned both that paper and Aripaev in Estonia. In 2009, Jacek spoke at at TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., on the topic of newspaper design. Watch that video here. Find Jacek’s web site here.

Jacek shares a birthday with actors Daniel Jacob Radcliffe, Charisma Lee Carpenter, Marlon L. Wayans, Erik Ki La Salle (better known as Eriq La Salle), Woodrick Tracy “Woody” Harrelson, Daniel Ronald “Ronny” Cox; Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edie McClurg; musicians Alison Krauss, Tenitra Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child), Saul Hudson (better known as Slash of Guns n’ Roses), Martin Lee Gore (of Depeche Mode) and David Albert Cook (better known as David Essex); radio host John Donald “Don” Imus Jr.; TV host Bernard Whalen “Bert” Convy; model Stephanie Michelle Seymour; sports greats Anthony Nomar Garciaparra, Donald Scott “Don” Drysdale, Harold Peter Henry “Pee Wee” Reese (all three baseball), Gary Dwayne Payton, Elden Jerome Campbell (both basketball) and Terry Tyree Glenn (football); novelist Raymond Thornton Chandler and presidential girlfriend Monica Samille Lewinsky.

In addition, today is Gorgeous Grandma Day and Hot Enough For Ya Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, Jacek! Have a terrific birthday today!

Well, now. That IS unique!

Yesterday, we took a quick glance at the transformation of the Anchorage Daily News into the Alaska Dispatch News.

Today, a tipster sends me a photo of a page-one sticker ad from that same paper last week, advancing the big changes.

The sticker promises something “unique” for readers. And, if you look closely, you’ll find something that’s quite unique indeed.

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Thanks to my anonymous tipster.

Birthdays for Tuesday, July 22

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to a pair of  gifted visual journalists…

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Brian Cubbison is curator for the Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y. and Syracuse Media Group. A 1979 graduate of Ohio University, Brian has served as the paper’s assistant news editor, its online news editor and its breaking news editor. He took on his new title in 2013. Find Brian’s old blog here and his Twitter feed here. Brian turns 57 today.

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Kenneth Eriksson is design director and features editor of VLT in Stockholm, Sweden. Kenneth spent two years as a subeditor for Aftonbladet, a year as a designer for Magazine Café and a year-and-a-half as art director for Fitness magazine before moving to Egmont in 2005. There, he art directed Ikon, King and Vagabond magazines. He moved to VLT in 2007 and took on additional duties in features in 2011. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here. Kenneth turns 36 today.

Kenneth and Brian share a birthday with actors Selena Marie Gomez, William “Willem” Dafoe, Jonathan Alberto Leguizamo, David Wayne Spade, Terence Henry Stamp, Danny Leburn Glover, Louise Fletcher, Keegan Phillip Allen and Madison Michelle Pettis; musicians Donald Hugh “Don” Henley, George Clinton, Alan Menken, Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright, Robert Cabot “Bobby” Sherman Jr. and Daniel Jones (of Savage Garden); sports greats David Andrew “Dave” Stieb (baseball), Timothy Donell “Tim” Brown, Joseph Keyshawn Johnson (both football) and Scott Ronald Dixon (auto racing); comedian Albert Lawrence Einstein (better known as Albert Brooks); politician Robert Joseph “Bob” Dole; artist Edward Hopper; sculptor Alexander Calder and the host of Jeopardy, George Alexander Trebek.

In addition, today is National Penuche Fudge Day, Rat-catchers Day and Spoonerism Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday today, you two! Best wishes!