Supplemental Income: British newspaper colour supplements in the 1960s

Richard Farmer

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The introduction of colour supplements by three ‘quality’ newspapers during the 1960s was a key development in the British press during the decade, and was described by the editor of the Sunday Times as ‘perhaps the most successful single innovation in post-war journalism’. This article provides an overview of the advent of the colour supplements, explaining why they emerged when they did and developed in the manner they did, and exploring some of the difficulties and issues that attended their arrival. The article also demonstrates that sections of the British press were capable of taking advantage of changes in print and advertising culture brought about by the arrival of the post-war consumer society. However, the term ‘colour supplement’ became pejorative shorthand for the perceived vacuity of this new society, in part because of the tension that existed between the editorial and advertising content of these modish new publications. Consequently, the success of the colour supplement experiment was not universally celebrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalMedia History
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • Colour supplements
  • quality newspapers
  • Sunday Times Magazine
  • Observer Magazine
  • Weekend Telegraph
  • Roy Thomson

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