Project: Information Graphics

Project: Information Graphics

Infographic, /ˌɪnfə(ʊ)ˈɡrafɪk/ , noun;

a visual representation of information or data, e.g. as a chart or diagram.

“a good infographic is worth a thousand words”

Oxford Languages

We’re surrounded by Information Graphics (Infographic’s hereafter), and in the digital age they are becoming more widespread. The earliest Infographics were found on the walls of caves, showing how to hunt wild animals. These were then followed by shamanic and religious glyphs including stain glass, and fresco’s of the Stations of the Cross to inform a largely illiterate or disinterested population. Some of the most breathtaking of these were the Nazca Lines in Peru and Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel paintings.

As humanity grew and expanded its horizons some of the earliest secular Infographics were maps and charts; from the Dunhuang Star Chart AD650 to the Templers map of Jerusalem circa 1535-1590. In more contemporary times the underground maps of Harry Beck are some of the finest infograph’s about, bringing order to chaos as it were.

By the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first the info graphic had come of age. The proliferation of mobile devices, more sophisticated DTP and faster soft and hardware means the Infogrpahics is currently enjoying a golden age.

Creating Graphics

The next stage is to experiment; I’ve been using Affinity Designer a great deal as it’s relatively straightforward to get my head around. However no one got experience by driving in a straight line so a quick play with the pen tool in making a simple box network followed a quick scan of Chelius and Schwartz’ book Learn Adobe Illustrator CC.

This was a great moment to have a play with the various aspects of the program including shape tools. At this stage my work looks more like an experimental art piece than serious investigation. However that’s how you learn.

Typography in information graphics

As the research point here is to look at how Type is physically arranged, I found some interesting example of type in use and the idea is Keep it Simple Stupid. Each approach was subtly different, and one very interesting approach was to use the shapes used in the infographic to also spell out the location the information was about, Cape Town.

Resources used

Chelius C and Schwartz R, (2019, Learn Adobe Illustrator CC, 2nd Edn, Adobe Press.

Info Graphic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infographic (Accessed 30112020)

Oxford Languages https://languages.oup.com/  (Accessed 30112020)

Cape Town Infog#01 https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/6614730691353005/  (Accessed 30112020)

Cave Painting https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/105482816263133993/  (Accessed 30112020)

Dunhuang Star Chart AD650 https://gizmodo.com/how-ancient-star-maps-gave-rise-to-modern-astronomy-1818815391  (Accessed 30112020)

Templers map of Jerusalem https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/324188873182895216/  (Accessed 30112020)

Harry Beck map https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/culture-and-heritage/art-and-design/harry-becks-tube-map  (Accessed 30112020)

Music in your Life https://www.behance.net/gallery/19624167/Infography-Set-The-music-in-your-life  (Accessed 30112020)

Infogrpahics https://www.rawpixel.com/image/1188115/data-and-graphs?referral=774710&source=pinterest  (Accessed 30112020)

Samples of Type in Infographics https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/330592428901364254/  (Accessed 30112020)

Exercise: Judging a book by its Cover

For this exercise I’m using Guy Sajer’s war time autobiography The Forgotten Soldier. The book is set on the Eastern Front during World War Two and charts Sajer progress from driver to infantryman in the Großdeutschland Division. The book itself is a sobering read for anyone and when initially released was considered in 1965 during the wave of popular books written by Dane Sven Hassle. The two authors were poles apart in terms of style and subject. Where Sajer was considerate, almost contrite, Hassle was brash and obscene. The Forgotten Soldier brought the reader closer to the effects and experience of war than any of Hassle’s Pulp Books and with that came an opportunity for the graphic design to create an iconic cover.

Understandably nearly all but one of the covers I’ve found featured a lone soldier, the single non illustrated cover uses the White Space exceptionally well. Of the illustrated covers, only one actually features an illustration, drawn by Sci-Fi artist Richard Clifton-Dey, whose work for the New English Library publishing house was varied, imaginative and very much of its time. The illustration is raw, showing the physical and emotional effects of battle exceptionally well, and it’s fair to say it would be exceptionally hard to replicate such an illustration as well as Clifton-Dey.

The other titles used established and sometimes clichéd portraits of individual German soldiers, sometimes to great effect, to show the loneliness that one can experience as a soldier. It’s interesting that only one cover features a portrait of a young Sajer as a soldier prior to being an infantier.

The cover that intrigues and appeals to me the most is the illustrated one by French publishing house Robert Lafontt, with shades of work by Joe Colquhoun, a British comic illustrator famous for his World War One work. This add an air of intimacy, is a more personal connection to the story and a line of design I’m keen to follow.

The use of a plain type cover is something rarely seen on popular war books, and while the illustrated books use a range of different types and fonts, the use of a utilised White Space is rarely seen on the cover of military histories, so to see it was intriguing as well as food for thought.

The first stage of my design process was to create a mind map centring on the books title.

The main theme was the title of Sajer’s story, what it meant for him as individual, a soldier and the child of a French/German marriage. The themes were further developed and then a commonality identified; the military. Here the symbology was sought to be unique to show he was a German solider, and there’s nothing more unique than the German wartime helmet. A draft of three possible arrangements was designed, along with how the text only cover would appear.

The first task is to create the basic design for the front page using Affinity Designer utilising the Großdeutschland’s divisional insignia as the centre piece. The helmets were then arranged as if on parade with space for text above and below. The second test cover featured the same image, but with a helmet removed, signifying Sajer, as the forgotten solder. I then coloured a helmet with the French tricolour, to symbolise Sajer’s nationality to see how that would fit. Another experiment features the Großdeutschland’s divisional insignia over the tricolour. However it seemed a little contrived, so won’t be pursued.

Yet as a motif the helmet certainly sticks out, and when placed with copies of the original insignia it makes for an interesting juxtaposition; indentifying Sajer as both a German soldier by the shape of the helmet and as a Frenchman by the Tricolour. This theme also recurs at the end of the book when Sajer takes part in the French Victory parade as a French soldier and his thoughts runaway to where his friend, Hals, is. This alluring to that his connection was stronger with the German army than the French. As one of the 130,000 Frenchmen Alsace and Moselle forced to fight for the Germans because of their births, and the post-war desire by the French authorities to not talk about it Sajer become one of the Malgrd-nous or Despite us/against our will. This theme again confirms the forgotten soldier status of Sajer, and indeed he told in a post capture de-brief to ‘Get yourself home, and try to forget all this as fast as you can’.

I was able to find a book cover tutorial for InDesign, but struggled with it a little so reverted to Affinity Publisher for the design process. For the Font I wanted to use a Black style, but nothing too contrived. For the spine I chose a dark green from a custom palette which I also used for the font colour. The background was coloured a pale yellow green. The Spine font is left justified Georgia 20Pts and rear text is Justified Georgia.

For the front cover I used the Sans-serif Haettenschweiler font (80pts) designed by Walter Haettenschweiler in 1954. This font was designed to be eye catching as given its Black font style suits the cover well. The authors name sits below this Georgia (25pts). The helmets had their opacity reduced to 80%. I then created three differing backgrounds to see how they compared.

Whilst I was happy with the back and spine the front lacked the visual impact I wanted, so I decided upon finding a suitable photograph of German solders marching, one that would allow me to split the page into third and experiment with font placement and type. I appreciate this was a complete departure from form, and I expect this is how themes are developed, but all of a sudden the cover, for me at least, snapped into place. The top of the photo was erased at 50% flow, hardness and opacity to help it merge with the white space, whilst the text was brought in from the edge to helped to define and deliver the final cover. I added the line underneath the title to see how physically and aesthetically the cover would look if separated the title from the author’s name. I found it didn’t sit quite right visually with the text right justified, but pulled away from the edge slightly gave it a more calming appearance.

The green spine details were kept as a tool for theme colour coding by the publishers, echoing the 1930’s classic Penguin covers with their range of colour’s, whilst the back cover information was left as it.

With the illustrated cover complete I was now ready to look at using just font work for the front. The back over and spine achieve the aim of clarity I was after. A quick search of various Text only covers showed how text was used effectively. I was aiming to use three vertical columns, with the central one clear, allowing the side one to be used for information.

The first draft looked ideal, and I chose to include the finally two paragraphs of the book to join the text as they were powerful. As they were mounted there lay along side the vertically set text of the title and the author I decided to highlight the authors name in red and enlarging it to 16pts against the 15pts of the main quote text, which has been skewed to 20°. The title was stretch by 43% which improved the impact of the Haettenschweiler type. Using the White Space wisely I set the vertical aspect of the font deliberately to replicate the erect nature of a soldier standing to attention. A final idea was to split the page into two columns, the title sparing the space with an edited quote, which is the final line in the book, with Sajer’s name highlighted in red.

So comparing the two book covers my favourite has to be the one featuring the photo graph. The text only cover has an appeal, but given the market would be predominantly male (though my daughter has read this book twice now), the photo style follows previously successful approaches, but uses the idea of even belonging to a group one can still be lonely. Of the two I’d say the photo-cover, which was used after my illustrated cover felt a little flat, is more eye-catching and in terms of fulfilling the design brief is more successful on this occasion.

Screen shots of exercise development:

Resources Used

Sajer, G, (1997, The Forgotten Soldier, Third Impression, Orion, London.

Forgotten Soldier covers https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=the%20forgotten%20soldier%20guy%20sajer&rs=typed&term_meta[]=the%20forgotten%20soldier%20guy%20sajer%7Ctyped

Großdeutschland Division Insignia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Sajer#/media/File:%E2%80%9EGro%C3%9Fdeutschland%E2%80%9D-Division_(Wehrmacht).svg

Richard Clifton-Dey samples https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=Richard%20Clifton-Dey&rs=typed&term_meta[]=Richard%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=Clifton-Dey%7Ctyped

Book Template https://indesignskills.com/downloads/book-template/

Malgrd-nous reference – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malgr%C3%A9-nous

Barcode Generator https://www.barcodesinc.com/generator/index.php German Infantry still https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-219-0595-05,_Russland-Mitte-S%C3%BCd,_Infanteristen.jpg

Exercise: Magazine Pages

I have a habit of keeping back magazines that appeal visually, and the Country Life has always had great visual appeal. The features in particular draw you in with the use of an interesting subject matter, full bleed imagery and crisp font, never straying from accepted norm and opting for decorative fonts as the norm. Looking at Country Life objectively was not only great fun but allowed me to appreciate the work that goes into producing the magazine.

The first task was to measure the magazine and appreciate page form:

  • Each page is based on a three column grid
  • Images are a mix of full bleed, vignettes, full box with the odd touch of cropping around a subject to highlight it.
  • White space tends to be at a minimum, but when used, especially in the illustrated story, it’s used sensitively.
  • Page size is 302mm x 233mm, with a column width of 60mm with a gap of 5mm between columns.
  • Margin measurement:
    • Outer 20mm
    • Inner 15mm
    • Lower 15mm
    • Upper 20mm
    • Gutter 30 mm

Fonts are a mix of serif with the body text is the standard Times New Roman, whilst headers swing between Times New Roman, Garamond and Helvetica. Indeed the interest in font within the magazine is such that is published a wonderful article, 8 typefaces that changed the world, on its website where it includes the fonts used in-house by the design team which also includes Johnston Sans by Edward Johnston and Transport byJock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert. Interestingly both are used for sharing information to commuters on the London Underground and road network accordingly.

To replicate the Country Life layout using InDesign I resized the page accordingly and added the above measurements and necessary columns to the master profile. I decided to go with the first page of Unto Us a Child is Born. The first task is to replicate the pages as closely as possible. The header and sub headers are Schneider Libretto, which has some interesting similarities to Bodoni and is contemporary, yet at the same time traditional.

Sadly a download is cost prohibitive, so I’ll use Bodoni MT Bold and Regular as a suitable replacement for both, sizing the header at 45pts and the sub heading at 15pts. The main body text is Times New Roman at 12pts and justified with a left alignment, with the quote in Bodoni MT Regular at 20pts.

One thing that took a little time to get my head around whilst trying to save the document was to select which Master it was. Unlike Affinity Publisher the saving process is a little more involved, and with my frustration rising and trying to work out why I was only getting blank JPGs or PDFs. I finally worked out that there are two Master documents, A and B, and it’s A that saves. Lesson learned. One thing I did notice was that I had forgotten to place the bottom margin information into the original copy, so I update the file accordingly.

The one thing that had escaped my mind completely was that when it comes tcame to preparing and joining the two halves of an exported file together always create in the size it was saved not the actual size of the original document. Things can get lost in translation.

Anyway onwards and upwards. My first task is to select three sets of font combinations. Given the style of magazine Black, Fat Face and Decorative would be poor choices and whilst a Sans Serif style is used occasionally, mostly Helvetica, its use is limited to lifestyle features. So the Serif fonts I’ll be using will be:

Headline#1: Garamond Bold. Sub- Heading and Quote Garamond Regular

Body#1: Century Schoolbook Regular

Headline#2: Libre Baskerville Bold Sub- Heading and Quote Libre Baskerville Regular

Body#2: Sitka Text

Headline#3: Georgia Bold Sub- Heading and Quote Georgia Regular

Body#3: Arvo Regular

The combinations have been chosen to echo the original editorial designs. For the first series of grids I’ll retain the original design and font size before developing the grid further.  

Clearly changing Font but not size has a big impact but is a great exemplar of how fonts are sized differently in their design. This size difference also impact upon the editorial design process. So a quick tidy up gives us a tidier view of the pages.

#1 – Headline: 45pts, Sub heading: 16pts, Quote: 19pts and Footer: 11 and 10pts. Body: 11pts

Here the Garamond / Century Schoolbook combination are a nicely balance set with Garamond regular in particular sitting easily with the Century Schoolbook. Whilst a s Bold headliner it has enough presence to attract the eye but not dominate the white space at the top of the page. Century Schoolbook

#2 – Headline: 35pts, Sub heading: 12pts, Quote: 15pts and Footer: 10 and 12pts. Body: 12pts

As Libre Baskerville is a physically larger design font the re-sizing had to be pretty drastic, which leads to a small size being used for the Headlining. That said it doesn’t diminish its impact in any way, but the bold is heavier than and more suited to commercial or advertising usage. The Sitka Text on the other hand is light to the eye and strikes a delicate balance with the heavier Libre Baskerville headliner. Interesting when used as a regular font the Libre Baskerville suits the Sitka Text nicely.

Headline #3: 45pts Sub heading: 14pts, Quote#3: 17Pts and Footer: 11 and 10pts.

Body #3: 11pts

Visually the Georgia is an altogether calmer font but when used as a Bold headliner but seems more suited to ‘newspaper’ style than feature and the same could be said of the Arvo text, however the Arvo nicely compliments the regular Georgia style font of the quote.

Now I’ve experimented with various fonts, the next stage is to develop the theme of article focusing on Unto us a child is born and changing the subject matter to a more contemporary theme. To echo the new theme’s new font style will be chosen to headlines the themes. Other changes will include subheading wording to reflect the content of the piece, new quote piece and accompanying imagery.

The new themes, which still reflect the key theme of Unto us a child is born are:

  • Handels Messiah
  • Older Parents
  • Children born in Poverty
  • Refugee Camp

Each new piece will be an opportunity to change the feel of the original art to develop the theme a little more, and there is the opportunity to introduce more decorative fonts and colour options.

Child born in refugee camp – Headliner Bohemian Typewriter 40Pts Sub heading Helvetica (12Pts) Quote Helvetica (12Pts at 15% Skew)

Child born in poverty – Headliner The Pits (50Pts), Sub heading Georgia 14Pts with italic element of 15% skew and Quote Georgia 14Pts

Child born to Older Parents – Headliner Grand Hotel (41pts with Horizontal scale increased to 125%) Libre Baskerville for sub headings and Quote 12 and 18Pts

Unto us a child is born (Handel’s Messiah) – Headliner Old English Five Regular 28pts Sub Heading and Quote Garamond 16 and 18Pts

This element of the exercise also asks five questions:

  • What happens when you alter the body font or headline font?

Changing the font will always affect the appearance of an article it sets the tone. For example the Old English Five used to introduce Unto us a child is born (Handel’s Messiah) sets the style of read as both scholarly, of interested to the choral enthusiast and linked with the use of a black background page lends itself to a coffee table lifestyle magazine such as Country Life.

The scrolling Grand Hotel font used for Child born to Older Parents, with its pink scrolling form is reflective of the style that would be used to lead this style of article in a mid-end lifestyle magazine. Whilst the reportage Bohemian Typewriter linked to the stylist Helvetica used for Child born in refugee camp introduces the concept of a cutting edge contemporaneous report from the front style article. For Child born in poverty I used The Pits chalk style font to echo the premise of the articles focus on child povery. This design of article would be used for a professional magazine such as teaching or social work professions.

  • Do different kinds of images change the feel of the publication?

We remember powerful images, and when relevant to the subject matter they not only draw the reader in but also help tell part of the story. I was careful with what images I used for the Refugee article as some are, understandably, distressing and these should be used in their own right. The fine line between voyeurism and serious reporting has to be maintained, so the use of the Holy Family by Geertgen tot Sint Jans not only lent itself to the subject but also provided a linking image to the nature of the article. The inclusion of a background image was deliberate, showing children living and playing in a temporary site helps to reaffirm the helplessness of their situation. The inclusion of an extra graphic was to help add a sense of seriousness to the subject matter as well as to show it’s informative.

Again I used this approach for the Poverty article choosing to show children in worn clothing, which albeit is a Victorian-esque visual trope, but helps to get the point across. The little girls eating the biscuit also help’s to confirm the lack of variation in diet which occurs when there is little or no money for a balanced diet. Here the images add a sense of hopelessness, loss and futility.

For the Handel and Older Parent I wanted the feel to be more informative and relaxed. The smiling pregnant lady and couple with child help to convey a light/warm hearted moment indicating the subject is going to be an easy and enjoyable read. The use of Balthasar Denner’s portrait of Handel adds an element of academia to the article. This, with the black space of the page, and the image of the Winchester Choir in full swing, helps to establish the messiah as a choral work of great importance.

  • Do you think the readership for each of your variations would be the same?

Possibly, I think the readership for the Child born in refugee camp and Child born in refugee camp would be of same, working for NGO’s or in the Third Sector. Whereas the reader of the Child born to Older Parents could be professionals in any number of industries, though most likely the private sector.  The Unto us a child is born (Handel’s Messiah) article would feature in either a lifestyle or Club type magazine.

  • Does the image you choose suggest a different design?

Yes I believe they all do, they affect the use of font type, Handel by his very nature demands a serious yet flourishing decorative tone which Old English Five gives. This also echo’s the idealised font design one would associate with 18th Century England. The chalk effect of the The Pits, may seem light hearted, yet when used in conjunction with the images confirm that the article is bout children of young age. The light heart flowing coloured script of Grand Hotel gives the article a sense of celebration and hope. The direct and almost aggressive key strokes of Bohemian Typewriter add the sense of urgency to the article, echoing telex machines, placing its subject matter in a location where technology has broken down.

The use of two images allows me to further convey and develop the message and content of the article. Another simple design change was made by adjusting the layout, very slightly, of the Child born in refugee camp and introducing three columns of type. This also allowed for the inclusion of a graph which is used as an infographic, to impart further information, in this case the percentage of refugees who are children (38%).

  • Which ones work best and why?

For me Child born in refugee camp as I manipulated the three column format to suit the message and add more impact to the subject matter. Where as Unto us a child is born (Handel’s Messiah) was a great opportunity to manipulate the White Space and use it, along with the Headling Font to create a sombre yet informative looking article.

Resources Used

Country Life, December 12/19 2018, TI Media Ltd, London

8 typefaces that changed the world, https://www.countrylife.co.uk/out-and-about/theatre-film-music/8-typefaces-changed-world-134107  (Accessed 19112020)

Johnston Type https://i.pinimg.com/736x/91/94/43/919443d448966d9aa26045e5c42458e3.jpg (Accessed 19112020)

Transport Type https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_(typeface) (Accessed 19112020)

Text generator https://www.lipsum.com/  (Accessed 19112020)

Schneider Libretto font example https://en.fontke.com/font/13143725/ (Accessed 19112020)

George Frideric Handel by Balthasar Denner – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/George_Frideric_Handel_by_Balthasar_Denner.jpg (Accessed 23112020)

Winchester Cathedral Choir https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/worship-and-music/music-choir/  (Accessed 23112020)

Older parents https://www.verywellfamily.com/thmb/PmQQbzeG0a4Ha6G2U8G4_ph815M=/2250×1500/filters:fill(DBCCE8,1)/older-parents-with-baby-5a288580da27150036296555.jpg  (Accessed 23112020)

Pregnant lady https://www.nflwc.com/uploads/pink-t-pregnant-woman.jpg  (Accessed 23112020)

Child Poverty  https://benskippergraphicdesign.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/8fc60-dsc_0618.jpg  (Accessed 23112020)

Child with biscuit https://theconversation.com/are-there-400-000-fewer-children-in-poverty-in-the-uk-than-there-were-in-2010-128274  (Accessed 23112020)

Refugee Child and Boat https://www.voanews.com/world-news/middle-east-dont-use/un-many-syrian-refugees-educated-seeking-better-lives (Accessed 23112020)

Refugee Camp https://theconversation.com/how-to-help-refugee-children-get-through-the-trauma-of-whats-happened-to-them-64335 (Accessed 23112020)

Handel Messiah facts https://www.bsomusic.org/stories/5-things-you-might-not-know-about-handels-messiah/ (Accessed 23112020)

Baby Facts https://www.verywellfamily.com/being-an-older-parent-4155772 (Accessed 23112020)

Child Poverty facts https://www.basw.co.uk/resources/psw-magazine/psw-online/child-poverty-rise-warning (Accessed 23112020)

Child Refugee Chart https://venngage.com/blog/13-of-the-most-pressing-questions-about-refugees-answered-with-charts/  (Accessed 23112020)

Infant mortality information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5717942/  (Accessed 23112020)

Nativity at Night by Geertgen tot Sint Jans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nativity_at_Night#/media/File:Geertgen_tot_Sint_Jans,_The_Nativity_at_Night,_c_1490.jpg  (Accessed 23112020)

Project: Magazines and Books

Every visual creative work is a manifestation of the character of the designer. It is a reflection of his knowledge, his ability and his mentality’.

Josef Muller-Brockmann

The Golden Section: Dividing the page and the image

The Golden Ratio, and the Rule of Thirds are both important to the artist and designer (are they not the same?), they infuse everything that we endeavour to do at creative level. To show how this works I’ve produced a quick overlay of the Golden Section over a rather fabulous looking Triumph Bobber motorcycle.

Here the line of the Golden Ratio traces itself around the front wheel, following the curve of the motorbike fuel tank and frame, almost intentionally. As the ratio is not fixed in its alignment or arrangement and so can be used as a tool to identify a range of objects whose aesthetic beauty may not always be apparent. A good example is a wave. Here I’ve over laid the Golden Ration over the wave in two distinct and separate orientations.

By looking at these three very simple examples we can begin to visualise how the Golden Ration would help to form how we use visual cues in design. Advertising Art Direction is the most logical application for the Golden Ratio; here the director can control the image to the point of perfection. In the case of the two Quality Street adverts the ‘swoop’ of the Golden Ratio is clear to see.

Adverts and magazine covers featuring people are also a good source of seeing examples of the Golden Ratio. These wonderful examples show how the astute art director and design have arranged pose to incorporate the curving geometric form. It also helps to guide the eye to the key point of information, the case of the Just 17 cover model and Dwayne Johnson, the face, or most importantly the eyes.

Although not covered in this project it is worth mentioning the use of the Golden Ratio in logo design. It appears most famously in the Nike ‘Swoosh’ created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, as well as the KFC and Firefox logos. Noting this helps the designer prioritise the design space and the direct of which they want to direct and guide the eye around the design. Note the tail often overshoots the design.

The Rule of Thirds is a pretty straight forward, where the lines intersect indicate where key points of attention. I’ve also noticed that those squares that are filled with the subject matter draw the attention away from the dead space. The use of a grid is an exceptionally useful device in graphic design; especially in advertising. I’ve chosen four separate images and over laid a PNG of a grid to show that where the sections meet and how the images are divided into thirds.

The Mini advert shows very clearly the converging points of interest on the front grille. The advert is fully two thirds visual stimulus and a third set aside for advertising and promotion. The two gentleman propping up the bar in their rather natty get up certainly attract the eye, though interesting the art director has chose to let the contrasting colour of their tops do the talking here. That said the upper intersections draw the eye in, whilst the two figures occupy two thirds of the frame (note the adjusted picture).

This principle readily transfers to works of art too, as shown by The Lady of Shalott, by John William Waterhouse, here the intersections meet at some key points, which draw the eye to the areas around them, especially the promise of a kiss between the two. The key images of the small group itself takes up the space of six squares, leaving a third of the painting as inconsequential almost impressionist in style, background.

The image which I’ve placed a grid over is a cover painting by Robin Moline. Here it’s not so much the intersections that do the work but the central grid panel with its red sided barn. The eye is instinctively drawn in and then takes note of the details that surround the barn, travelling in an anti – clockwise direction. This wonderful painting is also a great example of the Golden Ratio too.

Designing a Grid

I’m now feeling confident enough to give InDesign a try and have arranged the workspace in the Digital Publishing mode. I’ll be honest knowing this part may take a bit of time I invested in Jonathan Gordon’s Learn Adobe InDesign CC guide as these have a good reputation for being well written. So the first task is to create a two page spread, using the default Margins and Guttering.

The next task is to introduce a document grid, which seems to be easier said than done as it didn’t seem to be in the book. However using a bit of common sense I found the Grid selection via EditPreferences. I did look at an interesting website, Grids In Graphic Design, which explored the subject of Grids in a little more details and Bath Spa Universities Grids and Layouts page gave some excellent time on sizing. I also ensured the Snap to Document Grid was activated.

So having got a rough orientation of the way InDesign works I cleared the document and started afresh. I now set up a new document using the process outlined in Learn Adobe InDesign CC and adapting the process to give me the document I was after and ready for setting up the document to echo the example in my course manual. The first task was to add Text Frames and populate with Lorum Ipsum. I’ve also discovered that InDesign doesn’t seem to appear the same as Photoshop for example. I found the layers in the end as well as how to set columns.

So returning to Gordons book I worked out how to add images, make graphic frames, rectangular frames and place text. All very basic stuff I’ll admit, but this is a big jump for me. So the next task to replicate the grid example. The whole process took less than 10 minutes and has increased my confidence in using InDesign tenfold.

The finished article

Columns

The one thing I have noticed during this course is that many of the books that I’ve used are presented in a duel column format, which aids reading speed and divides the page nicely. However when looking back at the how print was arranged, especially in newspaper the sheer amount of columns used was almost visually overbearing. In part due to the size of the paper, and the fact they tended to be double sided single sheet. This limited the amount of space available so the amount of columns was increased. The column numbers started to settle as the printing process advanced and photography appeared in ever increasing levels the design process became more prevalent.

The incorporation of white (or background) space into the columns space as part of the design also grew and designers started to use this in a variety of ways. Not so much in papers, but certainly in books and magazines, white space is a great tool for the designer to utilise and play with. In using white space the role of the document being produced must be borne in mind; graphic design is primarily used to present information. This information can be either simple or exacting and complex. Through judicious use of white space a complex subject can be simplified, if only a little.  Harry Beck’s 1933 London Underground map is a great example of the use of white space.

With duel column arrangements the designer can also experiment with image placements and these can be made in any number of ways. In Grid Systems in Graphic Design Muller-Brockmann identifies 32 ways in which the page can be split between type and picture (p87-95) which is followed by some wonderful examples. To understand how this works, as doing helps me understand, I took a couple of screen shots from the internet or magazine pieces, one from a Brno shopping magazine and one from a health magazine. I did an overlay both pages identifying the text and picture columns whilst fading the background enough to notice how the white space was used in each.

The single column is a great way to incorporate supporting imagery and white space. Examples can be found in specialist magazines with a focus on the creative industries. The use of the single column in literature is also an opportunity for a display of decorative flare, as shown in William Morris in many of his works, and most recently by the designer Radim Malinic in his Book[s] of Ideas. These approaches show that the single column can be just as flexible as a page of two of three columns.

Borders, margins and gutters

The physical construction of the page and how the borders margins and gutters are arranged may seem pretty inconsequential but there are both practical and aesthetic penalties to pay for not being aware of how these are included.  

The sample page beloew from Very Very magazine, 2011, shows the position of the Borders in Blue, Margins in Mauve and Gutters in Green. Note the margins overlap one another, with each being separately identified; Top, Bottom, Inside and Outside.

The placing of these elements is always fixed, so the designer must consider creative ways to use these spaces. As in the magazine above for example the borders are narrow, however the designer has been clever with the guttering and allowed the image of the jaguar to spill over into the outer margins (full bleed). The use of a two columns is a standard approach and the clever use of white space compliments the dark pallets of the photographs.

A wonderful comparison of how pages are arranged can be found in the July 1920 edition of Motion Picture Magazine. The two column approach is cleverly spread over four, with the designer keeping images well within the pages borders. What is interesting is the outer borders, which are narrower than the top and bottom sets, whilst the inner border/gutter is just big enough for the bind process, which is revealed at the boom of the magazine.

Editorial Design

This is where all the elements discussed so far come together to produce the finished spread. Here the editorial craft is best appreciated in this spread from Psychology Today.


Psychology Today; a salute to the editorial designer’s art.

Here four columns are carefully crafted on each pages, with the Golden Ratio spreading across two pages, and images being presented as full bleed whilst the construction of the grid is maintained by clear boundary’s, margins and gutters.

Linking Text

This final piece of practical work will hopefully bring a few things together not least of all an easier way of working. I chose to use InDesign for this element of the project. I’ve set up a basic two column per page and added text frames and 5000 words of Lorem Ipsum text, which is more than enough for the task in hand. As this isn’t something I’ve done before I found a step by step guide on Shutterstock. After following the instructions I ‘linked’ the relevant boxes so that then overflow of text was then included into the document correctly. It’s amazing how a small exercise can be such fun.

Overall an interesting and enjoyable project that introduced me to both the practical as well as the theoretical and aesthetic values that sit behind magazine design. As with anything creative there’s always more to do and learn.

Resources Used

Gordon, J with Chave, C and Schwartz, R (2019), Learn Adobe InDesign CC for Print and Digital Media Publication, 2nd edn, Adobe Press Books, Pearson Education Inc, USA.

Muller-Brockmann, J (2019), Grid Systems in Graphic Design, 13edn, Niggli, Switzerland.

Malinic, R, 2016, Book of Ideas Volume 1, Brand Nu, London.

Golden Ration PNG – https://www.hiclipart.com/search?clipart=Golden (Accessed 12112020) (Accessed 12112020)

Triumph Bobber – https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshmax/2018/03/31/these-five-2018-triumph-motorcycles-need-to-be-in-your-driveway-right-now/  (Accessed 12112020)

Wave – https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-12-16-freak-ocean-waves-hit-without-warning-new-research-shows  (Accessed 12112020)

Quality Street – https://fineartamerica.com/featured/8-1950s-uk-macintosh-magazine-advert-the-advertising-archives.html  & https://www.britishmetalsigns.co.uk/quality-street-buy-once-a-week—metal-advertising-wall-sign—retro-art-8859-p.asp  (Accessed 12112020)

Just 17 cover & Coke Cola Advert – https://flashbak.com/adverts-from-1992-just-seventeen-magazines-42948/  (Accessed 12112020)

The Rock Time Cover – https://eu.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/life/2019/04/17/time-magazine-covers-100-most-influential-people-world/3490624002/  (Accessed 12112020)

Nike Logo – https://www.stickpng.com/img/icons-logos-emojis/iconic-brands/nike-logo  (Accessed 12112020)

KFC Logo – http://logok.org/kfc-logo/  (Accessed 12112020)

Firefox Logo – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Firefox_Logo,_2017.svg  (Accessed 12112020)

Rule of Thirds PNG – https://www.cleanpng.com/png-rule-of-thirds-photography-composition-line-grid-839316/preview.html  (Accessed 12112020)

The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse, 1888 https://www.artfund.org/whats-on/more-to-see-and-do/features/seven-women-in-pre-raphaelite-art  (Accessed 12112020)

Mini Advert – https://flashbak.com/eighteen-brilliant-mini-adverts-1959-1989-29121/  (Accessed 12112020)

Menswear – https://www.artfido.com/amazing-1970s-mens-fashion-ads-you-wont-be-able-to-unsee/  (Accessed 12112020)

Saturday Evening Post Cover, Robin Moline, 2019 https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2019/08/an-interview-with-our-september-october-2019-cover-artist-robin-moline/  (Accessed 12112020)

Grids In Graphic Design https://uxplanet.org/grids-in-graphic-design-a-quick-history-and-5-top-tips-29c8c0650d18 (Accessed 13112020)

Grids and Layouts https://thehub.bathspa.ac.uk/services/marketing/branding/grids#:~:text=A%20six%20column%20grid%20is,%E2%80%93%20A4%3A%20210%20x%20297mm.  (Accessed 13112020)

Lorum Ipsum https://www.lipsum.com/feed/html (Accessed 13112020)

Baltimore American https://www.herald-dispatch.com/features_entertainment/jean-mcclelland-old-newspapers-hold-value-best-with-historical-but-rare-events/article_dcfdec6c-d347-59d2-84f7-6c2958466d8f.html  (Accessed 16112020)

hot lakes chronicle Wednesday Feb 29 1895 NZ https://www.rotorualibrary.govt.nz/heritage-and-research/PublishingImages/hot%20lakes%20chronicle%20Wednesday%20Feb%2029%201895.jpg (Accessed 16112020)

Examples of contemporary local newspapers https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/national/18319755.local-newspapers-join-forces-reassure-readers-amid-coronavirus-crisis/ (Accessed 16112020)

Health and Wellness magazine https://pharmns.med.uky.edu/news/article-published-health-and-wellness-magazine-nsps-and-dr-police-0  (Accessed 16112020)

Good magazine https://aslicaglar.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/gestalt-principles-editorial-design/  (Accessed 16112020)

The power of white space https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/the-power-of-white-space#:~:text=White%20space%20is%20the%20area,or%20even%20a%20background%20image. (Accessed 16112020)

Brno Shopping centre magazine https://www.behance.net/gallery/26836069/nckp-magazine (Accessed 16112020)

PC Mag https://mastery.games/post/overlapping-grid-items/ (Accessed 17112020)

Harry Becks original Tube map https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/culture-and-heritage/art-and-design/harry-becks-tube-map  (Accessed 17112020)

Villagers https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6196/6124542174_cd996d3c5f_b.jpg (Accessed 17112020)

Apartment Magazine https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/62980094759059822/  (Accessed 17112020)

A note by William Morris https://www.gutenberg.org/files/31596/31596-h/31596-h.htm  (Accessed 17112020)

Book of Ideas sample https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Ideas-Journal-Creative-Direction/dp/0993540015  (Accessed 17112020)

Motion Picture Magazine https://11east14thstreet.com/2014/04/29/zasu-pitts-unexpected/  (Accessed 17112020)

Psychology Today http://www.magazinedesigning.com/structure-of-the-magazine/  (Accessed 17112020)

Very very magazine 2011 https://www.behance.net/gallery/1622903/fashion-lifestyle-magazine-designs  (Accessed 17112020)

Linking text walkthrough https://www.shutterstock.com/support/article/how-to-link-text-boxes-in-indesign  (Accessed 17112020)