Exercise: If the face fits Pt3.

As I find it easier to break things down, as it helps me keep a track on what’s what, this is the final part of the exercise. The main reason I do this is I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury which led to some brain damage, which can make life a little awkward, so please bear with me.

I can now say with a little certainty that this may happen to me, so it led to me to a bit of research and I came across this wonderful site: https://kopywritingkourse.com/easiest-font-to-read/, truly a designers friend if ever there was.

So I’ve had a play using the above site for legibility checks as well as empirical evidence for formatting and design. The results are:

  • A Short Story in a woman’s magazine

Font examples_1


Women’s Magazine Font Sampler

The one thing I’ve noticed about this type of magazine is that they ignore Bold in their formatting and go for Black Type. The reason being is that it’s a little more legible and maintains this at smaller font size. Its also about seizing the moment and grabbing the readers attention. After all, these are designed as coffee break magazines, something I can attest to this as these were a firm favourite of my colleagues at a summer job I had 30 years ago.

So in this instance, the headlines were always bold and eyecatching, with a colour combination of black, yellow or red, depending on the theme. In this case, I’m going for yellow on red;

Font example colour

Brash and bold, but not threatening. The smooth flow of Lilita One sees to that. Hints of 70’s children’s TV shows too.

Given that these magazines are more gossip columns than news sharers editors and designs had free play on the fonts they used, so the opportunity to have a play is ever-present. Though legibility is a must. To that end, Lilita One is the perfect fit, especially at 20pt.

I’ve always found that Times New Roman seems a little fussy for a light read so opted for a range of light type fonts. At first, Javanese seems accessible enough, but like Times New Roman, as a text font, its seems crowed and stunted, forcing the reader to engage more with the font design, which defeats the purpose of the exercise.

Helvetica, the designers favourite was next. Light and dynamic it lacks the height, so, therefore, slows down the reading process. So for the text I’m going with Verdana; it’s easy on the eye and easy to read at a fast pace given its Sans Serif format, ideal for this type of coffee break magazine.

  • An advertisement in a parish magazine

The construction Parish magazines are normally read by a slightly older population so text tends to be slightly larger (often multiple styles in the same advert), but also rely on visual cues. Sometimes these are muted, occasionally brash with clip art detailing. I’ve gone for a mix of the two, utilising Times New Roman with some imagery form my own files to produce the atypical form of advert (which can I find now? Of curse not) that would appear in a parish magazine.

Parish Flowers

A quick mock-up of an atypical parish magazine advert

After a quick review I decided that the background was a little too busy, so putting my local head on realised that any adverts would feature clip art, if only for simplicity. So a quick internet search led me to a basic flower arrangement and a simplified church tower:

Flowers PNG can be found at: https://www.clipartmax.com/download/m2i8m2G6H7N4d3N4_flowers-line-art-23-outline-of-flowers-png/

Church PNG can be found at: https://favpng.com/png_view/church-coloring-book-building-church-png/cMnU9xjJ

The next step was to review the types used as it needed to replace the background detail/distractions and become the focal point. The first new font type was Sylfaen a serif script which is easy enough to read. However, it lacks impact.

Parish Flowers Sylfaen

Sylfaen flyer – I cleaned up the background but the Type lacks impact.

Happy with my visually cleaner background, I set about looking at the Type once more. Perhaps something a little heavier? Rockwell has a nice weight to it, but with the serif flourishes, it gives the advert more of an order air than a polite request.

Parish Flowers Rockwell

Rockwell; demanding your time one letter at a time

I was also unsure about the serif style so looked at what Sans Serif types were available, even as Black Fonts. Franklin Gothic Medium, though, fits the bill nicely; whilst black, it’s not heavy, it flows nicely and as its Sans Serif it look less cluttered at a smaller pt size.

Parish Flowers Franklin Gothic Medium #4

Franklin Gothic Medium, when capital letters and bold are simply too much to handle and you’re seeking visual clarity.

  • After School Club

The good, the bad and the indifferent? Pinterest has a mass of great ideas and what to avoid

Sometimes posters can be inspiring and sometimes not quite hitting the mark. Looking at the above examples there’s a fair mix of good information and visual cues alongside indifferent and ‘trying too hard’. I get the ‘understand your audience’ approach, but when it comes to youth culture, especially teenage boys, it becomes a veritable mine-field.

Youth culture, behaviours and tastes change. In my youth model making and role-play games were de rigour, followed by rugby and visits to rural youth clubs. School was something that we went to by law rather than by compulsion. My teenage daughter is now more interested in her iPhone, Instagram and Nandos, so I’m going to have to find a middle ground.

Posters containing multiple images seem to be favourites, and in fairness are eyecatching, and let the activities do the talking. Though there is a propensity to include more than two fonts, something I’m keen to avoid alongside cliched ‘yoof-culture’ imagery.

After School #3

Above: A great poster; Using two fonts this contains the activity information, joining instructions and conveys a light-hearted and fun factor feel. However, below, if used as a basis for any after school, club lacks a dynamic and inventive approach. Although it’s the use of the military-style stencil font that is reflective of the intention; structure, discipline and joy-less endeavour.

After School #4

So following a very similar format to the first poster I’d be looking at, the font isn’t ideal and the decorative font, even at A3 size would be hard to read in a hurry, especially if the poster is placed in a busy communal area.

Given the copy is quite punchy I’m going for Roof Runners (https://www.1001fonts.com/roof-runners-active-font.html) by Pressgang studios as the headline font. It’s a great contemporary black font with punch and substance and isn’t too twee.

For the information sections, I’ll use Quicksand Light (https://www.1001fonts.com/quicksand-font.html by Andrew Paglinawan. It’s San serif Form flows smoothly, whilst it’s contemporary lines and simple structure make it easy to easy in a rush, especially in bold regular.

The next step is imagery; queue teenage boys having fun in some form of informal setting (which this is). A quick hunt led me to a pretty generic image at https://www.canstar.com.au/transaction-accounts/christmas-gift-ideas-teenage-boys/.


The above image will serve as a background and is ready to be processed through Photoshop. Its popped through a couple of filters with this as the end result.

Boys Club #001

I now have a basic layout, and colour base, but I want the heading to be eye-catching, the quick headliner below is just tagged on. I have a thought; Jamie Reid

Boys Club Draft #001

The collage aesthetic is inspirational, snappy and has been used as a basis for designs  before:


Jamie Reid’s original…

..and some good copies…

So time to have some fun. First I’ll look at the colour palette to use, which I’ve based on a blue core. I want a contrasting palette but not jarring, so a quick review of colours led me to change the background colour of the poster slightly and then identifying four complimentary colours.

The next task is arranging the wording using Roof Runners and complementary colours. I sketched a few ideas for the arrangement of the wording and once I was happy with it placed it on the poster. The first attempt (L) was a little crowded, but I moved it around and came up with the second final version (R), which seemed more balanced.

A tale of two posters…

Next up the activities; ‘ We’ve got football, ping pong, table soccer, computers, karate, cooking and lots more’ it’s fair to say that’s a lot going on. However I wanted to bring the poster alive; so a quick generic images search for the key activities and its time to montage. But before I do that I wanted to check the Quicksand font to ensure its legibility matched the background and theme of the poster, thankfully it did.

Boys Club Draft #005

Check draft of Quicksand Font shows it works. 

Back to the montage, I want to the top element to show a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, for these to act as a sort of headline. I arranged the computers, table football and physical football as a triumvirate of activities. A bit of swinging around in Affinity Designers seem to do the job quite well. Each image had its opacity lowered so as not to detract from the poster title.

Boys Club Draft #006

Starting to come together…

Boys Club Draft #007

Getting there, but it looks too crowded.

Sometimes less is truly more, so I reviewed the montage imagery and went back to the beginning. It may be a photographer mindset thing, but the desire to fill the poster is overwhelming and I need to rein it in a bit. So a bit of adjustment with what’s what, changing sizes and moving images around so they didn’t clip seems to have done the trick.

Boys Club Draft #008

Rearranged images and now time to work on the wording. 

Whilst the wording is presented readymade, the format isn’t, so a bit of experimentation is required. The font works, but the colouring needs adjustment. I want to avoid black as much as possible, but at the same time needs to consider legibility. Looking at experience and colour charts the colours featuring a yellow or red base would be best-suited to the task. Orange was too light so I settled for burgundy and then used a Bold format for the structure of the wording as white wasn’t sharp enough.

Boys Club Draft #009 - Final

The colours right, but it needs some attention. 

The more I look at the wording the more its now sharp enough. I decided to open a new file simply for the lettering to see if a separate layer is sharper.

Boys Club Wording Draft

The new layer as a PNG with a transparent background.

Success! The new layer has done the job, I’ve also raised the message block slightly so that it sits more centrally on the poster.

Boys Club Draft #009 - Final v1

The finished Boys Club poster.

  • Engagement Party

Engagement parties, always fun. My thoughts straight the way are to use a decorative script style font in differing weights with a range of colours.

Whilst the header can be ornate the information must be clear if only to ensure brevity on such a card. The temptation to completely re-word the whole invite was overwhelming, but it’s their event, and so any copy is a reflection of their characters.

So I had a play on Affinity Designer, especially useful as my hands aren’t behaving right now, with a variety of scripts choosing to stick with AR Decode at 20pt size as the headlining font.

I then had a play with a series of font for the text bodies mixing Serif and Sans Serif script types to see how they would appear for brevities sake. Book Antiqua was my first choice, striking at 12pt size, but it lacks that appeal.

Engagement Party #1 w Book Antiqua

First attempt featuring AR Decode  and Book Antiqua

I then chose to experiment with the background and type appearance and colours, as whilst I liked the pink/grey mix I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. I also took a moment to change the body font to Bodoni and re-arrange the headlining arrangement.

Engagement Party #2a w Bodoni

Close; but the red over yellow is a little jarring to say the least

Okay, it’s hideous. So back to the originally plan of pink/grey, however swapping the colours and a pink background seems to be a little too much, almost baby shower territory. I’ve changed the body font once again for the lighter touch of Perpetua. Seems more in keeping.

Engagement Party #3 w Perpetua

Getting there with a change in font style. 

Still not quite right. The main text font isn’t exactly dynamic, so I make a final change, this time to Nathan Condensed. I also change the colour, making the shade a touch lighter.

Engagement Party #3b w Nathan Condensed


Okay, I’m happy with the types of Fonts, their weight and arrangement, yet the colours are making it look like an invitation to a Bespoke Kitchen Fitter showroom opening rather than an engagement. So I chose to reverse the colours once again and have come up with this:

Engagement Party #3c w Nathan Condensed

Final Draft

The colours combine with the types to give the script a sharpness that previous attempts couldn’t quite achieve. It’s legible, flow’s nicely and is of a suitable tone for an engagement party.

Assignment Three: Colour me

The aim of Graphic Design is to inform

Since reading the brief for this particular Assignment I’ve been excited about the range of possibilities that it presented to me. Colour choice was very straight forward, blue. I find it calming relaxing and when combined with the happy warmth of yellow as a contrast it becomes very calming. While I was briefly tempted by contemporary shades of pink and grey, I held my ground and stuck with my plan.

I had a couple of ideas I wanted to play with so set to making my plans, drawing and colouring my ideas. Refining and designing I started to visualise what I wanted to do so set to using Adobe Photoshop CC and Affinity Designer.

Sketches and swatches

I chose to experiment with collage, illustrations and the fonts held by my DTP applications to explore the best way to create a theme. My first task was to create a simple contrast image (Dev Contrast Concept #1) to see how the colours would interact and what would be the best way to represent these.


Blue and yellow watercolour swatches

I then created a series of blue and yellow swatches using watercolour pens, paints and pencils. These were scanned then in Photoshop selected and isolated as individual colour samples. A couple of which were then chosen to have their tints and shades identified as a unique colour samples in Designer for future use.

After a couple of false starts, I settled on a collage effect as this was the most dynamic for me and I was able to utilise stills from my photo library and experiment with colours and arrangements in Designer.

During my experimentation and as I drew various elements together I felt that a Fat Face font would suit my needs. I envisaged the word BLUE as an overlay layer featuring a single example of the colour in its font.

Looking through the font library I settled on Wildfire, designed by the Retro Supply Co. in 2012, as the idea font. Wanting to feature bright colours I chose the stamen of a yellow dog rose and a blue locomotive for the two backgrounds.


After experimenting with the two main coloured backgrounds I found myself favouring the blue background with the yellow overlay of the word BLUE. Initially, the blue seemed to be quite dark, so I set to changing the tone and shade, lightning it enough so that it didn’t smother the font, but bright enough to retain details and not white-out details in the photographs.

I then experimented with how the lettering was arranged and after considering the traditional setting of the font I realised it didn’t do it for me visually. It lacked impact. The factor being that by arranging it traditionally I was unable to resize the word to such a point where it made a difference.

I decided upon boxing the wording up. This would allow for a larger font size as well as revealing some of the patterns of the rose petals. To enable the wording to stand out a little more I experimented with both inner and outer glow as well as shadowing. In the end, I settled with a subtle shadowing effect so as not to make the font look too overly processed yet still stand out.

The final submissions