Research Point: Posters

The one thing this course does is open your mind to new ideas and concepts, and whilst the way in which visual information is relayed to us. Be it official announcement or marketing and promotion purposes, the poster remains that bridge between the informative elements of Graphic Design and illustration. The Victorians and Edwardians were great one for providing wonderfully illustrated posters that were almost artworks in themselves, often featuring fantastical motifs and themes. Alluding that the properties of products were somehow magical, patriotic in some cases, but always superior by virtue of the standard of artwork commissioned. By the start of the Great War these posters had morphed into celebrations of nationalistic pride, of women urging men to advance into the crucible of the Western Front.

The post-war world had changed beyond all recognition and by the 1920’s the artistic freedom that many designers were experiencing in the new world of post imperial Russia and Germany were influencing the work of artists in Great Britain and USA. Palette colours were simplified and styles from the Bauhaus and Art Deco Schools were making themselves felt in popular advertising. This was now torn between connecting the consumers personal preferences to a product and new ways of radical thinking and governance, such as communism and fascism, rather than chasing the nationalistic ideals of Exceptionalism and turning goods into a celebration of Empire.

As the period progressed there was a drive to place the consumer at the heart of the image; famers, families, men, and women. There was also a return to selling the ideal, but not as an extension of the body politic (outside of Central and Eastern Europe aside), but as a means to introduce the consumer to the world. The age of the holiday was upon the masses, given rise by cheaper transportation, and an ever increasing globalisation of information. The use of photography, which first appeared mainly in post war political posters, was becoming more popular with advertisers and manufacturers, especially the automotive industry. Though illustrations were still being used, it was more simplistic and suited to cheaper mass and rapid turn over printing rather than the more expensive and complex painterly styles.

The onset of war and mass propaganda introduced once again more complex and dynamic use of colour, composition and theme. Posters followed the same formulas of personal engagement with the viewer seen with contemporary advertising, promoting personal responsibility and collective aims.

Post war adverting and poster production was miles away from the still rigid forms of the inter war years. Many of the designers returned from fighting eager to experiment and use their post war education credits to gain the necessary qualifications in design and illustration. New theories from Switzerland, especially those penned by Müller – Brockmann and Tschichold, introduced a new form and visual direction to the poster, which was easier to fulfil with the development of print technolgy. There was also the chance to completely tear-up the rule book and introduce more informal form in their work. The seriousness of wartime messaging was now replaced with a looser, freer form of expression where comedy and whimsicality was welcomed, especially in film and travel posters.

For me this was the golden era of the poster, from holidays to military recruitment, clothing to cars this period not only helped to sell ideas, good and experiences, but also, for a fleeting moment, showed that all was still good with the world. Colours and artistic flare worked together to give the viewer an experience and insight in what was out there, a welcoming splash of colour and life for all to enjoy.

All the while Type and Font has developed with posters, becoming more sophisticated and less decorative whilst improving accessibility. Though it has to be noted that as the decades progressed the decorative fonts were used, but often sparingly, as part of logos for example, and often in Black or Bold styles.

My Pinterest collection of posters and similar can be found here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/Benjskipper/inspired-graphic-design/

Resources Used

Inglis, T. (2019) Mid-Century Modern Graphic Design, Batsford, London

Clark, T. (1997) Art and Propaganda, Everyman Art Library, London

Exercise: Birthday List

This is an interesting little task involving the design of a simple Birthday Reminder Calendar for family and friends. As opposed to a spider chart style mind map I looked at the key themes of the exercise and used these as a starting point for what the exercise was attempting to do. I then considered the brief from my perspective as a disabled person who struggles with communication. What did I want/need? Clarity above all else.

The actual list is based on a simple sheet of A3 separated into 12 square grid, which was going to originally be orientated as landscape, but I decided to move it to a portrait orientation. Each square would represent a month, with no individual dates, instead there would two simple types of symbol, circles for family and squares for friends. I was inspired by Eastern European birthday calendars that are wall hung which use similar approached for different birthdays.

For the actual methods of communication I did think about symbols, however some are easily confused visually so opted for colour coding which makes the task that bit easier.

For the main List background I chose a pale yellow with a pale blue banner with the words Birthday List in a simple Black San Serif Type, Candal. This was then given a light shadow effect. For the Background I initially intended to use a coloured background to help contrast with the colour coded disks, so came up with this:

I’ll be honest, after literally sleeping on it these first drafts look hideous. So a review of White Space is in order with resign adding a faint background image being more in keeping. The arrangement of the grid is also off so I’ll address that too as well as sorting out the type, its size (30Pts) and colour (60% grey). I used a generic back image as I wanted the poster to have a family appeal too, especially for the younger members.

I made all my changes and realised I hadn’t left room for the key which used Arial for the lettering as this is easy to use and read at a distance. This was then added to the bottom of the calendar. The final task was to populate the calendar using family and friends details.

One the things I tried was to curve the name of a family member inside the circle, whilst easy enough to do in the Affinity package in terms of legibility and accessibility it’s a no-go. So back to my original idea of simple flat line text.

As I populated the details list and colours I realised that my colour choice wasn’t the best and most suitable. The shades were simply too similar, so a quick change was in order.

The next and final task to populate the calendar with the list, unfortunately I had an issue with the lasso selection tool so had to move a few of the markers, however a quick shift around gave me a great representation of the finished Birthday List.

Overall the hardest element of this task was not the design but drawing the practical elements together. That said I learned a lot including maintaining design flexibility.

Resources Used

Birthday Celebration PNG https://www.kissclipart.com/birthday-gifts-clipart-birthday-balloon-gift-p1k8za/download-clipart.html

Corner Balloons PNG https://www.clipartmax.com/middle/m2H7i8K9N4b1m2Z5_royalty-free-clipart-illustration-of-an-arch-of-streamers-birthday-balloons-border/

Tables and Forms

As this bit of research runs with the next exercise I won’t bamboozle you dear reader, but it was an opportunity for me to make some notes on what I thought constitutes a table or form and how these are presented and in what manner.

Ideas on Tables and Forms

I then set to doing an image search on Pinterest use keys words form my mind map.  I had a bit of a field day and the results can be found here:

More will be added as time goes on.

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)

Research Point: Book Covers

‘Books used to be made, today they are designed’ –  August Heckscher, 1966.

The thing about book covers is that there are many versions of the same titles. Orwell’s 1984 is a great example of this variety of approach, interpretation of a theme and how publishers, aesthetic taste and contemporary styles shape cover design. The post war period saw a positive bloom of creative designers; Paul Rand, Paul Bacon, Edward Gorey, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Andy Warhol. It also saw Publishers such Penguin build a contact list of designers to help deliver beguiling, visual stunning yet often simple and abstract covers that were clearly of their period. And that is a great part of thier appeal.

The one thing we tend to look past as researchers is where we find our inspiration. We are almost anchored to the twentieth and twenty first century’s and even more so to the work of culturally familiar writers, works and publishers. A great example of a creative approach is Kolomon Moser’s 1897 book cover design for Ewart Felicie Jugendschatz. This shows creative use of the whole cover and that inspiration and innovation are not a modern approach and deserve to be considered as more art than design. The surface of the book has become a canvas to be utilised by the designer to produce a stunning cover that is more artwork than mere book cover.

This then leads on to looking at work produced by non-English speaking countries, if only for balance and reflection. The creativity is just as wide as America or Great Britain. I chose examples from France and the USSR just to show a visual difference and similarity to how the cover is arranged by artists.

This then brings me to house styles and how each one differs from the other, even during the same time period. As I’m a great fan of Mid-Twentieth century design. Looking at designs its clear to see how certain publishing houses developed their own style. One that springs instantly to mind is Penguin. The colour coded Classics range was initially designed by Edward Young, and developed further by Jan Tschichold, used striking Tyography to introduce and sell the book. The original 1930’s classic covers were split into three horizontal lines, using the white space of the centre line to show off eye catching type as well as book details. The coloured band was the preserve of the brand, with a monogrammed logo at the head and the flightless Penguin, again designed by Young.

Jan Tschichold developed the stripe theme further, inverting them to the horizontal and introducing basic imagery to support the books title and give the potential buyer an insight into the story’s plot. The use of line drawing echoed contemporary illustrative trends, and made excellent use of the central stripes white space. Its also interesting that Tschichold also started to change the font styles at this stage and using it as part of the cover design working with the illustrations.

Of course time stand still for no-man and the covers continued to develop to embrace photography and contemporary illustration styles. By the early 1960’s the coloured stripes slowly began to disappear, slowly replaced by a simple horizontal series of blocks featuring a smaller logo, followed by the title and finally the authors name. The accompanying illustrations had become the key features and the illustrations were visually more powerful and seemingly more important than the author.

This new style continued to develop and soon covers designed by David Gentleman started to appear. The headers were simplified and Gentleman’s series of illustrations for the New Penguin Shakespeare series featured slashed of colour and took on the appearance of wood block carvings. These were intricate, enticing and in some instance, such as Richard III, echoed contemporary paintings with a naivety of touch and lack of perspective.

By the 60’s and 70’s the general style had changed once more and with titling centralised and incorporated into the white space of the cover and engravings continued to dominate. The work of Diane Bloomfield and Bruce Robertson was as challenging as it was enticing. The days of the image reflecting the book were gone, and experimentation was the new game. Here the use of computer generated designs and pseudo science fiction imagery added a touch of modernity.

No where was the use of such stunning and challenging graphs as prevalent as the Pelican series of books. Established as the non-fiction branch of Penguin the covers were always interesting and are worth considerations as they were influenced by the work of Robertson in particular. What is interesting is the use of montage as well as props, which shows a further development of the genre of cover design. The use of symmetrical and abstract themes also help to confirm the type of publications the book is; serious, challenging, no nonsense.

The late 1970’s and 19801’s also saw further developed to include a full CMYK palette and this was used to great effect, providing colourful and enticing covers, often not afraid of raising eyebrows. A Clockwork Orange. Designed and illustrated by David Pelham in 1985 is a notable example of this new found confidence in colour to be found in the library of Penguin books.

Photo Covers were slowly introduced by Penguin featuring the world of designers such as John Sewell. These often featured montages and collages, which as time past featured unique and one-off font designs. The influence of popular culture was clear to see and visual experimentation was not shied away from.

As Steven Heller wrote in his essay Type as agent of Power¹ …the marriage of type and word (and image too) determines tone, tenor, and weight of expression’. Type rarely changed for Penguin in the twentieth century. Whilst instantly recognisable in its varying forms of Gill Sans, as demanded by Tschichold, it was rarely incorporated into the book cover design as a leading element. However, the spread of work by the popular illustrator Ronald Searle in the 1950’s and 1960’s, soon had Tschichold’s policies on Type yielding under his light hand.

However it was in the children Puffin range of books that the fonts stepped away from the rigidity of Tschichold’s edicts and became more playful. They featured often beautifully illustrated covers designed to grab the attention of the young reader, but also featured decorative text. Combined with the smiling Puffin logo the font was often integrated into the cover as in the case of The Jungle Book. These decorative fonts often mimicked children writing, making the title accessible and fun, and event the earlier books, whilst still very rigid in their use of a Serif font, Tarka the Otter for example, they still stood out as something, not adult.

The final set of covers that were used were those featuring elements and close-ups of famous arts works by artists such as Frantisek Kupka (left) N.C. Kierkegaard (centre) and Hans Old (right). The use of such work added a weight of formality to the book, lending them an air of drawing room seriousness that perhaps illustration and photography would miss. In using established and famous artists work not only was there an attempt to provide visual provenance but also an opportunity to expand the readers knowledge of the visual arts. Notice how the details are worked into the overall master designs used during that particular period of publication.

If anything this little foray into the world of book cover design has led me down the proverbial rabbit hole, and whilst I have deliberately chosen to predominantly look at the work of the Penguin House in the mid-twentieth century their twenty-first century output continues to engage the potential buyer through the use of traditional approaches as well as engaging in more contemporary DTP and computer based illustrations. Fonts and type are explored and used to good effect and montage is an increasing staple of visual communication. It will be interesting to see what the future bring the reader.

Resources Used

¹Heller, S, (2014, Design Literacy, Understanding Graphic Design, Allworth Press, New York

Inglis T, (2019), Mid-Century Modern Graphic Design, Batsford, Pavilion Books, London

Paul Bacon Covers https://lithub.com/the-iconic-covers-of-paul-bacon/ (Accessed 24112020)

Edward Gorey http://www.goreybooks.com/cgi-bin/emAlbum.cgi?c=show_image;p=Primary%20Works;i=61#.X71U9Gj7TIV  (Accessed 24112020)

Book cover designers https://thejohnfox.com/2019/09/30-best-book-cover-designers/  (Accessed 24112020)

15 Famous Book Cover Designs https://www.designhill.com/design-blog/famous-book-cover-designs-that-will-inspire-you-to-design-your-own/  (Accessed 24112020)

Best covers of all time https://www.shortlist.com/lists/the-50-coolest-book-covers  (Accessed 24112020)

French book covers https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=french%20book%20covers&rs=typed&term_meta[]=french%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=book%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=covers%7Ctyped  (Accessed 24112020)

1984 Book Covers https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?rs=ac&len=2&q=george%20orwell%201984%20book%20covers&eq=george%20orwell%201984%20covers&etslf=1879&term_meta[]=george%7Cautocomplete%7C0&term_meta[]=orwell%7Cautocomplete%7C0&term_meta[]=1984%7Cautocomplete%7C0&term_meta[]=book%7Cautocomplete%7C0&term_meta[]=covers%7Cautocomplete%7C0  (Accessed 24112020)

Publishers List https://blog.reedsy.com/largest-book-publishers/ (Accessed 24112020)

Paul Rand Collection https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=paul%20rand&rs=typed&term_meta[]=paul%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=rand%7Ctyped  (Accessed 24112020)

Kolomon Moser https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/413838653264018194/  (Accessed 24112020)

Soviet Book Covers https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=soviet%20book%20covers&rs=typed&term_meta[]=soviet%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=book%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=covers%7Ctyped  (Accessed 24112020)

Penguin Classic Covers https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/403424079126873847/ (Accessed 25112020)

Penguin Classis Covers https://99percentinvisible.org/article/classic-penguins-how-minimalist-book-covers-sold-paperbacks-to-the-masses/ (Accessed 25112020)

Pelican Covers https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?rs=ac&len=2&q=pelican%20book%20covers&eq=pelican%20book%20covers&etslf=1565&term_meta[]=pelican%7Cautocomplete%7C0&term_meta[]=book%7Cautocomplete%7C0&term_meta[]=covers%7Cautocomplete%7C0 (Accessed 26112020)

Puffin Covers https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=puffin%20childrens%20books&rs=typed&term_meta[]=puffin%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=childrens%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=books%7Ctyped (Accessed 26112020)

Contemporay Penguin book covers https://www.penguin.co.uk/  (Accessed 26112020)

Exercise: Lorum Ipsum

For this exercise, I plan to do four pieces using the generically generated using https://lipsum.com/ program, selecting words for the following two examples:

Gardening News

Type: Passion One, Times New Roman and Louisiana for hand script

Narrow Gauge Times

Type: Times New Roman and Gill Sans

The first task is to create template pages used samples from both publications. I used Affinity Publisher for this task as it something I’m familiar with and I’m still fumbling my way around the Adobe suites. I created the ‘copy’ layout using layers for both the Gardening News (L) and Narrow Gauge Times (R) using layers.

The use of the Lorum Ipsum package was an interesting experience as the word Length generated by can be problematic. This leaves the overall effect a little artificial as you have to trim the words down to make them fit, literally. However what it did show that what I thought looked ‘smart’ was actually far from it. The Gardening News item was messy, chaotic and frankly hideous, whilst the Narrow Gauge Times was surprisingly clean and well thought out. The aesthetics were ‘right’ despite what I thought and felt.

Humility restored I set to trying to improve the layouts, starting with the Gardening News Given my motor skills are deteriorating in some respects I decided to make my comments onto the JPG image, for some reason, it’s slightly easier to write like that.

This is where technology is extremely helpful for disabled students, it allows for easy manipulation of tasks and forms. I chose to colour the writing blocks in pink as not to get too overwhelmed by the text. This something that occurs increasingly, and perhaps has a role to play in my not fully enjoying or engaging with certain elements of the course. However, the colour block works nicely in calming this down. The yellow/green borders were added to help me identify the various boxes as I moved them around.

I settled on using a grid system for both articles, as it’s easier to both read and work with (I recommend reading Muller-Brockmann ‘Grid Systems in Graphic Design’). I had a play around with what layouts would work the best and simplified and unified grid size with the final version.

I kept the original fonts as I felt these suited the friendly nature of the article whilst the changes in layout gives it a little more structure and visual balance.

Next I repeated the copy pattern with the Narrow Gauge Times, which looks rather smart when presented in a basic manner.

I looked at how the basics, whilst right could be improved. I chose to stick with the Time New Roman font as it was in keeping, but the layout was a great foundation to play with.

Again I went with for the gird arrangement and played with which arrangement was the easiest and most intuitive to navigate around;

Again I used pink to signify the text blocks before filling these with the Lorum Ipsum text. Seeing the text aligned next to grey picture boxes left with a few choices to make.

However, I went for a linear approach with regards to the arrangement choosing ton have the text running along the outer edges of the page with stills running along the spine:

Now time to tidy the formating starting with Gardening News.

The adjusted format left, original right.

One major change was the changing the black bold Type of Passion One to Lalezar by Borna Izadpanah. It’s slightly more slender and a little more delicate in terms of presentation when reviewed against the original type, therefore a little more keeping with the nature of the publication. I also feel that for larger, bolder type, a Sans Serif type is more appealing to the eye. I kept the Times New Roman and Louisiana Types as they matched the feel and, in the case of Times New Roman its accepted use as the publisher’s choice is well understood.

For formatting, I kept the paragraphs left-justified with the tracking adjusted to 10% horizontal tracking, 6pts for the baseline and 11.5pt for the Leading Override tracking. These subtle differences seem to deliver a more polished finish for the resigned article.

For Narrow Gauge Times, Header horizontal tracking increased to 10% and the Leading Override 25ts and the font changed to Gill Sans MT at 25pts size as a nod to its use within the rail industry.

The main change was the Type, I decided to use Arial, in keeping with the Sans Serif theme whilst increasing the size to 14pts, increasing the horizontal tracking by 10% and the Leading Override tracking by 18%.

Overall a very useful exercise and one which has taught me quite a bit about the importance of arrangement and design.

Research Point – The Printed Word

Note: This is a review of how I see the printed material featured and is purely personal.

There’s a fine line between collecting and hoarding; fortunately, I seem to teeter on it and over the past few years I’ve collected a collection of various magazines, papers and the like which I find visually interesting. Whilst I have a thinning out every six months or so, lest I become overwhelmed, there are always those few that I choose to keep on.

So the first task was to identify a good selection of newspapers, magazines, leaflets and brochures, so I settled for 10 examples, taking four sample scans of all but one. The next is to sift them out by looking at those which are easy to read, and those not so.

That said there are examples where the formatting in both is ether good and bad, and I‘ll discuss this during my review, these elements should always be looked at in context. This list is purely subjective. I used https://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ the fonts used in each case.

Easy to read:

  • Artisan Rifles leaflet

Artisan Rifles

Type: Rival Sans Extra Light and Anuparp Thai Regular

Words per line: Ave. 5

Column Width: Ave. 108pts

Alignment: Left Alignment

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

This is a leaflet that was on display at the local country store and being intrigued I picked it up. For me, it was the way very complex legal subjects are broken down into easy to understand short bites of information.

The use of a Sans Serif font always helps when it comes to conveying important messages. It’s easily read and with the combined use of Rival Sans Extra Light and Anuparp Thai Regular with a three colour pallet helped add the necessary sobriety and tone to the subject matter leaflet. whilst providing an eye-catching design. This makes for quick and easy reading, with font size aiding greatly.

  • The Brambly Newspaper

Type: CG Times Bold and Times New Roman

Words per line: Ave. 5

Column Width: Ave. 108pts

Alignment: A mix of Left and Justified Alignments.

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

The desire to say ‘It is what it is’ when talking about newspaper layouts is simply overwhelming. They all follow a cultural norm and are presented as such. However, they remain a celebration of typesetter’s art.

Working within the confines of the column the unknown typesetter has evened out the headlines, given the columns word count balance, and allowed for a decent amount of space between columns. Given that The Bramley, our local paper, is distributed in an area predominantly older readership, this not only makes sense, but also engages the reader. Retaining the traditional Times based Type allows for quick and easy reading.

Font size seems a little larger than normal and the use of equal spacing between letters is used to not only keep the words per line to a maximum of five, but to also make the words more legible. So clearly a lot of thought has gone into this design.

Sally Mitchells Fine Arts Brochure

Type: Calibri and Calibri Bold

Words per line: Ave. 8

Column Width: Ave 180pts

Alignment: Left, centre and right alignments.

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

Given this is a brochure it eschews the normal layout for print media, mixing a vernacular style with a grid-based one. The Vernacular is used to display certain key works, whilst the use of the now accepted grid style is used to promote multiple print items as in a now traditional sales brochure format.

The Font, and Type Size is spot on for legibility and makes the brochure easy too read. Whilst the layout isn’t necessarily orthodox, it’s unique approach makes for easy browsing.

  • Gardening News

Type: Loka Extended Extra Bold,  Times New Roman and Louisiana for hand script

Words per line: Ave. 8

Column Width: Ave 108pts

Alignment: Left alignments

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

The eye-catching heading lines in  Loka Extended Extra Bold coupled with the varying weights of Times New Roman, grid structure with no more than four columns per page enable the reader to rapidly read articles. The size of the text font is 10pt, is easy on the eye, and when there’s a need for emphasis the designer has proved the reader with a bold Times New Roman, rather than employ italics, which at a small size can be awkward to read.

  • Country Living

Type: Bodoni based range, including SB Med OsF, Light and SH Roman

Words per line: Ave. 9

Column Width: Ave 252pts

Alignment: Left alignments

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

Country Living takes an interesting approach to layout, by sticking to a predominantly two-column width the layout is designed for a slower read, with imagery working alongside content. The use of a single, though varied in weight, type shows how simply altering line weight and size of one font can have as much an impact as using two or three different designs of font. It also keeps appearance and design crisp and fresh and the size allows for easy reading. Of the five selected examples, this is my favourite by far.

Not so easy to read:

  • Narrow Gauge Times

Type: Times New Roman and Gill Sans

Words per line: Ave. 11

Column Width: 144pts

Alignment: Left alignments

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

Firstly, the topic aside, this is a product of its time, yet its layout can still be found in a multitude of locally produced magazines. In this instance the use of dual column, with a traditional font is atypical of information sharing, it’s quick and to the point. The print size is a little too small at 10pts, with kerning a little too close. This approach doesn’t lend itself to easy or fast reading. Whilst the subject matter is light and interesting, the design makes it feel as though the reader to wading through treacle at times.

  • Pocket Bond Catalougue

Type: Stencil, and varying weights of Calibri

Words per line: Ave. 5

Column Width: 72pts

Alignment: Left and Centre alignments

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

For most brochures, quirkiness is expected to help sell products, but this is normally in terms of the visuals and headlining type and font. Pocketbond has used varying styles of alignment, layout combined with unnecessarily small Pt sizes and poorly arranged product images all lead to the reader being left with something that lacks uniformity.

Whilst the enthusiast will look past this for the outsider, reviewing it on an aesthetic level its quite an uncomfortable experience. Many model kit manufacturers and importers produce brochures which engage the reader, draw them in, in this instance that doesn’t quite happen. Its a hodgepodge of dry information, with occasional sparks of engagement that are ruined by poor layout and presentation. 

  • Vogue

Type: Vogue AG and Garamond

Words per line: Ave 8

Column Width: 128 and 216pts

Alignment: Justified and Left alignments

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

For a magazine like Vogue, which is an icon and revered, to put it here was a hard choice. On one hand, the photography is engaging, and the subject matter light. Yet where it falls down is in the details, which really surprised me. The use of Garamond for the articles makes for easy and quick reading, however, the photo captions are a different story.

Whilst some sit traditionally by the side of stills, those which are overlaid are infinitely harder to read. Always in italics and a size smaller than the font, possibly 8pts, they was produced in either black or white print. This difficulty in reading is further compounded by the fact that, especially on black and white stills. Which is a pity as Vogue is an otherwise beautifully laid out magazine, yet proves that a slight flaw will always detract from the overall beauty of a product. Much like a loose thread.

  • Lakeland Christmas Brochure

Type: Unidentified Hand Script, Bodoni Old Fashioned, and Bodoni. 

Words per line: Ave. 10

Column Width: 72 to 210pts

Alignment: Left and Justified alignments

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

Christmas catalogues will always be quirky, but this particular one takes the visual-aesthetic journey a step too far in some respects. The fonts, in particular the stylised hand script, are so poorly chosen that http://www.myfonts.com couldn’t identify them. Here is a brochure which totally missed its key audience and instead becomes a showcase of all that is gimmicky and fake.

The premise is okay, buy the lack of uniformity in presentation, the use of more than one type of Font per page and the zig-zagging arrangement of imagery. Written information whilst clear and easy to read is likewise haphazardly thrown about the page, or placed against a hard to read background. In terms of total accessibility, like Vogue before it, Lakeland falls short for me. It’s more the result of client leading the Designer than the designer guiding the client.

  • Gonalston Farm Shop Christmas Brochure

Type: Helvetica, Gill Sans Heavy, Arial, Pristina Std and Times New Roman

Words per line: Ave 8

Column Width: 140pts

Alignment: Left and Centre alignment

Designers Intent; has it made this easier to read (Speed, Type size, Font, layout)?

Granted this is a locally produced brochure, and I do love the rein-cow cover (almost a crime against Photoshop), but when you open it it literally screams at you. Oversized Gills Sans Fonts in green and black jostle with Times New Roman and the odd bit of Helvetica thrown in for good measure. All of this is topped off with Pristina Std. 

In terms of layout, aside from the occasional piece of poorly placed clipart shape, its spot on, but sadly this is ruined by the arrangement of lettering. One redeeming feature is the clearly laid out order form. Overall a tad too busy visually, but not the worst offender by far.