‘Again a sound range of ideas for ‘Chance Housing Association’. In many respects you over-complicated the solution by adding door illustration therefore your logo design has two illustrative features; the word ‘association’ doesn’t merit emphasis.’
Never has a truer word been spoken in jest. The more I looked at what I initially thought was a great idea the more I realised I’d strayed into illustration territory, perhaps goaded by some of the images I’d collected on Pinterest. Some of which may have looked nice, twee. Kitsch. I think its very easy to be taken in by snazzy logos, bright colours and wonderful motifs, yet they rarely add anything to the overall design.
The desire to overcomplicate or not let the text speak is strange and indeed when I searched for simple estate agent logo’s there were surprisingly few that relied on lettering and simple decorative devices. That puts the designer up against it as straight the way you’re having to be innovative. So to that end I revisited the work I’d done previously for this exercise and drop the door opening motif, ensuring the simplicity of the design returned (though I kept the roof motif as it didn’t interfere with the lettering), and any manipulation of the lettering was reflective of the theme.
I’ve done a couple of mock up’s with two different designs and hopefully these are closer to the intent of the original brief.
Of the two designs the one on the left is my favoured as it’s simpler, cleaner and visually more balanced and the one I’d submit for assessment.
Part Four of the learning cycle in Graphic Design has led me to this point, where selecting the right font is dependent on whether or not I’ve been paying attending. The one thing I have gleaned from my studies to keep the font pallet restricted when working with any member of the Header groups. So the trick is to adapt those that are used. That is to say Arial can be used in any number of styles, along with Garamond for example, but introducing a third font would be a disaster, especially a decorative type.
This methodology holds true in printed publications especially, so the opportunity to experiment with both form and colour is a welcome one, and one I hopefully produce well. Taking the lead from a host of examples, both physical and on-line, has provided me with excellent research material, and kept me focused on the brief in hand; to design three different pages.
The Listings Magazine:
These were strangely hard, impossible, to find in my local town, but an internet search came up trumps with some great examples. The Radio Times was more formal, following a Sunday supplement lead, whilst TV Times goes for a more of a 2-minute read format that’s proved popular with coffee-time magazines.
Header – A light styel font seems to be favoured with a contrasting colour, red or white
Sub Heading – Sans Serif or Serif Fonts but always Italic,
Subhead and Content– Always Times New Roman
The more formal approaches used in magazines such as the Radio Times
The more informal, quick read, approaches used in magazines such as the TV Times above and the more informal, quick read, approaches used in magazines such as the TV Times below.
The tech industry and its supporters on the other hand are far more likely to try out new font designs as a reflection of their contemporaneous nature so will utilise a clean easy to ready font style with a stylish text font. However the banner at the top of the page, whilst using the white of the paper as a part of the design, something the designer Jan Tschichold was keen to exploit in his work. That said I do like to see a bit of a header graphic and will experiment with something low key.
For the Book Reviews the Newspapers treat this section as an opportunity to have some aesthetic fun, it’s also one of those rare occasions that newspapers actually deviate from the Times New Roman in black. Occasionally a logo may also make an appearance amongst the austere columns of print to brighten the page.
Of Fonts and Choices…
I’ve identified a series of aesthetically fluid and easy to read fonts that could be used in all three genres. I noted there are far more options for the subheadings than Headers.
Headers; a mix of Serif, Sans Serif, Bold and Decorative styles
Arial Rounded MT Bold
Brotherhood Script 8
Edwardian Script ITC
Franklin Gothic Demi
Old English Five
Sub Headings; these are a mix of styles so I went through the full range of fonts available to me and selected the following list:
Eras Demi ITC
Franklin Gothic Book
Franklin Gothic Medium
Gill Sans MT
Leelawadee UI Semilight
Microsoft Jhenghei Light
Microsoft YaHei UI Light
MS Reference Sans Serif
Nirmala UI Semilight
Open Sans Semibold
Quicksand Bold Oblique
Segoe UI Semibold
YU Gothic UI Semibold
As I go through these lists I realise that there are some great designs, but sadly they’re not suitable for the task in hand. So my next challenge is to choose three that would read well at 10pts. So I’ll refine the selections a little further.
All layouts have been made using Affinity Publisher whose ease of use is idea for anyone with a cognitive dysfunction. It’s highly recommended as its slightly easier to use than Adobe’s InDesign and allows for slightly easier manipulation.
Best of Three.
The nest step was to identify the three pairings of font that feel will work best together for each sample article. After much consideration I chose the following:
I chose to go with a more informal TV Times style of presentation that is akin to the coffee break style magazines. It’s visually engaging and more suit to the ‘gossip’ nature of the articles title which infers an actress is talking about her character rather than herself.
Heading#1 – Arial Black
Subheading#1 – Century Gothic
Heading#2 – Lilita One
Subheading#2 – Verdana
Heading#3 – Passion One
Subheading#3 – Microsoft YaHei UI Light
To help add a touch of authenticity I made a simple logo using the Bree Serif font and a catch line in the same sample font tilted at 15°. The colour palette and photos introduce the character and the faded background would set the scene as belonging to the opening credits of the TV program, Dumble Side Manor. As the articles word count is approximately 500, combined with images, it spilled over to two pages, which gave it nice balance. I elected to you two columns’ to help facilitate an easy and quick read.
Of the three I have to say I prefer the appearance of #3; it shares the same visual approach of coffee break reading as the TV Times, whilst giving the opportunity to include visual cues connecting character to readership. Body text is Times New Roman at 10pts.
As mentioned earlier computer magazines tend to use the more contemporary and ‘designer’ style fonts in their publications, so this selection will hopefully echo this distinctive editorial approach.
Heading#1 – Arial Rounded MT Bold
Subheading#1 – Helvetica
Heading#2 – Franklin Gothic Demi
Subheading#2 – Oswald Light
Heading#3 – Paytone One
Subheading#3 – Candara
PC magazine reviews are all pretty much the same; information clearly presented, decorative fonts kept to a minimum and info graphics that are visually simple and easy to understand. For the last element I included a Pros/Cons and overall rating box in the bottom right corner.
Occasionally they feature a decorative banner; in this case I chose to use a simple binary style image from Freepik.com and a stock PC image from Ebay.co.uk. The name is fictitious. Of the three combinations I though the first and second sets worked particularly well, but the third seemed a little fat faced, and not in keeping with the genre. This surprised me a little, and just shows that test a font in context is an important element of the development process.
Of the first and second drafts the second is my favourite, as the Oswald Light pulls the Sub-heading up a little and keeps the theme tight and to the point visually, whereas Helvetica seems to dominate the page a little. The Headers were chose to be a dark yellow to provide contrast to the blue header and draw the eye to the product details.
Like the TV Guide I left the justification to the left and used three columns to fit all the information onto the page. The body text is Times New Roman at 11pts.
Here the traditionally staid newspaper industry let down their guard for a light hearted moment, choosing to use the weekend as an excuse to introduce some much needed colour, and font change.
Heading#1 – Castellar
Subheading#1 – Franklin Gothic Book
Heading#2 – EcuyerDAX
Subheading#2 – Comfortaa
Heading#3 – Old English Five
Subheading#3 – Quicksand
The Newspaper review is an opportunity to use a few different approaches as there were several elements to tackle to give it an air of authenticity. The first is to add the relevant headers that populate the pages of newspapers, I’ve chosen to go with a regional format using Bohemian Typewriter font as an eye-catching section introduction.
The body text was justified across three columns with a cover illustration drawing the eye inwards. The main text was kept as is whilst a shear of 15°was added to the Sub-Heading text. Of the three setting #3 didn’t come out as I expected (in fact it looks hideous), but #1 and #2, which echoed the EcuyerDAX font of the book itself, have come out nicely. After much consideration I have to go with #1 for being my personal favourite of the three.
Overall I really enjoyed this exercise. The penny is finally dropping with what Graphic Design is and means to me.
Tschichold, J. (1967), Asymmetric Typography, Faber & Faber, New York.
Shaughnessy, A. (2009), Graphic Design: A User’s Manual, Laurence King Publishing Ltd, London.
Newark and Southwell Advertiser, 21 May 2020, Iliffe Media
Kingston Review, Computer Active, 9-22 September 2020, Dennis Publication