Author: nickandh

Wrestling with a broadsheet

Notebook 8 February 2017 | NEWSPAPERS | TEACHING Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) is one of the few graphic design courses in the UK that offers students the option to specialise in editorial design via their BA degree in ‘Design for Publishing’. Regular readers may remember my review of their excellent degree show last summer. The course has a high success rate for graduates taking up careers in magazine, book and newspaper publishing as well as digital publishing and graphic design. Each year, 2nd-year students are split into small groups and are set a project where they have to redesign pages 1-3 of the Sunday Times newspaper along with designs for a digital version for phone and ipad. A printed newspaper may be an old medium to work with but the strict design nature of the task means that the students quickly learn all about using grids, typography and type hierarchy as well as visual storytelling, picture editing and simple clear communication. This year we encouraged the students to also think about how a redesign might be able to attract younger readers. …

A tale of two albums

Notebook: 25 February 2017 | MUSICAL INTERLUDE | ALBUM COVER DESIGN A tale of two albums In June 1979 I graduated from my graphic design course at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry and took a flight to New York with my college mate John. We were on our way to work for three months at a summer camp in Massachusetts and our job would be to mow the lawns of the sports pitches, clean the toilets and showers and carry out any minor repairs on the camp. We were joined by two American students from Boston and we all shared a cabin together. John and myself were both big Clash fans and we were determined to convert out American buddies from Country Rock to Punk Rock. We had no music cassettes and even the Sony Walkman was a year or so away from making its first appearance and so we listened in vain to the local radio stations hoping to grab a snatch of the music we loved. We were given one day off a week and at the first opportunity, …

Remember Eat Soup?

Notebook: 20 January 2016 | MAGAZINES I’ve been teaching journalism students about magazine publishing – reader profile, branding, content, editorial design, advertising, distribution and so on. They had to come up with a brand idea that could be rolled out across a magazine, website and social media. One group decided on a student mag that would focus on eating and drinking on a budget. After a brain-storming session to pick a name for their publication, they came up with the snappy title of Bread and Water which seemed to perfectly match the jokey, tongue-in-cheek style of their content. It immediately made me think of Eat Soup magazine. Anybody remember that one? Launched in 1996 off the back of IPC’s Loaded magazine, Eat Soup was a food, drink and travel magazine aimed at a typical ‘men-behaving-badly’ type male reader. It carried the brilliant tag line, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful” and it had the same pioneering, swashbuckling, crash-bang-wallop style of its sister title Loaded with busy and energetic layouts. Contributors included Will Self, Keith Floyd, Tom Conran and Len Deighton. Eat Soup was the brainchild of …

Illustrator Melvyn Evans

Notebook: 15 January 2017 | ILLUSTRATION One of my favourite illustrator/artists is Melvyn Evans. He works with a variety of media, from traditional linocuts through to digital illustration using Adobe Illustrator, to produce a range of beautiful artwork much of which is inspired by the British landscape. What all Melvyn’s work has in common is his exquisite use of colour – sometimes solemn grey/brown tones such as the linocut Le Morte d’Arthur (based on tales of King Arthur, exhibited at RA summer show in 2014 and shown below), or brighter jewel-like colours that glow warmly against their earthy coloured neighbours as in The Wisdom for Hen Keepers (top) or Melvyn’s London scene (below). Some time ago I commissioned Melvyn to produce a map for a travel feature on Western Sweden for Saab magazine. His charming style, with echoes of 1950s children’s book illustration, reflected the mood of the article. (below) And more recently Melvyn produced an illustration for me – contrasting clickbait content with long form content – for a brochure for the content marketing agency Orwell. (Orwell [of whom I am a partner] provide influential content for intelligent organisations …

The NYT mag – less is more

Notebook: 13 January with updates 6 July 2017 | MAGAZINES On Sunday 1 January 2017 The New York Times Magazine ran a striking black and white photograph on its cover (by photographer Devin Yalkin). It was a close-up portrait of Sam Siatta, an ex US marine who after facing the horrors of war in Afghanistan, returned home to struggle with depression, alcohol dependency and PTSD. Alongside it a very small headline said simply: THE FIGHTER by CJ CHIVERS and three smaller headlines, carefully spaced apart down the left hand side of the photo stated: THE MARINE CORPS TAUGHT SAM SIATTA HOW TO SHOOT. THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN TAUGHT HIM HOW TO KILL. NOBODY TAUGHT HIM HOW TO COME HOME. It was brilliant journalism – a very simple but immensely captivating cover and a demonstration that with design, less is often much more – if a picture is striking then why clutter it with a large headline – let the picture do the talking, with a smaller, quieter headline adding to the drama. Some of my favourite NYT mag covers from 2016/17 are shown below and what they …

One for the coffee table

Notebook: 13 January 2017 | BOOK DESIGN I’ve just received my printed copy of a book I designed for Fairline Yachts for the London Boat Show. It’s a hefty 200-page publication which celebrates 50 years of Fairline and it’s stuffed full of sumptuous photos of Fairline’s luxury vessels. The company began life as a small boat builder in Northamptonshire in 1967 and they now export their beautifully designed and engineered boats worldwide. The book was put together in just one month from start to finish and I worked with the writer and editor Jonathan Arnold. Some of the layouts are shown below.

A review of Real Review, The California Sunday Magazine and IL

Notebook: 5 September 2016 | MAGAZINES Last Wednesday I had a meeting in Spitalfields. With an hour to fill before catching my train back to Norfolk I decided to pay a flying visit to the brilliant MagCulture shop on St John Street in Clerkenwell to stock up with some new magazines. I took the tube to Farringdon and bustled my way through the back streets of Little Italy. I’d forgotten how hilly this small corner of London is (Saffron Hill, Herbal Hill…) and with a heavy bag and stifling late August heat, I paused outside St Peter’s Italian Church on Clerkenwell Road to catch my breath and study the map. I cut down Bowling Green Lane and was soon at the shop. My last visit had been 4 months ago (more on that here) and this time around the shelves were stocked with even more goodies – not just the rows and rows of luscious independent magazines but also some great looking foreign newspaper supplements which I don’t think are available anywhere else in the UK and which I snaffled up. The first of these was a couple of …

Monocle 24 on magazine (and book) cover design

Notebook: 3 September 2016 | MAGAZINES | BOOK DESIGN Monocle 24 is a live, 24-hour radio show broadcast from Marylebone, London and part of the Monocle media brand. In late August 2016 they broadcast an excellent 30 minute show entitled ‘How do you design a front cover?’ featuring presenter Robert Bound, Monocle‘s creative director Richard Spencer Powell and design journalist Adrian Shaughnessy. They discussed the art of making an eye-catching front cover – both for magazines and books, and they covered off topics such as: print v digital, cover imagery, use of colour, cover lines, an element of ‘surprise’, knowing your audience and originality. It’s a fascinating 30 minutes and you can listen to it here. The Monocle brand includes Monocle (the monthly global affairs and lifestyle magazine), a website, Monocle 24 (radio station), The Escapist (Travel mag) and The Forecast (annual magazine previewing the year ahead) as well as a couple of cafés in London and Tokyo. You can read my review of last year’s The Escapist magazine here.

Tim Walker’s portraits for the Vogue centenary issue

Notebook: 18 August 2016 | PHOTOGRAPHY Just filing away some mags and in amongst them is the June 2016 centenary issue of Vogue which I bought specifically for a wonderful set of photos by Tim Walker with styling by Kate Phelan. Tim Walker has worked with Vogue for over 20 years and his photography is known for its sense of theatre and sometimes extravagant and magical settings. The feature consists of 26 portraits of actors, models, artists, photographers and other creatives who ‘capture the spirit of the Vogue century’ and the magazine has devoted a delicious 32 pages to them. Here they are in their entirety in running order. Note how the pictures have been carefully placed and ordered for good flow and pace – colour then monotone, singles then spread, black against white, full bleed then white border, and so on. Tim Walker has worked together with stylist and fashion editor Kate Phelan on many assignments and here they are chatting together about their most memorable shoots – I love the 1997 Glastonbury festival pictures…

Niiice…

Notebook: 10 August 2016 | VIDEO | MUSIC | TYPOGRAPHY Some of you will know that I’m a bit of a cricket fan. England play their 4th and final test match against Pakistan at The Oval in London tomorrow (Thursday 11 Aug 2016) and to promote it the ECB have released a clip of England captain Alastair Cook scoring his century against Pakistan at The Oval back in 2010. But the ECB have had a bit of fun and they’ve presented the video with a 1960s vibe including a very cool soundtrack, The Bewitching Hour from 60s jazz pianist David Lee (who also wrote music for the cult tv show, The Avengers) and stills of Alastair Cook shown as a pastiche of old jazz album covers pictured above and below. You can watch the clip here. In the words of The Fast Show‘s Jazz Club presenter: ‘Niiice…’     ecb.co.uk