Author: nickandh

New look Sunday Times: packing a punch but with style

Notebook: 3 April 2017 | NEWSPAPERS The Sunday Times newspaper has just undergone a much-needed redesign (with a little help from myself on the design of the Culture section). The rather dated looking old paper with its clunky typography and mish-mash of styles has been replaced with a fresher and coherent design that is a pleasure to read. Editorial design gurus, Mark Porter and Simon Esterson worked alongside art director Russel Herneman and his team over a nine-month period to craft the new look and to test and bed-in the new designs. Porter and Esterson have collaborated before on major newspaper projects including The Guardian (pre Mark Porter’s Berliner-sized redesign of 2005), Publico (Lisbon), Avui (Barcelona) and NZZamSonntag (Zurich). Their starting point was to replace the existing headline serif font ‘Sunday Times Modern’ and the awkward looking sans-serif ‘Solido’ with a new set of elegant and robust fonts that would work well through all the different sections of the newspaper. To quote the designer and author Francesco Franchi, “the secret history of newspaper design, the one that is never apparent and readers are not aware of, lies in …

Orwell

Notebook: 13 April 2017 | BRANDING | TYPOGRAPHY When I’m not designing for Gilburt and Paul, or teaching editorial design, I collaborate with two ex-work colleagues and old friends, the journalists and writers Jonathan Arnold and Gary Mead. We have a partnership called Orwell and our aim is to provide businesses with influential content and design that enhances those businesses’ core philosophies so that they become better known, better understood and better received. And we do this using rigorous thinking, superb writing and carefully crafted design. Our expertise lies in creating a wide range of long form content such as annual reports and other corporate publications, thought leadership brochures and magazines, research documents and white papers. To find out more about Orwell, take a look at our website. Here are pages from our Orwell brochure that I designed last year.

Attention to detail

Notebook: 29 March 2017 | NEWSPAPERS | DIGITAL Over the last couple of years, and with little fanfare, The Telegraph newspaper has undergone a major design overhaul that started in 2015 with the main newspaper, filtered out across the website, digital edition and live app and was ‘completed’ in March 2017 with the redesign of the Saturday Telegraph Magazine. Although it’s a newspaper I choose not to buy because of its political bias, I do admire it for the quality of its finely crafted design and attention to typographic detailing. The brains behind the Telegraph group’s redesign is creative director Jon Hill who joined The Telegraph in May 2014 after having worked for seven years at The Times. Hill’s brief from the group’s owners and the editor, was to improve, modernise and bring consistency to The Telegraph. It was refreshing that he had an understanding ‘client’ who gave him a free hand and told him that ‘everything was up for grabs’. He assembled a team of designers for the task, that included Nicola Ryan, Sara Martin, Mark Hickling, Joel Wade, Fraser …

George Hardie retrospective. Brighton Uni’, 11 March – 7 April 2017

Above: One of George Hardie’s earliest designs/illustrations produced when he was still a student at the Royal College of Art Notebook: 19 March | ILLUSTRATION | ILLUSTRATION HEROES As a student in the late 1970s, I became fascinated by the work of the graphic artist George Hardie. I collected tear-sheets of his work, wrote essays about him and even managed to wangle a visit to his studio in Covent Garden. I still love his hard-edged, ideas-based illustrations with their hidden twists. Hardie is a prolific artist and designer and a retrospective exhibition of his work entitled 50 Odd Years is currently showing at the University of Brighton (11 March – 7 April, 2017). The exhibition spans three rooms and is packed full of his work from across the decades – from his early album sleeve designs and drawings for rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Genesis and Pink Floyd, through to later work such as his ‘Magic’ stamps for the Royal Mail in 2005. It’s a fascinating collection and if you’re going to visit, give yourself lots of time to digest all the goodies on display. Unfortunately there …

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.