Author: nickandh

The NYT mag – less is more

Notebook: 13 January 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 are shown below and what they all have in common is …

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

Optima and co – it’s a love/hate thing

Notebook: 21 November 2015 and updated 10 August 2016 | TYPOGRAPHY Above: Optima graphic from MyFonts.com website Optima is one of those odd sans-serif fonts that has thick and thin strokes (rather than monoline strokes) that you would normally associate with a classic serif font – sometimes it is classified as a ‘contrasted ‘ or ‘modulated’ sans’. And sometimes it gets bunched into that category of sans fonts called ‘Humanist’ which have a softer feel as opposed to the harder, machined feel of say Futura or Univers. Once upon a time I must have really liked Optima because I remember using it in the first set of books that I ever designed, then I found it drab and old fashioned but now I’m warming to it again. It was designed by the German Herman Zapf (yep, the dingbats chap) in the early 1950s. He had travelled in Italy and was influenced by Roman inscriptions and the strokes of Optima have a characteristic flaring at the tips that reflect Italian stone carving. (Strictly speaking, Optima should be classed as an ‘incise’ or …

The Vanity of Small Differences

Pictured above: The artist Grayson Perry in front of one of his six tapestries that make up the series ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ Notebook: 1 August 2016 | ART | ILLUSTRATION In 1962 my father changed jobs and we moved from our 1920s semi in Staffordshire to a light and modern detached house on a small estate on the outskirts of the prosperous market town of Newbury in Berkshire. The removal van was packed with all our possessions and we stuffed ourselves into Dad’s small blue Ford Popular and leaving the Midlands behind, set forth to begin our new life in the sunny south. The brand new house had central heating and was open plan with large picture windows. The light flooded in despite the heavy old curtains, carpets and dark furniture that had come with us from the old house. My mother loved the modern kitchen and she took a part time job at the hospital which helped fund the purchase of our first washing machine. Dad’s teaching job was supplemented by weekend work …

Emerging talent 2016. Part three: Leicester / LCC / CSM

Notebook: 4 July 2016 | DEGREE SHOWS With the annual summer graphic design degree shows almost over for another year, here’s my third and final review that takes in my visits over the last fortnight. You can read my two earlier reviews here and here. I’ve managed to squeeze in 11 very different shows – some good, some great – and there is a summary of all my visits at the end together with a few thoughts on what makes a good show. Tuesday 21 June De Montfort University, Leicester BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Illustration De Montfort university has a buzzy campus right on the edge of the vibrant city of Leicester and I tracked down the graphics show which was housed in the students’ airy studios. Amongst the assortment of packaging and branding design projects, it was the quality of the illustration that popped out at me and in particular, the lively and colourful drawings and hand lettering of Amy Austick, Danielle Wetton, Amy Lesko and Jack Tite – all pictured below in order. My need for strong editorial design and bold photography was satisfied by …

Emerging talent 2016. Part two: Cambridge / Southampton / Winchester

Notebook: 19 June 2016 | DEGREE SHOWS June 2016 and it’s showtime for thousands of final-year art and design students pouring out of the UK’s universities and art colleges. I was keen to visit a handful of the graphic design shows just to get a small taster of the standard and range of work on display and to highlight some of the emerging talent making the big step from study to the workplace. I’d already visited Coventry, Norwich (NUA) and Ipswich (UCS) and you can see my review here. Now I was off to Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge and Southampton and Winchester art colleges in Hampshire… Thursday 9 June Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge School of Art BA (Hons) Graphic Design The Anglia Ruskin Uni’ is just on the edge of the city centre and on this warm June evening the streets were buzzing with life. The University is a tangle of corridors and backyards but I eventually tracked down the art and design block on the far side of the campus and it was alive with the hum of students, parents and …