All posts filed under: Notebook

Transition: Elsewhere No. 5 – A Journal of Place

Notebook: 5 August 2017 | MAGAZINES | ILLUSTRATION We live in a small hamlet on the edge of a South Norfolk village. Our house is part of the old Victorian manor estate and is nestled on the side of a gentle valley and sheltered from the prevailing winds by woodland and large hedges. I wander down the track to the road that follows the stream along the valley bottom and then I climb another track that takes me up and out of the valley on the opposite side. After a short while I come to the top of the track and open fields. Looking back behind me, all I can see of the manor estate is the coach house clocktower which peaks out from behind the trees and reminds me of one of Alfred Bestall’s illustrations from a Rupert Bear annual. In front of me and off to the west lie a dark band of fir trees that mark the edge of the brooding Thetford forest. It’s early August and the landscape looks very ‘black’ …

A square measure

Notebook: 29 July 2017 |  VOLUNTARY WORK | THE C-WORD In 2006, spurred on by England Cricket’s epic Ashes win in 2005 and his love of sport, my eldest son Joe who was 11 at the time, joined the local village cricket club. He had a natural aptitude for the game and soon found himself playing for the Under 13 age group team and I was roped in as team ‘manager’. Most amateur sports clubs depend on an army of volunteers to help out – be it ground maintenance, making teas or, as in my case, ensuring that 11 youngsters were organised and turned up for matches on the right day and at the right time. They were a good bunch of boys (and girls) and they clicked as a team, enjoyed themselves and always seemed to do well. I remained manager and followed them through from U13s to U15s to U17s and in 2011 their hard work and achievements culminated in them winning the Junior Carter Cup, a knockout competition featuring the best U17 teams …

Liking US: University of Sussex branding

Notebook: 10 July 2017 | BRANDING I like this cluster of publications produced by the University of Sussex (US) and picked up by myself and youngest son Harry on a recent University open day visit. There’s a strong and consistent identity across all the literature, and across the website, social media and signage on the campus. The branding was carried out by designer Dan Cottrell for Pentagram in 2015 and the Pentagram guidelines are now closely followed by a roster of approved independent designers that the University calls upon. There’s a bright, breezy and confident palette of colours that contrast well with the more academic and authoritative choice of typefaces – good old Baskerville (UOS Baskerville Titling – a bespoke version for the Uni’) and Franklin Gothic in assorted weights. Type is centred to echo the original 1962 prospectus when Sussex Uni’ first opened. I particularly like the large format 12 Stories of Sussex publication – a collection of short interviews, quotes and photos from current and former students and members of staff – and three …

It’s showtime: A visit to the LCC and NUA graphics exhibitions

Notebook: 5 July 2017 | DEGREE SHOWS Last year I managed to squeeze in visits to 11 different graphic design degree shows but this year with time against me, I’ve visited just three exhibitions – Reading (see my previous post), the London College of Communication (LCC) and Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). LCC and NUA were both excellent shows – not only was the work of a high standard with plenty of editorial design and typography to satisfy my interests, but it was also very well presented with careful editing, clear captioning and lots of space around it to allow it to breathe and to show the designs off to their best. There’s no point in a student spending a couple of years producing fantastic work only to then present it poorly. Both LCC and NUA choose to loosely group the work into sections – printed magazines here, book jackets there and so on, rather than displaying the work by individual student, and (rightly or wrongly, depending on your viewpoint) this allows them to …

Reading, writing and typography

Pictured above. A collection of old signs and letters on display in the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. Photo by Rachel Bray Notebook 18 June 2017 | DEGREE SHOWS | TYPOGRAPHY Reading with a cap ‘R’ – the Thames Valley, Crossrail boomtown; home to the rock festival and the gaol where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated; and home for a while, to poor old Jude Fawley in Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure. Once upon a time I spent a week in Reading hospital having my appendix whipped out. It was my first encounter with a scalpel (a few years later I was to learn that the ’10a’ scalpel blade was the graphic designer’s preferred blade of choice). And in 1974 or so, I would have tottered on my platform shoes into Reading’s Top Rank nightclub to see the legendary singer Edwin Starr perform. The ugly old station-side nightclub has long since disappeared and been replaced by smart office blocks but the town is still rather dull and congested with traffic. …

Newies but goodies

Notebook 25 May 2017 | MAGAZINES Last month I wrote about a cluster of wonderful old magazines that I’d unearthed tidying the studio. This month I’m taking a look at a selection of new purchases that I’ve recently enjoyed, starting with a couple of heavyweight and always good-looking consumer titles… GQ (UK edition) June 2017. Creative Director: Paul Solomons, Art Director: Keith Waterfield In some ways GQ is the perfect magazine. For anyone who knows me, I clearly don’t buy it for its features about fast cars, expensive watches and male grooming products. Instead I admire it for its consistently good looks. And it’s the magazine that I like to wave in front of journalism and design students as an example of ‘this is how you do it!’ – because it does do everything so well – from its rich mix of high-quality, short and long-form content, great flat-planning and pace – to its well-engineered design and typography that always makes use of the best photography, illustration and infographics. Highlights of this month’s issue (pictured above) include a profile of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan (with portrait by …

Oldies but goodies

Notebook: 28 April | MAGAZINES The office is a mess. I have too many old magazines and newspapers cluttering up the shelves and I really ought to throw some of them away to make space for all the new stuff. Trouble is, they’re all great mags, despite their age. Here’s five that I’ve just unearthed and dusted down… ELLE DECOR 1990 (US edition). Art Director: Jean-Marie Hatier American Elle Decor still looks as stylish as it did 27 years ago – luscious pictures, tight grid, white space, carefully crafted headlines and unusually narrow columns. Delicious! I think the headline and text font are both Baskerville Old Style. LUFTHANSA BORDBUCH 1995 (Germany) The Lufthansa in-flight customer magazine. Design/layout Alberto Garcia-Izquierdo and Rolf Kuhl The Lufthansa magazine was cool and pared back with excellent photography and dollops of white space. The same features appeared twice – first in German and then in English, but with different pictures. Headlines and text are set in Helvetica. I believe that the magazine is still in production and that it looks very much like it did 22 years ago. ECONY 1999 …

magCulture Meets Real Review

Notebook: 6 April 2017 | MAGAZINES magCulture Meets are a monthly series of informal talks by magazine makers and designers at the magCulture shop in St John Street, Clerkenwell, London and their most recent event was a session with the editor and designer of the award-winning Real Review architecture based magazine. The talk coincided with the release of the third issue of the magazine and, just like issues one and two, it comes packaged in its distinctive cellophane wrapper and is branded with a red face illustration by the brilliant Nishant Choksi and a large, black, ‘brutalist’ ‘R’. But it’s Real Review’s tall, thin, double-folded format that really sets it apart – it is saddle-stitched and then folded again vertically so that it fits comfortably in the hand. The reader can then chose to read one slim page at a time or unfold the magazine further to reveal additional long-form content. Editor Jack Self (from The Real Foundation) and designer Rory McGrath (from design agency OK-RM) explain how the magazine has been designed to feel disposable and not at all precious – they didn’t want it …

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.