All posts filed under: Typography

Eight Passion Proteins With Care

Notebook: 28 October 2015 | TYPOGRAPHY I have several old shoeboxes stuffed full of graphics goodies – bits of old printed ephemera that I have collected over the years such as tickets, old tube maps, small booklets, cards and so on. Anything that took my fancy – a quirky bit of typography, an odd illustration, a clever piece of design – was admired and then stashed away. I’ve just unearthed an intriguing pamphlet called Eight Passion Proteins With Care from one of the boxes and it may be familiar to anyone who shopped or worked in and around London’s Oxford Street in the 1970s and 80s – and if the pamphlet isn’t familiar then Stanley Green, its placard carrying author, surely will be. Green believed that if we ate too much protein it would build up in our bodies and lead to uncontrollable ‘lust’. Stanley Green in Oxford Street, 1988. Photo by Tom Gold He would wander up and down Oxford Street in his recognisable peaked cotton cap, preaching his gospel in his soft but resonant tone, with his placard clearly visible above the …

Notebook: 7 October 2015 | RESOURCES | TYPOGRAPHY If you’ve not come across it before, is a good resource site for typographers. They describe themselves as, “An independent archive for typography”. If you have a font in mind that you are thinking of using and you want to see how it looks, you simply run a search for it and it throws up lots of examples of past useage. Whereas a google image search for a font tends to just give you a ‘font catalogue’ version, fontsinuse will show you proper working examples that fontsinuse members have supplied. It also allows you to search across different formats and industries, for example: Architecture, Art, Automotive or Newspapers, Magazines, Books and so on. There are lots of great fonts to peruse including a whole bunch of historical beauties, and new fonts/finds are being added all the time.

1940s/50s font catalogues from Soho skip

Notebook: 1 October 2015 | TYPOGRAPHY I found these font catalogues tossed in a skip full of builders’ rubble in a quiet Soho back street in the 1980s. Type faces for Books was published by the Aylesbury printer Hazell, Watson & Viney and has a range of type specimens for book work with 19 different fonts set in a variety of point sizes and leadings. Colour tinted borders have been used to define typical page sizes of the time. My favourite of the three is Book Types by William Clowes, the Suffolk based book printer. This catalogue has a huge range of texts set in different fonts and sizes and on different types of stock – rough old ‘Antique’ papers through to glossier ‘Art’ papers – all in order to help the typographer select a good, readable font “calculated to soothe the eye of the reader rather than distract it … and strike a nice balance between appearance and utility” as the book’s preface explains. I’ll still sometimes dip into these catalogues whenever I have to select a text font for a new …

White space

Notebook: 13 August 2015 Above: Simple but clever use of white space on the Guardian website. The empty space helps the reader navigate their way around the page and gives structure to the design White space – you know, those delicious gaps of empty space on a layout that help the page breathe and add emphasis to the adjacent content. The simplest form of white space or ‘negative’ space is the border that is often left around a picture when it is framed to be hung on a wall – it helps give the picture presence. A more dynamic use of white space is when it’s used off to one side with an asymmetrical design. Of course many editors and clients aren’t keen on the stuff –they believe that every last bit of empty space needs to be filled with words rather than being left to help a page look clean, elegant and uncluttered. If you’re not convinced about the power of white space then take a look at this beautiful advert below. It’s from a 1952 issue …

It’s horrible that

Notebook: 14 January 2015 Just been having a clear out and came across this poster that I designed for the Royal College of Art degree shows back in 1982. Needless to say the RCA chose not to use it. I deliberately wanted to design something that was really ugly and that would contrast against all the slick design ideas put forward by other students. I must have been going through a bit of an ‘angry young man’ phase. Anyway, I had great fun picking the worst typefaces I could from my collection of Letraset, breaking all the typographic rules and using a length of old wallpaper edging as a border and some fluorescent lime green paper for the background. It still looks as nasty as it did 33 years ago and it still remains one of my favourite bits of work.