Assignment 5

Reading through the briefs for this assignment the Book Design and the Charity Work logo etc were the most appealing. I’m not overly keen on producing posters and trying to work out themes in novels etc so the Abigail’s Party brief didn’t draw me in the way the others did. As a kid and even still to be honest I love books on graphic design so decided the Book Design would be the way to go. I began by thinking about the stages to go through for the project.

Research – graphic design books, kids books, look at pinterest graphic design and kids Typography book covers Photographs – book covers A is for apple kids range and vintage kids ladybird style design / penguin / saul bass look at my own letterbox books

Brain pickings 2014   [Accessed April 2014]

Brain pickings 2014  [Accessed April 2014]




Creative Review Accessed April 2014

I liked the sentiment idea behind this book called “The Serif Fairy” by Rene Siegried. The book tells the story of a fairy who has lost her wing and the book follows her quest to find it encountering along the way an assortment of typography landscapes. At the end of the book it shows how fonts are used and the similarities and differences between them eg pointing out differences in stokes. serifs and flourishes.

I like the idea of doing something different to introduce kids to typography for my intro chapter – thinking cap on! I also read a number of articles on typography and graphic books for kids which were created by designers – including Saul Bass and Paul Rand.    

Creative review 2014 Childrens book designers [Accessed April 2014]

Intro chapter – could I include images of things beginning with A. Letters in everyday things / shapes / vernucular , take pics of apples etc but would that be a typography based one typography book – I put together some some mood boards from my research.

Mood board 1 - Paul Rand, bold colours and shapes, collage effects, how to draw idea

Mood board 1 – Paul Rand, bold colours and shapes, collage effects, how to draw idea

Mood board 2 reference including Noma Bar, Paul/ Ann Rand, the Graphic Deign Dossier series

Mood board 2 reference including Noma Bar, Paul/ Ann Rand, the Graphic Deign Dossier series

Mood/ idea board 3 , Phillipe Apeloig use of type to form image/shape, images in objects

Mood/ idea board 3 , Phillipe Apeloig use of type to form image/shape, images in objects

and started some sketch book ideas. Thoughts I was having …

Questions should the Typography book be called just “Typography” or “A is for” ?

Age range of book would be important – I’m thinking at the moment 8 – 12 or could I switch to younger based on some of the ideas?

Ideas for the covers –  could use simple nice font clean sans serif

Colour ideas include : 

* geometric shapes, kaleidoscope effect , could I use collage, however don’t want it to be too child like/ baby like

* a rainbow shape

* paint box shape/ brush

* objects in different colours to the norm eg red banana etc

Typography ideas include

*Cut out letters in different fonts

* Block type effects – old style

* Inclusion of book/ typewriter

Photography cover ideas

* Camera or pic of something collaged on top

* Camera vector shape

* Golden ratio swirl incorporated with a swirl

Other idea is Pixels on each cover eg Colour – made up of coloured dots/ squares, type page – type made from pixels, photographs – a pixel photo each with common font


Ideas for opening Chapter

– Easy , to read clean layout and description of basic typography

-or something witty eg choosing the meaning of fonts – comic sans – just don’t , when writing your love story – scripts,

– So what is Typography ?

– I’m aware that kids these days are so used to using computers the art of handwriting is dying could I incorporate this??? The beauty of type ??

– Space for kids to draw their own fonts?? Now you try section?

Having a brief chat with my tutor I was very conscious not to be cliched in my work and not “dumb down” my design for kids by chosing the obvious sort of primary colour palettes and cartoon like images.

I had a look a think about things targeted at kids like Innocent smoothies and came across a brand called the Fableists an eco childrens clothing brand who have a very unique and quirky brand identity aided by Freytag Anderson a design company based in Glasgow.


Freytag Anderson 2014 The Fableists [Accessed April 2014]



PSFK 2014 Graphic Design [Accessed May 2014]

I also had a look at some Penguin book covers and looked at images of books on each of the topics – Photographs, Typography and Colour.

Links to my pinterest board

My tutor suggested I look at a book called “Something to put something on” by Laurence Weiner. I wasn’t able to get a hold of this book but on doing some searching it looks to be laid out really simply and I think from what I can tell the book is really compelling to read drawing the reader in with simple text and shapes to depict quite complex ideas/ notions. I like the use of white space in the book – very uncluttered.


Style Park 2014 [Accessed May 2014]

I also liked the approach of this little guide to fonts/ type selection.

I like the sentiment behind it Font shop 2014 Education [Accessed April 2014]

With my sketchbook of ideas I started playing about with ideas for the covers to start. I firstly looked at very simplified sort of vector shapes for the colour cover. I think there was potential in something as simple as this but I wasn’t feeling it.

Very rough ideas shapes could this become a kaleidoscope? could I use collage

Very rough ideas shapes could this become a kaleidoscope? could I use collage


Black version













I remembered the sort of brown paper/ texture background I had used in a previous exercise and through that might be worth a go as a backdrop. I then tried various Colour related vector art – a paintbrush, rainbow etc. The paintbrush I thought looked a bit too childlike and basic but I did like the idea of the rainbow. So experimented with various combinations of this , using texture overlays and different colour combos.

The photography one I had an idea to show an image as a clipping mask through the text and thought perhaps this could be continued to other covers so did something similar with the text for the colour cover. However after some experimentation I did still quite like the rainbow effect but selected more muted colours so it didn’t look too obviously child like.

At this stage I also decided my book would be targeted at children from about age 9 upwards but I also wanted to create something that would still be a useful guide / appealing to adults.

Font selections for each of the covers I wanted to keep modern where possible. The Photographs one I wanted a big chunky typeface to make sure the photo showed through but was aware I wanted it to be quite a timeless font. I choose one called Kilo after some experimentation and I think it works quite well. On showing my ideas to a friend he suggested I elogonate the font and shrink it in a bit but when I did this I thought it looked quite odd and later reading suggested it wasn’t a good idea to start altering the dimensions/ proportions of fonts by using transform controls. I went back to my original version of the font which I thought looked better.

The A is for cover actually proved the hardest. I wanted the “A” to be the dominant feature of the cover and really like a font called “ADAM” which is all upper case. For some reason I was drawn to making the A red and initially focused on the textured brown paper as a backdrop. the “is for” I experimented with upper and lower case and thought about mixing fonts/ case.  I tried various compositions and selected a typeface called “South Rose” which has some ornamental detailing as letters for certain characters. Initially I thought this was quite effective but something wasn’t sitting right with me so after I had began work on my book content and worked with Adobe Caslon Pro I decided that this was a good choice for the cover and I think it provides a clean contrast with the “ADAM” font. I also decided perhaps the brown backdrop wasn’t the strongest to experimented with various colour ways. Along the way I also decided to have the “A” sitting on a line to represent the base line and tie in with the type theme. I decided that the “A is for” would be part of the overall Penguin typography book series so added “TYPOGRAPHY” to the corner . I also added a colour / black block which I think worked quite successfully as part of the design.

However looking at this one I decided to try a block colour and for some reason the deep yellow seemed to work best against the red “A”. I’m aware these are still primary colours but I think the way its been used is a lot subtler and the colours are not overally bright and saturated.

For each of the covers I added the Penguin logo and then set to work on the back covers. I always like finding something different or unusual on the reverse so tried to add some interest to the back covers. The photography one I thought about trying to have a sort of pin light effect but thought a simple radial gradient gave a good light effect. However I then thought about having a poloroid with the text contained and thought this looked quite good. For the typography one I added the word type and spaced it in different sizes on the page. The colour on I tried a few options with some colour text showing through and a rainbow effect but experimented with a black background and was thinking that the black back cover would work as a good contrast with some colour coming through.

Article layout

For the article layout I decided I wanted one page to be a montage of images of tyography in everyday life. I a selection of photos on my travels and of everyday objects my toothpaste/ cereal and decided that a single page with these all together would be quite effective rather than having them worked in with the text. For the main body article I decided to keep the info as simple as possible and set to simplify some of the main typographic concepts. My aim was to make it understood by children(age 9 upwards) but also something which would explain Typography to others interested in the topic, in an easy to read and interesting/ clear format. I chose a display font called Airbag for the main header then used ADAM for sub headings and Adobe Caslon Pro for the main article body. I was aware this was breaking the stick to two typefaces rule but I think as “Airbag” was only used for an overall header it all worked together. I think the contrast of the serif and sans serif is very readable and clean and the fonts are fairly modern.

After my info page and image page I tried to explain the main features of type – typefaces, kerning etc. I was thinking about the overall look of my book and what pages would be opposite each other and decided I wanted to vary the amount of text and keep my readers interested so decided to have a few pages just showing some of the typeface styles and explaining a few concepts. I experimented with the typeface styles on a double spread and added a few more pages – to show the use of typeface size. I then imported my pages for the front and back cover and added a opening page with the book name so that the book would flow how I wanted page wise.

The typeface page was the most difficult to arrange as I tried to position small paragraphs of text and show some examples of typefaces. I initially had centered my text but decided this isn’t usually a good idea so left aligned my work and tried various compositions. I also tried adding some large letters to the background. I wasn’t sure which outcome I preferred -one had the typeface styles on the right with examples on the left, the other just had the examples and paragraphs positioned across and down the page. I also placed a colour box underneath to highlight and distinguish the typeface examples and again I think this is fairly successful.


A is for sample – Sample 1 – Layout of type styles pages right hand side


Photography experiments


A if for Type examples


Main article content example 1


Front and opening page

Front and opening page


2 page spread left page intro using AIrbag, Adam and Adobe Caslon right hand page own images of type in every day life

2 page spread left page intro using AIrbag, Adam and Adobe Caslon right hand page own images of type in every day life



2 page spread intro to type - Adobe Caslon Pro - bold used. left aligned

2 page spread intro to type – Adobe Caslon Pro – bold used. left aligned



2 page spread explaining typestyles version 1 - left aligned , use of colour to draw attention and distinguish the examples at the side

2 page spread explaining typestyles version 1 – left aligned , use of colour to draw attention and distinguish the examples at the side


Different layout option for Typestyles page

Different layout option for Typestyles page

look closer page and backcover

look closer page and back cover


Links to pdf samples

A is for final 1

A is for sample 2

A is for final 3


Final Pages


different image with see the green blue image

Final photographs front


Photographs spine


back view - think this adds interest to the back

Final photographs back


Colour best2-Recovered-Recovered




colour spine







Final Colour back

Final Colour back


This is quite simple but I like it the best. The text is clear , good contrast between fonts

Final Type – A is for front

spine A is for

Final A is for back

Final A is for back


I was aware that there were numerous other possibilities/ routes I could have taken with my covers and indeed my layout ideas but I felt at this stage I had come up with a good few examples which were quite successful. I think they all work well as a series with common features – use of image/ colour through text, clean layout, similar typefaces yet are unique to the relevant subject.

Although I’ve used rainbow colours and some primaries in the cover I do think the covers are appealing to children (age 9 +) yet aren’t too childlike/ garish and would also appeal to adults.

I felt that with this exercise in particular I had made a good leap forward in my design process in that I used my sketchbook to come up with ideas then took concepts I liked to Photoshop etc and refined / experimented and somewhat excused that idea . This contrasts to other times when I know I’ve jumped about between too many ideas and been less focused.

I also feel that my eye for design and what works visually has really improved and I’m constantly looking at examples of design and in my mind trying to access what makes them successful or otherwise. I certainly think that in a lot of instances sometimes the most straightforward and clever or simplified design is most effective and gets the message across and makes for the best design. Again I particularly enjoyed using typography and my own images in my designs and I hope to become better at both areas.



Go – A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design – Chip Kidd Workman Publishing 2013

Getting it right with Type – Victoria Squire Laurence King Publishing 2013

BBC 2014 Modern Master  [Online] Accessed via: [Accessed 15th May 2014]

Tate 2014 Whats on Henri – Matisse cut- outs [Online]Accessed via: [Accessed 15th May 2014]

Practical Typography Online accessed April 2014 2011 A Crash Course in TypographyThe basics of type Cameron Chapman [Accessed May 2014]

Urban fonts 2013 Serif vs Sans Serif Accessed March 2014]

Helpful question answer site

Font shop Education – Meet your type

Font shop Education Meet your type [Accessed March 2014]

Font shop Education Meet your type [Accessed March 2014]

After tutor report

My tutor gave me some good feedback for this assignment and did suggest I could leave it as above but I wanted to see if I could work on his advice and make some improvements.

I started with the Photographs cover and while I did quite like my samples above I do take his points that with the use of digital photography more than film it might not be as contemporary. I remember some images I had from my birthday which were quite intriguing (it was an 80s party) and the image. The image features my friends hand holding what is in fact a balloon and my friends and there various party attire are in the background with blurred eyes. Its not a great image but I put it over the cover setting it at an angle and think it does looks quite appropriate.

Photographsafter tutorpsdwith spine-Recovered


Moving on I had a look again at my Colour cover. I must admit despite my tutors comments that it looks a bit muddy and rainbow like I still quite like it, but as he suggested I agree that maybe something simpler like the colour combinations exercise I did in Section 4 might be more effective.

I had a look at the work of Matisse and in particular his cut-out series. This series features an array of works created using cut outs from coloured paper a medium which Matisse chose over painting as his health and ability to paint were effected.

I really love the balance and harmonisation of the colours even although they’re quite different.


Matisse, The Snail

Matisse, The Snail 1953


Memory of Oceania (1953) by Henri Matisse

Memory of Oceania (1953) by Henri Matisse

Online images accessed 15th May 2014

Also taking on board my tutors comments I thought I’d try experimenting with colour blocks as I had in some of the earlier exercises – see Abstract Cities post and Understanding colour.

I began trying colour blocks that I thought worked well together overlapping them. Then introduced some skewed rectangles set them at different opacities/ blending options to show different colours beneath.

I think this is a lot stronger and decided to quit while I was ahead and visually the final result to me was a lot cleaner especially against the white backdrop.





Colour new back

colour spine new



For my Type cover I added three dots … as a lead in on the front cover. On the next page I continued the dots across the page onto page 3. Inside I set “Amazing Typography we all should learn” in a variety of different fonts but kept the same colour.

final final


final final2



final final3




final final4


final final5



final final6


final final7



I tried to widen the margins of the pages and tried to create a more book like column structure throughout. I added a few pages of text with some humourous scottish words and the longest word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and then backwards. I tweaked the layout of the typefaces page just tidying up some things and aligning left.

PDF of final A is for final final

Overall, I  think the changes I made to the covers are vast improvements. The series is more cohesive yet each cover is still distinct in their own right. The designs are a lot more modern, less complex and more attention grabbing.



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