Ideas First

Congratulations to all the winners of the ADCMW’s Real Show! It’s pretty awesome that 6 students from Mason got pieces in the show.

I know you will all join me in thanking Doug Fuller for taking the time to spend all day with us yesterday, first for his presentation and then for the guest critique. In case you didn’t write down some of the names he mentioned in his talk regarding conceptual design, they were:

  • Bob Gill
  • Lanny Sommese
  • Michael Vanderbyl
  • Turner Duckworth
  • Pentagram
  • Daniel Eatock
  • Sandstrom Design
  • Fuszion

Look ’em up!

As his examples showed, design with or from a concept is more memorable and interesting, which will ultimately be more valuable for your client. Remember Eric Stewart’s set of business cards!


Good Reads, Good Resources

I know you’re working hard on your book insides. And on revised covers for the guest critique on Wednesday… But I wanted to share some resources for you to feed the beast. (That would be your brain.)

Some type textbooks nowadays have websites to support their mission as well as provide extra content:

The online journal, Thinking for a Living is chock-full of interesting articles, including one on Emil Ruder.

Ellen Lupton has numerous essays online.

And finally (for today), there’s a great eight-minute video on Hatch Show Print from the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit.

Score and Die

On the heels of Monday’s die lecture, I wanted to share a couple of resources with you.

First, the eye candy: The Dieline is a website dedicated to the world’s best packaging design examples.

Next, the informative. But who says informative can’t be fun? features everything fold-related. I first learned of Trish Witkowski and her massive 2-volume book on folding when I convinced my previous employer it was a reference book we couldn’t do without. And now her fun style is evident throughout her website. Check out the “Education Series: Score and Die” video to see how it’s done. And check out the other videos at that link for folding examples, aptly titled “60-second Super-cool Fold of the Week.” Finally, learn really valuable info on folding, folding compensation, and other file setup tidbits by watching the video, “Education Series: Folding Basics.” I’m not kidding, watch it now!

Do you have any good online resources for finishing? Post them in the comments.

Special finishing can make a project really great, but it takes planning, preparation, and communication. Make sure you talk with your vendor up front. Be clear on who’s responsible for the final die file. (Usually I’ll prepare it and ask them to check it.) Pick the right stock for the job, and get dummies and ink draw downs. If you’re doing embossing, refer to a guide and specify number of levels, angle of bevel, emboss depth. It can also be a good idea to send the printer a PDF of the project early on so they can plan it appropriately (and price it accordingly).

Letterpress printed and die-cut coasters

Letterpress printed and die-cut coasters by Cranky Pressman. Design: Mikey Burton

Photo: There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

Back from Break

Good critiques this week, folks, thanks. Don’t forget, visit the flickr group to give and get additional feedback.

Although there was a previous post on pairing typefaces, Hoefler & Frere-Jones just this week released an email newsletter addressing that topic. You can find it online. And speaking of email newsletters from type foundries, you should sign up for them—all you can find—because they frequently contain interesting and educational info on type.

Sign up:

Just a reminder that Wednesday’s lecture on intellectual property and copyright is summarized in a post from last semester, with links to more info.

Layout for the first fourth of your book is due Monday. Bring in printouts for peer critiques (I will circulate during class.) Manuscripts are due Wednesday, March 24.

Spring Work, not Break

Today we’re having a lecture on Book Design and on Grids. It’s somewhat of an overview/inspiration to get you thinking more about what you will do with your book. The readings to complete over the next week and a half are:

“You Can Judge a Book by its Cover,” from HOW Magazine. In the Box.

On book design:

And, on grids:

There is also an updated calendar schedule in the Box. Don’t forget that your outlines and your initial comps (3 sets) are due Monday after Spring Break. Ironically, that is also the Ides of March. So, avoid critique assassination and come prepared!

Can I get a job with that design degree?

Good question! It’s always been challenging to do so, but it’s harder than ever right now. As mentioned in the “About” page, there are more design graduates than there are traditional design jobs. You have to be creative in your search and open-minded in your thinking. I have a lecture on this very topic scheduled for later in the semester, but I came across an article that I want you to read now. Because you shouldn’t wait til the end of the semester, when graduation is upon you, to plan your approach and prepare for the job hunt.

In a column for Communication Arts, RitaSue Siegel lays out some possibilities and some real-people examples of what direction a career path can take. Read it and be inspired for the possibilities!

The AIGA website also has a nice interactive article on Advice for Emerging Designers, created by Lynda Decker. Click on the numbers to read more on the listed advice.

Good Jobs!

And Women! (from an old letterpress poster photographed at Hatch Show Print)

Selecting and Pairing Typefaces

There are many resources on the web for how to select typefaces, and which typefaces go well together. To summarize some key points:

  • Read the text, understand the design goals, and pick appropriate typefaces.
  • Pick one or two families of type to do most of the “work” of your design (a serif and/or a sans serif).
  • Consider a third as accent type (a display or script face), if needed.
  • Pick robust families if needed, with extended character sets like old style figures, true small caps, fractions, extra ligatures, alternative characters, etc.
  • Do not mix two serif families, or two sans serif families, or two scripts, etc., as they are too close but not the same, and exude an uneasy feeling.
  • Use adjectives to describe what your type looks like, feels like, and make sure it matches up with the objectives of the project.
  • Evaluate your choices: does result/effect match intention/goal?

Two short web articles on choosing fonts are collected here.

Four web resources for pairing fonts are bookmarked here. (Thanks to John Orrand for a couple of these.)

These should help you as you finalize your brochure and complete your Flickr exercise #2. If you know of any other good resources, list them in the comments.

Bodoni and Futura

Bodoni and Futura were the approved Hecht's department store (now defunct) typefaces.