Category Archives: Typography

Initial sketch and final intaglio print

Initial sketch and final intaglio print

Bruce Mau is a designer from Canada. Mau runs a successful design firm in Toronto and Chicago. He wrote something called the “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.” It is basically a list of 43 things that exemplify Mau’s style, strategy toward every project.

My motion graphics course has incorporated this manifesto into our recent video project. We were to create three 30 second videos (1-type dominant, 1-imagedominate, 1- negative space dominate) that explored a particular point from the manifesto. I chose to explore number six,‘Capture Accidents.’ 

My concept was that during the drawing process there are accidents that occurr – a misplaced line here, wrong proportions there, or smearing of pencil lead.

smearing of pencil lead

I wanted to focus on this because I’m left handed, and if you are too (both McCain and Obama are left handed!), you know that this always happens. Notebooks or sketchbooks weren’t meant for left-handed people. The idea I had was to do what the manifesto says – to capture and gather accidents and ‘ask different questions’ or create something great from that accident.

I chose to record myself drawing one of my old sketches of Jesus being persecuted and accidentally smear the pencil lead where the wood block is on the left of the drawing. But then I would turn that smear of lead into the shading of the wood block.

Below is the type dominant version for ‘Capturing Accidents’

My last semester has started and I’m taking Advanced Motion Graphics, Advanced Digital Graphics, Chemistry and Internet Programming. For Adavanced Digital Graphics we had to photograph each letter/number in any category we chose. I decided to photograph architectural things, mostly in alleys and outside. The gallery below shows my results. Please note that the thumbnails are cropped wrong, so to get a better feel for them view them at full size.

I started thinking, “You know, I’ve done a massive amount of design/layout for Meadow Heights Church and a few other places like BSU at Truman State University… so why not get all of my best work together and see what I come up with.

So here ya go!

*side note*
I’ve been keeping track of my blog’s visitor statistics and my first post about newspaper ads is the most popular of any I’ve written, with an average of 15-20 views a day. It also is ranked high in search engines when searching for ‘how to make great advertisements.’
**

With that knowledge, I decided that I would write part two…

In part one, I talked about some reasons to be different, aesthetically. Here are a few more reasons, along with thoughts about the ad’s message.

  • limit the amount of content you have. An ad should grab attention not inform the viewer of every single detail.
  • Use only a few sentences, bullet points or short phrases. Similar to writing for the web, you want to give the viewer a break from the massive amount of content in the stories surrounding the ad.
  • Aim your message at a targeted audience. Be sure your audience isn’t just all males or all females.. that’s way too broad. The broader your target audience the less effective your message becomes!
  • Try to portray the uniqueness of your product/service that is being advertised.
  • Steer clear from using most free fonts in the ad. They are generally very poorly designed, have poor default kerning, etc. There are some great free fonts out there, but be picky and be prepared to do a lot of work on your typography to fix the flaws.
  • Be sure your ad is appropriate for where it is placed in the newspaper. Newspapers usually control this, but just in case… it’s probably not a good idea to put a beer ad next to the comics. Your kids will end up seeing that ad.
  • Take advantage of the placement, if possible. If you know the page your ad will be on, try tying your message to the subject matter of the surrounding stories. Or ask if your ad can be placed near certain subjects/stories.

Some of these items apply to graphic design and advertising in general as well as newspaper advertising. Are there any other tips you would add?

Posters should have a definite style or brand yet carry that style out with minimal content. Here are few posters I’ve designed in the past.

This was created in conjunction with a pamphlet that targeted the idea that finding WMD was a slam dunk case. And yes, the CIA director actually said that. I put statistics of the war and came up with the tag “Not Quite a Slam Dunk” This was intended to have a David Carson feel, with the typography… I’ve realized I’m not the “experimental typography” sort of person.

I created this poster for my senior portfolio, along with a CD design, website and bar coasters. I drew the guitar in Illustrator and then finished it in Photoshop. Check out Paul’s music at Myspace.


 For an ongoing freelance job for Meadow Heights Church. This concept started out as a small web ad and later became this 11×17 poster.

Do you need a poster designed?

If you are looking for someone to help you design a poster or anything (business card, brochure, website, logo, etc). I’m your man. You can get in contact with me and I’ll create something meaningful and awesome for you next project.

That title isn’t meant to be sarcastic either. I love that the design of Obama’s latest podium front has made the news. Finally, political campaigns are setting a standard in the design world, instead of being the worst of the worst when it comes to design. Obama’s website is the best designed, most standards-compliant and user friendly of any presidential candidate’s website in history (the last two elections). His overall brand is also a cut-above. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that obama’s circle logo resembles a corn field and sunset. Afterall, he did start this campaign in Iowa, the corn state… where he won big. The first time I saw the Obama circle logo was on a large yard sign in Iowa City and directly behind the sign were corn fields.. very interesting.

I think it’s hilarious that people are getting worked up about great marketing and design. We also got worked up about McCain’s lack of great design and color choice – the use of a green backdrop. One design choice was well made and one wasn’t.

The Obama seal is a clever way to brand Obama as a presidential candidate. There were no copyright laws broken. If you look closely, the eagle’s are totally different renderings, the colors and font choices are different. It also doesn’t say “President of the United States”, It says “Obama FOR President”. The repetitive stars also weren’t used from the presidential seal… that’s more than can be said about McCain’s website and its overuse of stars. I think Obama’s designers need to be hired to redesign the white house website, government websites and heck why not the presidential seal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with beautifull design in a political campaign.

McCain seems to have taken notice of how awesome Obama’s website design was and revamped his whole website a few months ago… before then he had no direct links to his social networking profiles (bad choice to leave this out – maybe that’s why mccain has 9 times fewer facebook supporters than obama who has over a million) I spent the semester researching the presidential candidate’s websites and how to reach young voters with them. I focused on McCain and getting him the young vote through a “students for mccain” website. 

Lastly, I think Obama’s website and overall branding resembles who he is: hopeful, ready for change, different than usual. His website resembles these phrases through his color scheme (not typical red/white/blue), spotlight effect with white highlights around the edge of the page and around photos of people, great typography and attention to detail with his pages for states and people groups (he uses imagery specific to each state and people group). His logo area of the website is very clever – using a photo of him looking up, in a hopeful manner.

What are your thoughts?

elements-31I began reading “The Elements of Typographic Style” today. I read something profound, and interesting to a me as both a musician and designer.

Typography is to literature as musical performance is to composition: an essential act of interpretation, full of endless opportunities for insight or obtuseness.”