The Power of The Circle


There is something very satisfying the the purity of the humble circle which book covers over the years have made full use of. To see more book covers like those shown below then these two blogs are a great resource.



Just Type


After looking at these recent covers at the Architectural magazine exhibition, we started to think about the strengths and weaknesses of the all type cover. Here are some we like the look of below.



Architectural Magazines

The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines in the 60's and 70's is a showcase of 70 magazines, which ended at The Architectural Association in London this week. We went on the last day and were very impressed. For those that missed it, the website has a brilliant timeline section. Above is a slideshow of our visit. (thanks to the marvellous Grainedit blog for the technology tip. Below is the free poster which they gave out for free.

Here are some of our favourite things to look at from the show. See more on Flickr

The Believer

Anyone familiar with the publishing house McSweeney’s may have read their excellent magazine The Believer. Primarily a magazine about literature it also contains an eclectic mix of art, music, film and politics, all brought together in a rather beautiful little package.

The visual approach was originally developed by author, designer and McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers. The text heavy content is typeset in a mixture of centred and fully justified text and framed by heavy page borders. This conservative appearance is jarred by the magazine’s playful tone of voice, the ample use of intriguing illustrations (provided by Tony Millionaire and a different guest illustrator each month) and the eccentric covers which are a visual delight.
The covers are formed from a grid of 9 squares with wordy headlines sized to fit, decorative flourishes, varying colour schemes and illustrations by the great comic book artist Charles Burns. Despite this rigid system it still manages to look fresh every month.

In many ways The Believer could be seen as The New Yorker’s rebellious little cousin.


Editorial Design Organisation

Last night marked the grand opening of The EDO (Editorial Design Organisation), created to promote and develop the skill, knowledge and appreciation of editorial design in magazines, newspapers and websites. Join up and you get to go to some great talks. On the menu for next year are Robin Derrick: Creative Director of British Vogue, Janet Froelich: Creative Director of The New York Times and the mighty Jonathan Hoefler.

The best parts of last night were:

1: The view. IPC Media's rooftop wintergarden is a great place to behold.
2: The Auction. My favourites were the March 1965 Esquire and a copy of Nova.
3: The quiz. Although we lost terribly.

If you're interested in joining then it's well worth it, especially if you're a student interested in magazines and newspapers. It seems to be a great way to learn from some top people and get to put a few faces to magazines.


A Bold Use of Blackletter

Poor old Blackletter has had it rough over the years. Beloved of the Third Reich over sans serif faces which were associated with cultural Bolshevism, ye olde Blackletter has found it hard to break back into fashion and prove its legibility. Even today, this Germanic font is still used to connote tradition and seriousness, mostly found on Newspaper mastheads. This is much the same as the Modern typeface family and its associations with elite fashion brands.

But it seems blackletter is shaking off some of that old legacy. Matthew Carter was recently asked to draw a blackleter typeface for the New York Times, based on their Blackletter monograph. The new style magazine has made the bold move to re-employ this aged typeface as a display font and the results are really interesting. The new website's 'words' category is a great display case for this new usage. For those of us who don't have access to Matthew's font then you might try another blackletter revival face: Fette Fraktur shown above. Sometimes I forget how great they are. The lowercase F being my favourite.


Five Things You Always Wanted to Ask Matthew Carter

1. Did you really enjoy designing fonts for Microsoft?
2. Do you get annoyed when people "mess around" with your fonts?
3. How do you become a serious typographer?
4. What letter of the alphabet do you design first?
5. Where do you get your inspiration for fonts from?

If you had attended the lecture at the RSA last night, you would now know these things. Brilliant.


From Random Travels

Spar supermarket pins from Lisbon, Portugal
Tesla Electronics pins from Prague, the Czech Republic
Chairman Mao pins from the People's Republic of China