Part 5 – Exercise 6: Chance Housing Association

The Chance Housing Association has been set up to try and help first time buyers get onto the housing ladder and they want you to develop a brand image for their stationery. It is important to them that the Association is seen as being different from the other local housing associations – more modern, more helpful and definitely welcoming to young people wanting to buy a house. They want to use their logo on their letterheads and office stationery and it will also be used somewhere on the sheets that hold the property details. It also needs to be reproducible in the local newspaper and professional trade magazines.

Using just typography sketch up some designs. You want to come up with at least three initial ideas to show the client. In this instance you can decide which one you think works best to further develop.

Mock up a letterhead and business card using the logo and house brand. Look in
you local newspaper and mock up an advertisement to fit in the paper. Measure the space carefully remembering to leave sufficient margins so your text isn’t cramped.

Photocopy in black and white onto cheap paper – does your logo still work? Have any fine lines got lost? Are the differences between colours still discernible?


Housing Association Logos


Estate Agent Logos

Most of the logos that I looked at for Housing Associations and Estate Agents used the name of the organisation as the logo. The housing associations occasionally also used a small icon but estate agents rarely did. Green and blue were predominant colours for the housing association, presumably for their calming and honest connotations. Estate Agents often used quite strong and eye-catching colours.

I decided I would follow the same style of using the ‘Chance’ name as the logo and use the colour green in the logo.

I then considered the requirements for the logo and made sure I was clear exactly what a housing association did. The brief states that the Chance organisation aims to help first time buyers get on the housing ladder, so I felt that it was aimed less at supporting the vulnerable in society and had more of a commercial feel.

Mind Map

I started by thinking generally about what the Chance organisation stood for and words, ideas and concepts that reflected their business and ethos.

I then began sketching ideas for the logo, exploring how to convey a sense of a ‘helping hand’, a ‘new start’ or a ‘home’ into the typography.

Having spent a considerable amount of time on formulating ideas, reviewing them with my husband and even drawing up my three selected candidates – I then went back and read the brief and realised that my logo was meant to only use typography!!

I went back to my sketchbook and tried our some more design ideas.

After another review, I drew up the following three logo designs using Adobe Illustrator:

This logo uses a modern, simple sans serif font. The ‘C’ overlapping the ‘H’ is intended to suggest security and safety. The ‘A’ represents a house and the hand-drawn quality is intended to look relaxed, friendly and welcoming. Similarly the handwriting style of the words ‘Housing Association’ are intended to give a less formal and welcoming feel.

The outline of steps in this logo is intended to suggest ‘moving up’ and making progress.

Again the ‘C’ in this logo is wrapping around the other letters to suggest security. The overall effect also hints at a house key. This is a simple, modern and minimalist style.

I decided to use the final logo as the one to develop further.

I created a letter head, business card and local paper advert using the selected logo:

Letter Head:

Business Card Front:

Business Card Back:

Newspaper Advert:

I also photocopied the newspaper advert in black and white:

I though the logo looked reasonable in black and white (despite my poor quality printer) but I did think the small ‘Housing Association’ writing was getting a bit lost in black and white.

I tried some different font weights for the words ‘Housing Association’ and photocopied them in black and white:

I decided that the green writing in a bold font looked better in black and white, so I reworked the logo:

I also reworked the letterhead, business card and advert to inlcude the revised logo:


Business Card Front:

Newspaper Advert:

Thoughts On This Exercise

The most important lesson learnt during this exercise is to read the brief properly before starting! I spent a lot of time designing and digitally creating three logos before realising that I was only meant to be using typography. It was very frustrating having to start again!! As it was, I found the process of generating ideas for the logo quite a challenge, given that I could only use type and I was trying to avoid the obvious option of depicting a house.

This exercise was also very useful for highlighting that it is worth testing the logo in its different formats as early as possible. I only checked the black and white photocopy version near the end of the design process, and again found myself reworking everything with a revised logo.  Also I was lucky that the contrast between the green and dark grey worked well in black and white as I had not specifically considered this when I started the design process.

Finally, I found that I only got a real idea of what a document looked like when I printed it. It is difficult to judge on a computer screen how documents will appear when printed in their actual size. I printed and reworked the letterhead three times before I was happy with the relative sizes of the logo, type and footer.


Part 5 – Exercise 5: Poster and flyer

You have been asked to design an A3 poster and an accompanying double sided A6 flyer to promote a singing course run by an organisation called SingOut (all one word). They have very little money so want to print these posters on their black and white
photocopier. You can use a colour paper if you want.

The information they want to give is:
• Do you love to sing?
• Join us for an exciting opportunity during the day with a professional vocal coach.
Learn to sing different types of music, vocal techniques, meet new people and have
• 10.30 to 12.00 every Tuesday from 11 March
• The Community Centre, Charlotte Church Road
• £60 for the course
• No experience needed/no requirement to read music
• For more information call 011779 8765432


The brief does not state any specific objectives but I assume the objective of the poster and flier is to get people to sign up to the singing course.

Missing Information

The information that I feel is missing from the brief is:

  • Who is the target audience for the singing course? Is it aimed more at women or is it aimed at women and men equally. What is their age group? (The time of day of the course and the benefit of ‘meeting new people’ suggests that it is not intended for children.)


  • What kind of people is the course targeted at? e.g. are they affluent or price conscious?


  • How long is the course?


  • Where are the posters and fliers intended to be displayed? e.g. are the posters intended for notice boards where people will stop and read them, or are they intended for a location where people are walking past.


  • What is the main objective of the poster / flyer?


  • How serious / formal is the course? Is the emphasis more on really learning to sing or on having fun?


  • What style of music will be taught? e.g. folk / trad, pop etc.


  • What would the ‘next steps’ be to sign up for the course (i.e. what is the ‘Call to Action’)? A phone number and web address are given but how do you sign up for the course?



To fill in the gaps for the information missing from the brief, I assumed that the singing course was aimed at middle class, reasonably affluent women. Men would also be welcome but the marketing of the course would not be specifically aimed at them.

As the course runs on a weekday morning, I assumed that the course would most likely be aimed at stay-at-home Mums, housewives or retired women.

Having fun is important but because a professional vocal coach was running the course, I also assumed that the course was reasonably serious and that there would be considerable emphasis on learning how to sing.

The style of music would be modern, pop covers and rock choir.

Key Words

The key words that I wanted to convey in my poster/flyer were:

  • love
  • love to sing
  • enthusiasm
  • energy
  • learn
  • fun
  • joy
  • togetherness
  • confidence-building
  • inspirational
  • achievement


I started with a mind map of thoughts on what words and symbols typically suggest singing.

I then looked for images and typical visual symbols and motifs associated with singing. My aim was to identify these symbols so that I could try to avoid simply replicating them in my design.

I researched on-line looking for images and ideas that conveyed my sentiments of singing, having fun and togetherness.

I also researched the websites of vocal coaches and choirs. A lot of vocal coach websites feature images of the coach themselves singing, common images include people with headphones, mouths open singing, microphones and musical notes:

The VoxSkool ( website banner (below) uses quite dramatic colours, has a smiling female mouth to suggest singing and images of musical notes, sound waves and stars, dots and light rays all suggesting stage lighting. It also has quite a ‘groovy’ 70’s vibe. I really like this styling – I think it really communicates the sense of what this singing group is about.

Design Ideas

I decided that I wanted my poster and flier to have a strong visual element in the form of a black and white illustration. This would be the first thing that people would see, so I wanted it to catch the attention of my target audience (women), be obviously about singing, suggest ‘fun’ and be welcoming and not too serious. My aim was that a women would see the illustration on the poster/flyer and connect with it.

I reviewed each of my design ideas together with my husband.

My first idea was a simple drawing of the iconic ‘Sound of Music’ image of Maria on the mountain top. To me this image epitomises the joy of singing.

Although this image conveyed the right sentiment, we felt that it could be mistaken for a ‘Sound of Music sing-along’. I also wasn’t sure if there would be copyright issues with an illustration of such an iconic image.

My next idea was an illustration of a singing bird (or birds for a better sense of ‘togetherness’). The illustration would be quite contemporary and feminine to appeal to women.

We thought the illustration would be quite effective in attracting attention but that it possibly suggested too much of a folk / trad style singing.

My next idea was a series of singing female mouths, possibly on a musical stave.

We quite liked this idea but felt that maybe it wasn’t impactful enough to attract attention on a poster.

Next was a line drawing of a singer holding a microphone. In an effort to try to make this a less stereotypical ‘singing’ image, I made the women’s hair out of musical notes.

Although we both like the impact of this illustration, we both felt that it was quite a ‘serious’ singing image and may be a bit intimidating to people interested in the course but nervous about joining it. Singing solo into a microphone would be a lot of people’s worst nightmare!

I took the line drawing image and attempted to make it less intimidating by making it look  like someone having fun singing in the shower. I replace the microphone with a shampoo bottle.

We both felt that this image did the job of being clearly about singing, but also conveying a sense of fun and being welcoming.

I decided to use this final image for my poster/flyer.

I also decided to keep the illustration purely black and white as the contrast would be more eye catching.

Information Hierarchy

I analysed the information that needed to be on the poster and decided that the most important text was ‘Do you Love to Sing?’ This is the ‘hook’ that, together with my image, would grab people’s attention. This would be the largest sized text on my poster and flyer.

Next was ‘the offering’, i.e. ‘learn to sing with a professional vocal coach’. This is effectively what is on offer and the main purpose of the poster / flyer. This would be mid-sized text.

The detail of the course, i.e. ‘Join us to sing different types of music etc.’ was additional to the ‘offering’ was less important, so did not need to be the same size as ‘learn to sing with a professional vocal coach’. I made this the smaller sized text.

Also important is the ‘response to objections’.  Someone viewing the poster may think ‘yes, I love to sing’ and then, ‘learning to sing with a professional coach sounds good’ but then may immediately think that the course may be a bit intimidating or might not be for them. The ‘No experience necessary’ text is important to immediately reassure that everyone is welcome, I made this text mid-sized.

The ‘when, where and how much’ information, for me, is the least important. If the viewer is interested in the course they will make the effort to read the logistical details of the course. All this text was small sized.

Choice of Typeface

I wanted a bold, heavyweight and eye-catching font for the poster / flier. I also wanted a sans serif font for its contemporary and uncluttered feel. I looked on Google Fonts and selected three possible typefaces:

I selected ‘Montserrat Alternates’ as I liked the slight roundness and curves in some of the letter forms. I felt this gave a more friendly, welcoming and slightly feminine feel to the font.

Final Poster


Final Flyer



Thoughts on This Exercise

I am not very confident working with colour, so I was very happy to produce designs in black and white for this exercise. I decided to use only pure black and white for maximum contrast and therefore visual impact (rather than shades of grey).

I was pleased with the final results. I think the illustration works well to visually communicate ‘singing’ and fun’. The image, and particularly the polka dot pattern of the shower cap, together with the large ‘Do you love to sing?’ text really catch the attention. A different image may have also been able to incorporate the idea of ‘togetherness’ which is something that I think this illustration lacks.

The black panel at the bottom half of the poster was the result of experimentation with the layout in Adobe Illustrator and was added when I thought the poster was looking too white. I like the visual impact this block of black adds and I think it neatly balances the black shampoo bottle and polka dot shower cap.

I followed this idea through to the flyer where I made the background on the back of the flyer black, again I think it makes the flyer more visually interesting.

With this exercise, I learnt a very painful lesson of how easy it is to completely miss a typo or incorrect text when you are completely absorbed in finessing the layout of a document using design software. I had temporarily hidden some text when creating the poster in Adobe Illustrator, and completely forgot to unhide it so that I designed the entire poster layout with some text missing. There was much cursing when I discovered my mistake and had to go back and redesign the layout.



Part 5 – Exercise 3: Giving Information

Find some examples of information graphics. For example bus timetables, city maps, diagrams or representations of statistical data. Look at the way they are designed and try and work out the decisions the designer made. What can you learn from them and when would it be appropriate to use a similar design solution?

I started the exercise by researching on line, looking for different types of infographic.

My research suggested that there were about six quite common style of infographic depending on the type of information being shared:

A Process or Sequence of Steps

Information describing a process or a defined sequence of steps is often shown against a timeline or has some sort of visual ‘path’ that leads the viewer through the information in the right order.

The sequence can also be defined using numbered points.

General Information Sheet

Where multiple pieces of information are being shared but there is so specific order to the points, the points can be arranged on a single sheet.

The points are still most likely to be read from top to bottom and left to right but it is not so important for them to be read in a specific order.

A Map or Diagram

Information where location or placement of items is important is often shown as a map or diagram showing how something is structured or laid out.


A List

Where there is a number of related or similar pieces of information, these are often displayed as a list.


Where information is being compared (such as pros and cons or showing how things differ from each other, for example), the information is often displayed as a list but with related information shown side-by-side for comparison.

Visual Representation of Numerical Information (e.g. a Chart)

Where numerical information is displayed, such as how a data set is segmented,  is often displayed as a chart or graph.


Other decisions that the designer would consider are:

  • How much information needs to be displayed? Is it just one point, for example how the unemployment rate has changed in the UK last 6 months, or multiple points such as ‘Things to do in Tokyo’.


  • How is the data related? Are they points with no specific order, a list, a timeline etc.


  • Does the information need to be read in a specific order?


  • Is some information more important, and therefore needs to stand out more, than other data?


  • What is the purpose of the infographic and who is it for? What is its objective? Where will it be read, e.g. in a magazine or a poster in a train station?


  • What should the tone of the infographic be, e.g. fun and frivolous, professional and business-like?


  • How much of the infographic could / should be communicated using text compared to images.


  • What might dictate the colours used? e.g. branding.


For this exercise you are going to describe your immediate surroundings using
information graphics.

I chose to create an infographic of my kitchen worktop. This was inspired by a  frustrating evening trying to prepare dinner in the 2 foot square of clear space on my very cluttered kitchen worktop. To help clarify my design decisions, I defined my own brief for this exercise, as follows:

Create an infographic which shows the objects that might be permanently located on, and take up space on, a typical kitchen worktop. The infographic will help to support training of interior and kitchen designers in helping them to understand how the space of a kitchen worktop is used in reality and just how much space is given over to items that reside permanently on the worktop.

The infographic style should be fun and playful with the emphasis on the visual impact of just how many objects live on a typical kitchen worktop.

Step 1 – Gather the Information

I started by drawing a quick sketch of my kitchen worktop and catalogued all the items that live on it:

Step 2 – Decide on the Style and Colours

Because the infographic is intended to be a training tool for designers and creatives, I wanted to use quite a graphic and contemporary style. As the graphic needs to be quite playful, I decided on a graphic-style illustration. I really like the ‘flat’ design style of these illustrated maps and decided to try a similar style for my worktop graphic.

I also like the colour palette of the Shanghai map and decided to try this for my worktop infographic.

Step 3 – Design the Visual Elements

I decided that I would use simple ‘flat’ icons to represent the items on my worktop, so I started by sketching them and then drawing out simpler, more abstracted versions. My intention was for my icons to be a two-dimensional, front on, simplified view of the object. Interestingly one thing I struggled with here was the idea of ‘how flat is flat?’ Some objects, such as the toaster, needed information from other ‘planes’ such as the top or side-on view in order to make it obvious what it was. I opted for any object that could be recognised from a front-on 2D view would be drawn in two dimensions but others would be drawn in 3D where this was essential to help identify what the object was.



Step 4 – Work Out Scale

I measured the objects so that I could draw them in proportion to each other. I also measured by kitchen worktop so that I could draw it to scale.

Step 5 – Create the Graphic

I started by creating all of the icons for the objects using Adobe Illustrator.

Next I created the graphic background, drew a top-down view of my kitchen worktop and added the fixed objects including the hob, draining boards and sink. I chose dark colours for these as I did not want them to particularly stand out as they were not the most important elements of the graphic.

I then copied the object icons into this document and positioned them on the worktop roughly where they were ‘in real life’. Because the icons are all drawn ‘face-on’ I was only able to indicate roughly where they were located rather than exactly how they were positioned on the worktop. Also, because of this, I didn’t feel that the ‘to-scale’ version of the worktop was working, so I changed the size of it to give it a more ‘illustrative’ feel which I felt worked better with the look of the graphic.

Next I added in the objects labels. The objects and labels were the most important elements of this graphic, so I made them light, bright colours to attract attention.

I added the graphic title and the pie chart, summarising how the worktop space is used. Finally, I added the human and cat footprints for a little bit of fun.

Final Infographic:

Thoughts on this Exercise

I enjoyed this exercise and particularly enjoyed the challenge of creating the icon representations of all the objects on my kitchen worktop.  Using basic shapes to build up the objects was good fun once I got the hang of it – a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle. I enjoyed the challenge  although some objects were much harder than others to create – I particularly found the 3D objects hard to construct.

I am not very confident with using colours and even though I copied the colour scheme from another image I had found on-line, I was pleased with how the colours worked together in my infographic. The worktop and fixed appliances were deliberately coloured dark so that they did not stand out and the objects and labels were brightly coloured as these were the most important elements of the graphic.

One lesson learnt from this exercise is that it would be better to plan out more of the entire graphic on paper before starting to create it digitally. I have a tendency to focus on the ‘difficult bits’ which in this case was how to draw the icons, and I forget that how the elements all fit together is equally important. It would be better to consider the whole graphic at the design stage and how parts of it work together for the overall effect.

Another lesson learnt is that creating something like this in Illustrator takes A LOT of time and patience!

Part 5 – Exercise 2: Judging a Book by its Cover

Choose a book by an author you are familiar with. You are going to design two different
covers for it, one using illustrations or photography and the other using just type.

About the Book

I chose the book ‘Half a Creature from the Sea’ by David Almond for this exercise. This book is published by Walker Books who publish books for young adults but this book is as much for adults as it is for younger people. The book is a series of short stories based around the author’s own childhood memories of living in a small town on Tyneside. They are stories of children leading ordinary lives around the town but the stories mix the everyday with elements magic and mystery. They are half real and half imaginary and really give a sense of how children can imagine the fantastical in the everyday.

The title of the book is also the title of one of the stories and is about a young girl called Annie who has a mystery illness which sounds like epilepsy although it is never given a name. Because of her illness, she is quite isolated and cannot go to school. Instead she spends her days with her Mum in a house by the sea. They both have a strong connection with the sea and with where they live. Annie describes her ‘episodes’ as like ‘going swimming in the sea’. She describes how she would turn into “a fish, a seal or a dolphin” and would travel “far away beneath the sea to places of coral and shells and beautifully coloured fish”. She describes her ‘hair that drifts like seaweed when I swim’ and at night she would ‘gleam and low like the sea beneath the stars and moon’. Annie is always very positive about her condition and regards her episodes as something she quite enjoys and nothing for her mother to be afraid of. Annie’s mother explains that Annie is different and special because she is ‘Half a Creature from the Sea’. It is a very poignant but uplifting story.

This story and all the others in the book are warm and uplifting with a sense of magic and wonder.

The cover of the book should appeal to both young adults and adults and should be gender neutral. Although the book is named after a story that features a girl, most of the other stories feature boys so the cover should appeal to both boys and girls. Because the book is for young adults,

Illustrated Book Cover

I felt an illustration would be more appropriate for the first cover, rather than a photograph. This also fits well with Walker Books’ house style which uses mostly modern illustrations.

First, I did some analysis about the tone and style of the book

Then I sketched some ideas for an illustrated cover:

I wanted my book cover illustration to convey a sense of joy and wonder but to also be a bit mysterious and surreal to reflect the stories in the book.

I reviewed the sketches with my husband, who is also familiar with the book and we decided on a sketch of a girl’s head with’seaweed hair’ under the sea.

I did some research into various types of seaweed, underwater illustrations and similar books covers:

Then sketched an outline of a drawing for the cover:

I scanned this into Photoshop, coloured it, added a blue/green background and water texture.  originally I had intended to use shells and fish for facial features to make the illustration less ‘feminine’ and a bit more surreal but I wasn’t happy with how these looked, so I eventually drew facial features instead.

Because this book of stories about children, I chose a handwritten typeface for the book title and a contemporary-style sans serif font for the author name, synopsis and reviews on the back.

The finished book cover is here:


Text Only Book Cover

I sketched out some ideas for the text only cover for the book:

I decided to try two of the ideas, first I used a blue/green gradient for the background and used a wave texture to distort the letters of the book title:

I didn’t think this cover had enough of a ‘child-like’ quality for a book of stories about children, so I tried out the second idea. For this cover, I used blocks of colour and gradients to suggest a sea and sky. I kept the same typefaces but I positioned the words of the title of the book on the front cover to look like they were sinking in the water.

I felt this cover worked better for the ‘text only’ book cover as it had a more ‘illustrated’, and therefore child-like, quality which I think worked better for the book content.


Of the two covers, I think the illustrated cover is more eye-catching and visually impactful, and more suggestive of the slightly surreal and magical nature of the book. However, I think it is not gender-neutral enough. Given the book is aimed at young adults, I can’t really see a teenage boy picking this book off the shelf given it has what looks like a mermaid on the front.  For that reason, I actually think that the text-only cover works better. The blocks of colour give the book a slightly illustrated, playful feel, and the cover is completely gender-neutral. However, the text-only version does lack that hint of magical-realism of the book.

Ideally I would try again with the illustration and try my idea of making the girl’s face out of shells, sea creatures etc so that the illustration would suggest more ‘mysterious sea-creature’ than ‘girl’.

For reference, this is what the actual cover of the book looks like:

I also later found the cover of the audio version of the book and thought it was very interesting that it was quite similar to one of my ideas for the illustrated designs (with swimming legs):

Thoughts on this Exercise

As always, I found it quite difficult not to just replicate the cover of the book that I was already familiar with, especially as I already thought that the existing cover worked really well. My tutor’s advice came in useful here, as she suggests to just get the obvious ideas down first to get them out of your system and then move on. I find if I do this and then just keep on sketching, I can eventually start thinking of alternative ideas.

I don’t really have any experience in illustration but I quite enjoyed the challenge of drawing and colouring the girl’s head although as usual, using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for this was immensely painful and frustrating! One day it will get easier.

Once I had decided to use the idea of the illustration of the girl’s head for the cover, I think I should have tried out different ways of drawing this before committing to the final illustration. In hindsight I think a front-on view of the head with facial features made from sea shells etc. (as I had originally intended) would have worked better.

Also, I learnt that when sketching ideas, it pays to plan out the whole book cover, not just the illustration as I think the image and text need to work together (and fit nicely on the cover) and this isn’t something that should be thought about right at the end!

I thought that putting together the text-only cover was going to be quick, and a bit boring to do, but I actually found I really enjoyed the challenge of working within much narrower boundaries. Given more time, I would have like to have spent more time thinking of ideas for the text-only cover to see what I could come up with.

Part 4 – Exercise 5: Hierarchy

Using about 500 words of Lorum Ipsum (or other dummy text) you are going to design three different pages:

• an interview with a TV actor in a listings magazine entitled: Will Sheila tell the
naked truth?

• a review of a new piece of hardware or software in a specialist computer magazine

• a book review in a newspaper’s weekend edition.

Note: My rationale for why I chose certain text combinations and what my intentions were for each design are contained within the text of each layout design. PDF versions of each design are included so that the text is easier to read.

Shaded boxes and circles are intended to represent placeholders for images.

An Interview in a TV Listings Magazine

Interview in a TV Listing Magazine

A Hardware Review in a Computer Magazine

Hardware Review in a Computer Magazine

A Book Review in a Newspaper

Book Review in a Newspaper

Part 4 – Exercise 4: Lorum Ipsum

Select one of the designs from your research that you like and think works. Using the dummy text, try and copy the layout and design as closely as possible. You will need to measure the margins and column widths. If you don’t have the exact typeface get as near as you can. If you are copying a page that includes photographs just leave 10% tinted boxes to indicate their position.

Waitrose Magazine Layout

Original Magazine Page

Replicated Layout

The text is a mixture of serif and sans serif typefaces with the section headings and body text in a serif font and the highlight text (under the headings) in a sans serif font. There are no lines between the paragraphs but each new paragraph is indented. In the original document, the first letter of the first paragraph is large and bold, but I wasn’t able to replicate this effect in Adobe Illustrator.

The ‘ try’ sections also use a serif font for the heading, a bold sans serif font for the product name and a light weight sans serif font for the product description.

The page is based on a three column layout with each section only having text in two columns. The sections are then offset from each other using images in the third column.

The text is ragged and in the lower section, wraps around the edge of the image.


British Journal of Photography Magazine Layout

Original Magazine Page

Replicated Layout

The title is quite long, taking up three lines, and is in a quite unusual serif font, in bold. The subtitle, author and body text are all in a sans serif typeface. The subtitle is mid-sized and the author and body text are printed in quite a small font, the author is bold and the body text is regular. The body text is ragged.

There are no lines between the paragraphs but each new paragraph is indented, with the exception of the first paragraph which is not.

There is also an annotation for the image which is in a very small, italic, sans serif font.

The page is based on a three column layout. The first column holds only the sub-title and author (and lower down, the image annotation). The other two columns hold the body text. The image takes up nearly half of the height of the page and fills the width of  three columns.

Thoughts on This Exercise

This exercise made me appreciate how many different typefaces, font types and font sizes can be used together on a single page. This is particularly evident in the Waitrose magazine page which uses a serif typeface for the section heading and body text, and a sans serif typeface for the highlight text and product description, the product title is bold and the page header uses a serif, bold italic font.

I was also quite surprised at how small the body text could be as I would not have thought to make the text such a small size.

The three column layout that each page is using breaks up the text, making it more digestible and easier to read. In the BJP magazine, I particularly liked how the first column is given over only to the subtitle and therefore introduces a lot of white space into the page, allowing all the elements of the page to breathe. I think this works particularly well with the large image as the white space sets balances the image and lets it stand out.






Part 4 – Research Point: Legibility

Collect as many newspapers, newsletters, magazines and brochures as you can. Start by going through them and dividing them into the ones that immediately look easy to read and those that don’t. Is this due to the typefaces used, the way the type is laid out – the number of words per line and the column width, or its alignment?

Work out from your examples what the designers have done to make things more legible and readable.

Examples of Printed Material Which is Difficult to Read

Craft & Design Fair Flier

There isn’t much text on this flier but I find the whole page quite difficult to make sense of.  I find the mix of colours quite jarring. The image styles are also incongruous, mixing an illustration with two photographs – these two styles do not work together and for one image I can’t tell what it is (a table top?).

The mix of colours of the fonts also doesn’t work for me. I am also questioning why just the words ‘Christmas Contemporary’ are in a serif font. The text on this flier is printed small and is cramped into the bottom of the page, with all points running one after the next. For me, the design of this flier is so chaotic and jumbled that I don’t have the energy to read the text.

Restaurant Menu

The front cover of this restaurant takeaway menu is too busy with too much information crammed onto it. There is some consistency with most of the text being in different weights of the same font but the different colours, font weights and sizes, images and decorative backgrounds all make the page look too busy. Information is broken up over a series of centre justified lines but I think  the lines of text are too close to each other. I find that my eyes wander over this page without actually taking anything in.

Veterinary Financial Information Page

This document provides a lot of quite technical information. Text is broken up with bold headings and bullet points, and the most important information is in red which makes it stand out. My main difficulty with this document is that the text is too small. This combined with the fact that the paragraphs are quite long just make this document feel like a chore to read. It doesn’t help that I know that financial information is already going to be a dry read.

Fortnum and Mason Christmas Flier

The main message on this flier is illegible!It is printed in reflective gold foil and the very cursive typeface used is printed directly over a really busy background illustration. Its a beautiful document but it would have been better without the ‘Together we’re merrier’ (or is that ‘terrier’?) printed on it.

Examples of Printed Material That is Easy to Read

Financial Marketing Brochure

There is a lot of text on this page, the subject matter is quite dry and the body text font size is very small but, despite that,  I do find this document quite legible. Even though there is a lot of text, it is broken up into short paragraphs with a generous line break between them. The information is broken up into sections with bold headings and the text is further broken up into three columns, so the lines of text are quite short. This all makes the text much less daunting to read. Only two typefaces are used and the colours on the page are a harmonious dark and light blue and shades of grey so that the graphics don’t distract.

Craft Fair Flier

The key informaton on this flier is printed in large font sizes and is centre justified. There are only two images on this page which are quite large but they are positioned symetrically which makes the design feel balanced. There are quite a few colours being used but they work well together and more importantly, there is a logic to their use. The two events on this flier are being differentiated by the use of colour with one in gold and one in purple. Because the colours are harmonious and the layout balanced, I am much more inclined to read the text.. I didn’t even notice the single use of the serif font at the top of the page!

Waitrose Magazine Article

Interestingly, I find it is the image here which is really contributing to the legibility of this article! I like the illustration and am intrigued by it which is making me want to invest the effort into reading the article.

There is quite a lot of small sized text on this page but text only fills the bottom third of the page. The text is split into short paragraphs, there is no line break between them but the first line of each paragraph is indented. The text is further split over two columns making it more manageable. Key pieces of information in the text are in bold.

The title of the article is printed in a large font and is easier to read, and serves as a good introduction to the text. The line drawing, white space and tiny hints of colour give this page a calm and balanced feel.


Based on my analysis of various documents, text on a page is more likely to be legible if:

Text does not require effort to read. It is not an issue if the text size is small  but breaking the text up into short paragraphs which are easily discernible and splitting larger blocks of body text across columns, so that the length of the line that the eye needs to scan is shorter, all help .

Images add to rather than distract from the text. I am more likely to invest the effort into reading text if I am not being distracted by confusing images with jarring colours. It also helps if the image placement on the page is balanced.

White space is used to allow text to ‘breathe’. Rather than cram text onto a page, text is more readable if it is broken up and de-cluttered with white space.

There is a logic or harmony to the use of typefaces and fonts. I was more comfortable reading documents where the use of fonts had a clear purpose, such as a sans serif font for headings and a serif font for body text. More chaotic or unstructured use of type was confusing and more challenging to read.

Text is not overlaid on a busy background. Text on plain backgrounds (with good contrast between the background and the text colours) was easier to read.

Part 4 – Exercise 3: If The Face Fits

Create your own sample book of typefaces on your computer that you can refer to.

Typeface Sample Book

My typeface sample book can be seen the in the PDF link below:

Typeface Sample Book

I have a lot of typefaces stored on my PC – some are propriety typefaces that shipped with Microsoft and Adobe software and others are typefaces I have installed from sources such as Google Fonts.

I decided to limit my sample book to typefaces that I have used recently in website designs that I have been worked on as part of my day job, and the typefaces that I chose to use as part of this exercise.

I typically use Google Fonts in my websites as these typefaces are good quality, free to use and can be embedded into the website code.

Mock Ups

Now identify which fonts you might use in each of the following commissions. Then have a go at mocking up each of these. Try different fonts to see how each changes
the feel of the text and make notes in your learning log about which works best and why:

• A short story in a woman’s magazine entitled “I thought I loved him; now I’m not so sure”. 

Version 1

Main Heading: Perpetua Regular 48pt

Highlights: Perpetua Italic 21pt

Body Text: Perpetua Regular 12pt

Womens_Magazine_Mock_Up V1

In this version I used a single serif typeface – Perpetua with the main heading and body text in Regular and the highlights in Italics. The 12pt serif font looks quite small when printed but is still legible, which will be useful for a quite a long story in a magazine.

Version 2

Main Heading: Pristina Regular 48pt

Highlights: Josefin Sans Light 18pt

Body Text: Josefin Sans Light 12pt

Womens_Magazine_Mock_Up V2

In this version I used a Script typeface for the Main Heading and a sans-serif font for the Hightlights and Body Text. I think the Pristina script typeface works well for the ‘spoken words’ of the heading. The style of the font is also quite feminine, which suits the female voice. The Josefin Sans is delicate and modern, which would also work well in a woman’s magazine.

Version 3

Main Heading: Candara Regular 48pt

Highlights: Candara Italic 18pt

Body Text: Lato Light 12pt

Womens_Magazine_Mock_Up V3

In this version, I wanted to use a sans serif font throughout. I used Candara Regular for the heading and Candara Italic for the highlight. However, Candara Regular looked too heavy for the small body text font and there was not a Light version of Candara available, so instead I used Lato Light for the body text. I had chosen the Candara typeface for the heading because it has a slightly informal feel of handwriting which I thought worked well for the ‘voice’ of the title. However, in retrospect, I think the Candara typeface has almost has a child-like quality – it reminds me of the very careful writing you might get in a child’s early-reading book, and I feel it might trivialise what might be a serious story.


• An advertisement in a parish magazine asking for more helpers on the flower

Version 1

Main Heading (Question): Hind Medium 18pt

Body Text: Hind Light  12pt

Email Address: Hind Bold 12pt

This advert is quite small, so I have used a simple, ‘clean’ sans serif typeface throughout. Bold font makes the key text stand out.

Version 2

Main Heading (Question): Cinzel Regular 18pt

Body Text: Lato Light  12pt

Email Address: Lato Light 12pt

Here, I have used a modern, decorative, quite feminine serif, all caps font for the question, with the intention of catching the reader’s eye. The rest of the text is in a lightweight sans serif font for a feminine and modern feel.

Version 3

Main Heading (Question): Cambria Bold 18pt

Body Text: Cambria Regular  12pt

Email Address: Cambria Bold 12pt

Here I have used a more ‘classic’ serif font throughout for a decorative and slightly more traditional feel. The larger font and bold typeface of the question is intended to make the key question stand out.


• A poster to advertise an after-school club for boys aged 13 – 14. 

Version 1

Main Heading (Questions) & Bottom Line: Black Ops One  Regular 110 & 48pt

Body Text: Archivo Black Regular  36pt

Here, the key text is in a heavy weight, masculine, military style stencil font. The rest of the text is in a smaller more readable heavy weight sans serif font.

Version 2

Main Heading (Questions) & Bottom Line: Permenant Marker Regular 125, 60 & 48pt

Body Text: Hind Bold  36pt

Here, the key text is in a heavy weight, handwriting style, marker font, intended to look a little like graffiti and quite informal. Again, thehe rest of the text is in a smaller more readable heavy weight sans serif font.

Version 3

Main Heading (Questions) & Bottom Line: Special Elite Regular 125, 60pt

Body Text: Special Elite Regular  36pt

Here the text is in a masculine, machine-style font.

• Your friends’ engagement party. 

Version 1

Agency FB Bold and Regular in different sizes.

Because the flier is quite small with quite a lot of writing, I have used a single typeface in different weights and sizes to avoid the flier looking cluttered.

Version 2

Iceland Regular in different sizes.

My flier has an outer-space feel and I think this machine-like font works particularly well for this look. It reminds me of ‘Star Trek’!!

Version 3

Cherry Swash Bold and Regular in different sizes.

In this version, I tried with a more decorative font. I think this works because the slab serifs give the font a ‘machine’ feel which fits well with the outer-space theme of the flier but the decorative curls are quite fun.

Thoughts on this exercise

At first, I was quite dismayed when I saw that I had to create my own typeface sample book – I have a lot of typefaces already installed on my PC and I though it wasn’t going to be a very useful exercise to copy them into book. However, having done it, I think there are a number of benefits in doing this:

  • The sheer number of typefaces that exist can make choosing them overwhelming. Collating my favourites into a sample book keeps them together in a way that I can easily reference them. For me it was also useful to add notes about where I had used them with or what other typefaces I had paired them with.


  • It is difficult to see in Photoshop, for example, what the typeface actually looks like, until you type something. The sample book presents extracts of sample text so I can instantly see what written text will look like in different cases and font sizes.


  • The sample book also makes it more obvious which font styles are available (Regular, italic etc.). More than once I chose a typeface and only afterwards realised there was no italic or bold version.

for the mock ups, I also made some interesting discoveries:

  • When using different typefaces, matching font weight was as important as matching styles. A light weight title typically needed a light weight body font in order to look balanced.


  • It is difficult to gauge what a document will look like, and whether the font is the right choice, and is legible, until it the document printed at its actual size.  I found the A3 poster quite difficult in this respect as it is difficult to get a sense for how the poster will look when working on a relatively small PC screen.


  • I was really conflicted when doing these mock ups, between wanting to create something a little more unique and original and wanting to use more obvious ‘visual messages’ that the viewer will understand. I felt I ended up using cliched images for these documents (teenager with a hoodie for the club poster, silhouette of dancing crowd for the party flier).  I am torn between wanting to produce something that the viewer will instantly ‘get’ and something a bit more original.

Part 4 – Exercise 2: A Typographic Jigsaw Puzzle

The typeface Baskerville has been deconstructed so it only contains the strokes, serifs and bowls that are common to all the letterforms. Your task is to try and put it all back together again to read the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

  • The yellow letters are where I have duplicated an element of the typeface.

Thoughts on This Exercise

Having spent some time looking closely at typefaces, has your appreciation of them
increased? If so in any particular aspect? Do you think that understanding more about
how typefaces are constructed will be useful to you in future?

Having looked much closer at typefaces, I now realise how many small and subtle features of a typeface combine together to give it its overall look. Typefaces are certainly more complex than I thought! Typically, I would read text quickly and/or the text is quite small, so the small design elements of a typeface are barely noticed. Now I am more likely to notice the style of terminals on a serif font, the degree of contrast between thick and thin strokes, the angle of stress or distinguishing features such as a tail of a ‘Q’ or ‘R’.  I can now better see the subtle design elements of a given typeface.

I do think that being able to recognise how typefaces are constructed will be useful. In my work building websites, I sometimes have to try to identity a typeface from an existing logo or printed marketing document, in order to match the font on the website – or if I can’t match it exactly, to find a typeface that is similar. Understanding the nuances of how a font is constructed will certainly help with that.