Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Here's an example. Though I've only seen one episode, the logo for Bryan Brown's 'Two Twisted' series on channel 9 really caught my eye. It's sensational:
With a teaching weekend on "The Seven Deadly Sins" coming up, I figured that the topic had suitable 'dark edge' for a similar treatment. I experimented with a bit of amateur calligraphy of my own before settling on the font LMS Bloody Brujah on www.dafont.com. I added a few swishes and swirls, and ended up with something that I thought was sufficiently evil looking... so much so that I had to lighten the effect with a few "Seven Deadly Sins" Ice Creams from Streets. Comments and suggestions welcome:
David Whitbread puts it this way: "One way to ease the resulting angst is to limit the number of implied lines and shapes by using the same ones many times, instead of creating new ones at each introduction of a new element. This strengthens the layout. The secret formula to succesful laout... is to limit the number of vertical and horizontal divisions of the space. Let the same line do a few jobs. It could be:
* the edge of the title block
* the border of a picture
* the centre of a logo at the bottom of a page.
Aligning elements effectively groups them together, and creates a single entity in your design. You'll need to be aware of how these visually grouped elements work with the other parts of your design in terms of balance and contrast.
In our makeover example, notice how many different "lines" there are on the page. How could you reduce them?
Try setting up a similar document in your own design software; start with mutliple fonts, and try to reduce it to a maximum of two contrasting faces.
"The secret of successful combination of typefaces seems to be the ability to maintain several contrasts between them. Look for at least two contrasts when selecting your 'worker' and 'special' faces. The stronger the contrast, the more effective the combination will be. You can contrast:
* their form: serif (like Times, with little tags on the stems), sans serif (like Arial, without tags), script or decorative
* their weight
* their scale
* their spacing (wide or narrow)
* their slant (Roman or italic)
* their shape (condensed or normal)
* their case (upper or lower)
Whatever you do, avoid using two different sans serif fonts on a page. For example, don't use both Eras and Arial - they look similar, but the small differences clash disasterously.
At MPC, it was time to supplement our "house style" with a contrasting "special" font. I found "Baby Bowser" at www.dafont.com ... and I think it works superbly with the Bell Gothic family. Leave your comments and tell me what you think.
How? It's simple. Get rid of multiple fonts! Yeah, I know - fonts are fun. I love 'em. But the trick to professionalising your look is to limit your typeface selection to a maximum of two carefully selected fonts. Look around. Phone companies like Telstra and '3'have easily identifiable corporate fonts that appear in every ad. In some cases, the typeface is specially commisioned and designed. To change a corporate typestyle is no small decision - once a 'house style' is defined, it's applied rigorously.
At Mitchelton Presbyterian Church, we used the Eras font family for a number of years. It's great, because it comes in a number of different weights, from Eras Light right through the range to Eras Black and Eras Ultra. We used Eras medium for body text, and picked out strong contrasts with Eras Ultra, or at times, with large headings in Eras Light.
After a few years, it was time for a makeover. Eras was starting to look a bit stodgy and dated. Again, the goal was to find a typeface that contained a broad family of different weights - not so easy if you're on a limited font budget. We settled on the Bell Gothic family. With clean modern lines, it looked fresh, and there's a nice contrast between the medium and black versions.
While - to be honest - I didn't like the Bell Gothic lettershapes as much as Eras, our publications had a clean, fresh look. We used Bell Gothic on our bulletin, Bell Gothic on our newsletters, Bell Gothic on our mail, Bell Gothic on our study guides... it was everywhere.
There's one more step in the process; but that's another story.
The second book worth checking out is a bit more substantial. Written by Australian David Whitbread, "The Design Manual" (UNSW PRESS) is a huge and very thorough manual written in an easily accessible style, and loaded with examples.