Reimagining Design Histories – Research

The major project brief that I have been set is to design a poster to celebrate a specific period of modern graphic design history. I was given the movement/period of Art Deco which I had a brief understanding about having come from Art and Design A level courses.

I started my research in the library using Met search to find books that could potentially  give me an insight into what Art Deco what influenced by, where it began, forms, shapes and just more in general about the movement. From this research I learnt that the movement began in Paris, France but is often mistaken for only existing in the 1920s and 1930s. However, the movement was actually an evolving style which doesn’t really have  certain decades which it is related to. Typically the 1920s through to the 1940s is when the movement occurred with it ending just before the second world war. I also used online e-books to support my research where I found that some of the influences of the Art Deco where cubism, constructivism and futurism. It was an art movement that didn’t just affect graphic design but all areas of the creativity from architecture to film to fashion. It was a era of art that majority of disciplines followed and agree with.

I then came across A. M. Cassandre who was a painter, typographer and theatre designer but was the leading protagonist during the period. His work was rigorous filled with geometric shapes which was a major contrast from earlier movements. Cassandre appears to be the ultimate communicator within this era of design. He believed that by eliminating floral detail would sharpen the message that you were trying to communicate, this is evidently practiced throughout his work.  The style of Cassandre’s posters varied from simplistic and minimalist through to using visual puns. This often depended on what Cassandre had been commissioned to do. The images that Cassandre used often had a cubism element to them which highlights how cubism had a influence over the movement.

As the movement was one of the first to be mass produced and is considered to be based around the idea of commercialisation, the typography of posters was key to many designs. Often the type was set in all capitals to make it bold and draw attention to the viewer. In the typefaces there is a clear distinction between thick and thin strokes to create a fun and playful effect while still be based on geometric shapes. Cassandre created the typeface Bifur which was one typeface that used vertical lines as decorative feature, this was another distinctive aspect that set Art Deco typefaces apart. Other typefaces created and used during the movement included; Acier Noir, Peigont and Broadway.


As part of my research I decided to look at poster designs during the period using the various source online I began to sketch layouts that designers used. I also used the book ‘ The Art Deco Poster’  by Williams W. Crouse which contains an array of posters from the movement. I chose a select few to photograph then deconstruct in my sketchbook. I found that the images used were often illustrative and more often than not they used geometric shapes to create them. Angles were often very prominent within designs including the way that text was set. Colour also played a significant part in the design however, most commonly blues, reds, black and white appear to be favourite during the period the time. Occasionally there were brighter colours, yellows and oranges, but mainly the colour are quite flat. Other than A.M Cassandre another designer I found was Jean Carlu who like others new how to make a masterpiece out of everyday objects which appears to be important to some advertisements. From deconstructing my poster research I learnt that the layouts often had the hierarchy set to either the bold heading or the illustrative image.


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As another stem for my research I worked with others who were also doing Art Deco to brainstorm ideas about the typography, images and concepts of the movement. This allowed us to share ideas about the movement but also the opportunity to consolidate my knowledge of the movement. I learnt that the idea that it was based around the purpose of commercialisation was a concept we all had thought about and that it was highly likely to be the basis for our poster designs.

From this research I have managed to gain a greater insight into the period of time, as the brief states to ‘reimagine’ I will have to regenerate ideas that place a modern twist to the movement while still highlighting the essence of the art era. I will use my research as basis for my idea and will start to develop my own images.

Wolf, P. (n.d.). Graphic Design, Translated : A Visual Directory of Terms for Global Design. [ebook] Quayside Publishing Group, p.20. Available at: [Accessed 5 Oct. 2018].
Duncan, A. (1988) Art Deco. Thames and Hudson INC. pp. 7 -10
Heller, S. Fili, L. (1997). French Modern Art Deco graphic design. Chronicle Books.
Heller, S. Fili, L. (2005) Euro Deco. Thames and Hudson
Chantry, A. (2015), Art Chantry Speaks : A Heretic’s History of 20th Century Graphic Design, Feral House, Los Angeles. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [6 October 2018].
Penney, M. (2018). Type History: Cassandre’s Art Deco Type – Notes on Design. [online] Sessions College. Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2018].
99designs. (2018). Art Deco: A strong, striking style for graphic design – Designer Blog. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2018]. (2018). Art Deco Graphic Design: A Classic Trend | Design Shack. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2018].
Crouse, W. Duncan, A. (2013) The Art Deco Poster. Thames and Hudson.
Heller, S. Vienne, V. (2012) 100 ideas that changed Graphic Design. Laurence King Publishing. pg 15.


Six Word Story Critique & InDesign Workshop

I had my first critique session on the one week six word story project which was a very interesting session for me as I found the project quite difficult to do and was keen to gain feedback. From looking at my peers work it was clear to me that I could have been more experimental in my layout and use of type. Currently as a designer I think I have a very refined style, I like clean and crisp layouts with elements of simplicity in the design. I think this is where I didn’t quite meet the brief as I needed to be more outgoing and adventurous with my hybrid types.

From my feedback I understand that elements of my design didn’t work in the way in which I intended them to. For example, the word ‘giant’ did have a clear hierarchy but due to being set in only san-serif meant that it detracted from the rest of the words especially those that used hybrids. In hindsight I should have used a mixture of san-serif and serif hybrids to create this word as it would have had a more powerful impact on the page. Also, if I was to complete this task again I would be more playful with my words especially the words ‘hopes’ and ‘dreams’ because they are essentially capture the essence of the story and need to be more imaginative. I attempted to create this effect within my work however it was clear from this session that I needed to be more bold in my experimentation and not be afraid to break the design style I already have.

I found the session overall very helpful as it showed me that I really need to push my creative out the boundaries and experiment more in my development stages. I know what works better now and what doesn’t work well within this type of brief. This will hopefully help me develop my design skill and help me to improve on my next brief that I complete.

After the critique session I took part in an introduction to Indesign where I learnt how to correctly set up a document ready for a poster project (linking to my overarching project). This workshop gave me useful tips for how to use Indesign best. I have previously used indesign to produce a editorial magazine however, I didn’t know how to set up a grid system which is vitally important to the layout of my work.

I found the tutorial very useful as it showed me how to correctly import photoshop files and to check they are correct for printing (300 ppi and using CMYK). Also, I wasn’t aware of how to correctly package a file ready for printing but I feel that after this workshop I could do this correctly. In the session we were given an image, text and logo to design a poster with. I found the task useful as I was able to get an idea of how to use the grid system to create a simple yet effective layout. During the workshop I learnt that the bleed of a print document is usually 3mm and the bleed extends beyond the edge of the page to ensure that there aren’t any unprinted edges.


Six Word Story Project – Process & Development

After our hybography and adobe illustrator workshops we were set a one week project to create an A3 black and white poster which contain six words to capture the essence of a story written by one of the following authors; Roald Dahl, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charle Dicken or Harper Lee.

I decided to choose a book written by Roald Dahl because these were the books that I grew up reading but as an author he is also known for his playful and creative plots which I thought would allow me more room to be expressive with the typography. Also, I thought that I would have the ability to be more playful with each word, to create more hybrids.

To start off the process I thought that I would begin by researching several of his books to gain an essence and understanding of underlying plot lines and characters. I did this in a form of a mind map as I was able to see visual the research I had collected. After looking at all the potential books I could do, I decided that I would do James and the Giant Peach as this was a book I grew up reading but also I found that it was one of the most playful books in terms of language. I went on to produce a smaller mind map with six word sentences ideas to capture the book.


After this initial research and development of ideas I decided to move forward with the phrase “hopes, dreams and a giant peach’ which I did through developing sketches of potential layouts and how I could express the message that I am trying to convey. Through doing this the main word I decided to experiment with is ‘giant’ because I feel that I have the opportunity to make this word centre of the poster and show it’s ‘giant’ presence on the page.  In all of my ideas I had the word ‘giant’ huge on the page overshadowing the other words on the poster.

As part of the brief was to use hybrids which I experimented with through cutting up typeface to see which would work best for the poster. I wanted the words to be playful and move from thin to thick, almost like the peach in the novel did overnight. Therefore moving from a serif typeface to a san -serif typeface. I then moved into illustrator where I began to create variations of the poster. This was the useful process for me personally as I was able to see which one worked well and which doesn’t look correct together.

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By looking at the posters I found that I preferred it with the black on white type as the novel is quite light in terms of reading apart from the dark part at the beginning where he is orphaned but I didn’t think that this required a completely dark background. I feel that throughout my experimentation I still preferred the simplicity of one of my earlier designs, when I had a combination of hybrids I felt that it was too busy and distracted the eye. Therefore I felt that it was best to finalise with the poster below. I think that it’s simple but also conveys the word ‘giant’ really well but also uses a combination of hybrids throughout which is what the brief required.

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Letterpress Introduction

Letterpress printing is a massive part of the development of how designer created their work in order to communicate with the audience. Letterpress is a craft that dominated the print industry for years until technology development which meant that letterpress printing is now a unique craft practiced by few.

We were given the task of creating a small A5 piece that responded to the given type/printing foundry using a work to describe their approach to type design. The group I was in looked at Dalton Maag. I completed some research on Dalton Maag and presented this within my sketchbook. Being an international type foundry I found their work really interesting to read about as well as visual looking at some of their work. Through my research I found that they developed one of the first typefaces that could be used across a variety of languages such as Arabic and Chinese. This was part of their rebranding of Nokia and the fact that they created a typeface that could work global was an inspiration to me.

In order to get my ideas around the word I should use within my piece I decided to mind map all my potential key words to describe their approach. I then circled the words which I thought could be utilised. However, in the end due to the inspiration around the Nokia typeface I decided to go with the word ‘cultural’ because of their thought to make the typeface accessible to many culture and languages.


During the workshop I was shown how to set my type and how to print using the press. I found the process very fascinating as I hadn’t done anything like this previously. It taught me how much time printers used to spend setting type before digital technology evolved which is something I think people don’t think about. I’d like to include letterpress more within my future practice because I feel that there is a lot that could be done when combining both digital and traditional methods of working.


Firstly I used the typeface 48pt PLAYBILL U & L as this was the first one out, I took time to ensure that all the letters were facing the correct way in order to print correctly. I learnt that the groves on each character need to line up to ensure that they would print correctly. To lock it into the frame I used various bits of furniture to ensure that it wouldn’t move and would print. I then placed the frame into the press, made sure that the ink was on the roller and printed. I thought the outcome was interesting because of the embossing style that the print had compared to digital printing. I completed various prints using this frame.

I also experimented with over laying two colours to create a different effect. I decided to do this as in one image that I had seen Dalton Maag produce had characters overlaid in different coloured inks which I took as inspiration. I used tracing paper to print onto first then place my original print behind the print on the trancing paper then used masking tape to secure it to the bed. Next removed the tracing paper to print again on the paper this time.

I then decided to experiment with a different typeface, after looking through many different ones I decided to use 38pt Graphigue which was extremely different from the typeface I had originally used. Using this typeface again using the word ‘cultural’ to related to Dalton Maag, I experimented with rotating the paper so that the text was running in various directions.


I found that by rotating the paper gave me this really abstract placement of text which I think is unusual and contemporary for using the letterpress. This was my final outcome (above) that I produced. I feel that the word does express the type foundries approach while being inspired by a piece of their work to create this approach. I chose this typeface to use in my final outcome as I thought that it gave more tone and texture to the print. I think that I have completed the task as throughout my research the idea of culture and being inclusive to all through their typeface design was clear and the phrase ‘cultural’ sums this up nicely.

I throughly enjoyed my letterpress workshop and feel that it’s something I would like to learn more about and include in my own practice. I would like to potentially experiment with create long pieces of type rather than just single words.

References (2018). Dalton Maag | Nokia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018]. 
Etherington, R. (2018). Nokia Pure font by Dalton Maag | Dezeen. [online] Dezeen. Available at: [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Harris, M. (2018). Dalton Maag on designing custom typefaces for brands like Netflix, the BBC and Nokia. [online] Digital Arts. Available at: [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018]. (2018). MyFonts: Creative Characters interview with Bruno Maag, Dalton Maag, September 2012. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].

Layout, Hierarchy & The Gird Workshop

Learning about the fundamentals of graphic design requires me to learn and understand the basic terms and design principles with design. Three of these are layout, hierarchy and grid which I had an introduction to within my lecture. Before this lecture/workshop I had a basic understanding of these principles however, I now feel that I have a greater knowledge and understanding surrounding these fundamentals.

As part of the workshop we had to sketch layouts that we found within design magazines  and decided what gird system they used. I found it useful looking through the design magazines such as the eye and creative review because it allowed me the opportunity to see which layout worked best but also allowed me to see how an editorial magazines use a variety of layouts.

Through sketching these layouts I found that I was instantly looking at certain features or ‘piece of design furniture ‘ first when looking at the spreads. I found that my eye was drawn to images or larger type on the page which is clear evidence of hierarchy working at it’s best. However, within this task I did struggle at point with working out which grid system the designer could be using. Sometimes it was easier to define the grid system because there was clear evidence that type was set in certain columns but others there was evidence of more complex grid systems being used which cause me confusion. Nonetheless I understand how to use a grid system and how vital it is to ensure that a design is balanced. Before the session I thought that a grid could sometimes be restrictive but after the session I now am able to understand and see how using a grid isn’t constricting but ensure that work is still balanced but also creative and contemporary.

The second task was to use newspapers and magazines to create different layouts using a minimum of three elements and a maximum of five. This was a useful task for myself as I find it easier to visualise ideas when I’m physically creating the idea, as it gives me to freedom to move elements around and adapt the design as I see fit. We had to create either a asymmetrical landscape/portrait or/and symmetrical landscape/portrait.

I created one asymmetrical portrait and two asymmetrical landscape layouts. I wanted to experiment with learning more about creating balance within my layouts and I felt I achieved this by create three asymmetrical layouts. I used various elements within each design to create layouts. Before I committed to certain layouts I decided to photography and move elements around then revisit the images to decided which layout I felt worked best.

Personally I felt that the asymmetrical portrait layout worked the best for me as I think the balance is more equal and the path of the eye is easier to see than my two other designs. However, there is elements of each design that I would adapt to improve them. I sketched these ideas out in my sketchbook after discussing them with my peers. I felt that I could have taken inspiration from the design magazines and experimented with more contemporary styles.


We then had a critique session with David and the group which I found was interesting as it gave me the opportunity to see what my peers had created but also too see which layouts worked well and I was able to self critique my work to see what I could do better and improve if I was to do this task again.


Designer Research Task

During the research task, I learnt about a new designer who I hadn’t heard about before called Morag Myerscough, who is a London based designer with a degree in graphic design but likes to work cross-discipline. Prior to learning about Myerscough’s work I took part in learning about different research methods. This was useful to me as I was unclear about how I would be able to research in the library but also I wasn’t aware of any systems in place to help find books or e-journals.

Within the research task I was only able to use the internet as a source for my information, however this provided me with 165,000 results which meant there were loads of source but not all relevant to our research. I used the advanced search tool to help narrow the results down however I was still greeted with a large amount of resources. I have learnt that it’s important to consider the authority of the source alongside the reliability. I used a range of source within my group including design based blogs and online magazines.

I found that through my research on Myerscough that she comes from a creative and performance based family with her grandparents previously being part of the circus. Which I thought could be a reason why her work is so rich in vibrant colours possibly to reflect her family’s industry. Her work is mainly crossed between both architecture and graphic design as she has worked on multiple projects such as Sheffeild Children’s Hospital, London 2012 Olympic cafe and festival installations. I found her work very inspiring as it shows how creative type and colour can get when used cross – discipline. It also inspired me to think more about using geometric shapes and bold colour within my own work if the brief given allows me the opportunity to do so.




All her projects are energetic and bold but I couldn’t decide on which one of her projects inspired me the most. I particularly felt inspired by the Sheffield Children’s hospital project because I felt that her bright work had a certain purpose which was to make the space more welcoming for those who entered it. As often children do not like going into the hospital wards however, with the vibrant colours of Myerscough’s work it will help make the space more cheerful and playful.

Another aspect of why I liked Myerscoughs work the most was because of her desire to ensure that her brief is carefully examined to ensure that it suit the user rather than her work just meet her self satisfaction. This is something that I feel is vital to my own practice as designer we must allow think about who were are designing for and how best to communicate to them.

Reference List

designboom | architecture & design magazine. (2018). morag myerscough interview. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2018].
Bourton, L. (2017). Morag Myerscough redesigns Sheffield Children’s Hospital bedrooms with geometric interior patterns. [Blog] It’s Nice That. Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2018]. (2018). Eye Magazine | Feature | In the thick of it. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2018].
Frearson, A. (2018). MVMNT Cafe by Morag Myerscough. [online] Dezeen. Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2018]. (2018). The Movement Cafe | AJ Buildings Library. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2018]
Tucker, E. (2018). Morag Myerscough designs colourful interiors for London arts centre. [online] Dezeen. Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2018].
Wikimedia Commons (2017). Super Hot Structure by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan [image]. Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2018]

Hybography & Illustrator Workshop

During my first workshop this morning I learnt about the idea of ‘Hybography’. This is when to typefaces are joined together to create a hybrid typeface. I was given a san-serif and a serif font, both upper and lower case, which I needed to use in order to create a typographic hybrid.

This was an interesting workshop as it’s not as easy as it might appear. It gave me a greater appreciation of typefaces and how they can be used to create a certain tone to a word. As the main task of the workshop I was given a word which I then had to set in order to give to convey the meaning of the word. The word that I was given was ‘prideful’ which I decided to research into more before I started putting pen to paper.


I decided to go with the approach that ‘prideful’ meant to overbearing, high importance or superiority. I started off making the small sketches of ideas that could work to present the type. These included having the word in the centre of the box in order to show its superiority and high importance (centre of attention). The synonym ‘overbearing’ gave me the idea to include the serifs off certain characters to create an overlap of some letters. I experimented with cutting out and physically putting the two typeface together to create a hybrid. This allowed me to see if my outcome would work.



I took various elements from different letterforms from the serif font in order to add them to the san-serif typeface which I felt worked best as it was striking and large.I then went on to hand draw the hybrid typeface because I felt that this would give me the best outcome. This was a really useful workshop because it gave me that chance to get a greater understanding of the impact typefaces have and how they can be used on certain words to create a sense of the meaning of the word.

The second work shop that I participated in was about using the basics of Adobe Illustrator. This mainly focused on using the pen tool and text tool while also looking at how to use different brush strokes. We were given the task of drawing a rocket using the pen tool. This was a difficult task for me as I hadn’t had much experience of using the pen tool prior to this, but eventually I was able to create a vector that was similar to what a rocket could look like. This was a really interesting as I learnt how to merge shapes together use the reflect tool but also how to access different brush strokes to create more artistic style to the vector.

We also were able to explore how to use and manipulate text within Illustrator which will be useful to me in the project that I have been set. I learnt how to make the type vector shapes which enabled to me manipulate the characters and change their appearance. I also experimented with colours and different brush strokes.

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 15.39.29

I think that these two workshop have helped my understand the importance of typography and capabilities that are possible to create outstanding forms of typography. I will be using these techniques and style of working to help me with future project involving both typography and illustrator

Cardiff Type Hunt

As part of our “type and image’ module we were given the task of the finding different typographical terms including: Old Face, Transitional, Humanist, Script, Roman, Italic, Majuscule, Miniscule, Geometric, Condensed, Ligature, Gothic, Slab serif, Clarendon, Triangular serif, Bifurcated serif, Trifurcated serif, Vestigial, Fat face, Nesting, Superior Letters and Versals Lombardic. I presented my research and findings in my sketchbook.


On Tuesday morning (25/09/18) we went into Cardiff city centre to participate in a type hunt. Working in small groups of four we were given a list of four different typefaces which we had to find and record through photographs. My group were looking for Condensed, Gothic, Ligature and Geometric.


The image above is an example of a condensed typeface which has been used, you are able to tell this as the characters are taller than they are wide and they are close together which are all characteristics of the typeface. This typeface was an interesting one to find because we noticed that it was intriguingly common around the centre of Cardiff.

Next was Geometric which again seemed to be a commonly used typeface across Cardiff. These are easily recognisable due to being based on perfect circles and triangles, alongside having even strokes throughout the letterforms. I particularly found this typeface recognisable due to the shape of the ‘o’ which is practically a perfect circle.


Ligature was a difficult one to find around the city centre and we were able toe find one example of it on a jewellers. This is a particularly special character as it combines two characters together into a single character.

Gothic was our final typeface to find, which proved to be particularly difficult to find. There was initial confusion regarding what gothic was as some thought it was blackletter and others thought it was related to sans serif fonts. This doesn’t appear to be visible throughout Cardiff.

During the afternoon we used our recorded photographs to produce an outcome as a year group. We took letterforms from our research, we drew them and cut them out accurately which we then stuck to the wall. This created an aesthetically pleasing piece on the wall outside the entrance to the Graphic Communication studio.

One letter form that I decided to create was a ligature which I thought was one of the most interesting typeface I had come across during my type hunt. It was a difficult letterform to draw as it is technically to characters but I managed to draw and cut out the letterform out.

Before starting this project David told us that it would change the way that we see type forever, which is already has. Whenever I see a sign or packaging anything with typography on I am analysing it and working out which typeface it is and if it’s appropriate for it’s use. This small project definitely has helped to understand the basics of typography better but also highlighted to me the impact that a certain typeface might have on a way a sign or poster is read.

An Introduction to Typography

This week we started our first module called “Type and Image”  which we will be looking at over the next five weeks. This begun first thing on Monday morning with a lecture called ‘An Introduction to Type’ which gave an insight into the basics about typography and how its a fundamental principle to the discipline of Graphic Communication.

I was then give two workshops to participate in related to the elements I had just learnt during the lecture. The first work shop involved me taking either a serif or sans serif font and tracing it to write out my first name and surname. I used a serif font which was harder than I initially thought, but I liked the challenge. In my first attempt of writing my name I found that I had placed the characters to close together, meaning the kerning was incorrect. In my surname I found that the first part of my name was correct and looked right. Where as the last part, in particular the ‘a’ was incorrect as it wasn’t sitting correctly on the base line. On my second attempt I found that I had a better understanding of where the letters needed to sit together in terms of the base line, x – height and kerning.


The second workshop I completed was a kerning and tracking exercise, I was give two words with incorrect tracking and kerning which I had to make right. To do this I had to cut around each letter individually then glue them onto the baseline with the correct kerning. This task was particularly difficult to do as I had to do it optically, eventually I found that through squinting I was able to see if the kerning was accurate. Reflecting back on this, I found that the kerning was mostly accurate however, there was a double space in the word composition.


I found that this was an extremely useful workshop and lecture for me as coming from a photography and art based background I’m keen to learn more about typography and how it’s one of the fundamental principle underpinning the discipline of Graphic Communication. I think this will help when I am trying to ensure I have the correct kerning, tracking and leading when working digitally.


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