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Space Opera Book Series - Sanda Zahirovic:

Producing book covers is an art form. To capture someone’s attention for a split second longer than the rest of the books on the bookshelf is the difference between your book being bought - or not. With this thinking, it is easy to see why Sanda Zahirovic’s Space Opera book covers are immediately excellent.

A crisp, black design runs across all ten of these books, which allows the high-contrast photography to become even more emotive and striking. Bold typography is a theme throughout, however, it is used in a way that compliments the dark shadows created by the objects featured and is never used in the same way twice. It becomes apparent that Zahirovic has carefully considered the effectiveness of each independent cover whilst keeping in mind the togetherness that the finished series needs to have.

A very successful and meticulous collection of design work that is immediately striking with shout-out shelf appeal. To see more of Sanda’s great work, head over to her website here.

6

The Conspiracy Magazine - Morten Nordsveen

A beautiful, graphical representation of modern conspiracy targeted towards the USA Government. As if the conceptual layout design and brilliant use of typography weren’t enough, Nordsveen has included the use of glow-in-the-dark acrylic phosphor paint that has been silk-screened onto certain pages, thus revealing a hidden layer of the book that is unseen to the naked eye.

Without knowing too many details about the book’s content, even at first glance it is clear that this book sets out to debunk some kind of government classified information. Conceptual layouts and a black and white colour palette get this theme across well, but this is heightened by the large letterforms and numbers, punchy fact files and the inclusion of type that has been crossed out as if they were censored.

To see this project more in depth, click here. To see more of Nordsveen’s work, click here.

4

Capslock Media - B21 Branding Studio:

This educational app developer describe themselves as ‘funky’, 'colourful’ and 'vibrant’, and Brazilian graphic designers B21 rebranded them within this criteria. Their inspiration and visual reference was a combination of pixel art, arcade games and Tetris, which eventually came together to make this fun and outgoing brand.

The colours that they have chosen are acidic combinations of pink, green, purple and cyan, which allows their pixel art logo to really jump off of the page. B21 have created an exciting brand, and a logo that can be transferred through its colours to a wide range of media. This wholly compliments its target audience, client, and visual backgrounds of the brand.

To see more brands like this, designed by B21 Branding Studio, click here.

9

The Great Expectations Redesign of 2012 - Lucienne Roberts:

When seventy graphic designers from across the World were asked by Lucienne Roberts to redesign the front page of Charles Dickens ‘Great Expectations’, it was a surprise that anyone agreed to do it! In the end however, the results were truly fantastic, as her books shows.

The brief for each designer was to completely reimagine the world-famous opening to Dickens’ classic title in their own unique way. The results were a combination of tabloid newspapers, abstract typography, beautifully considered openings, and QR codes.

My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Wonderfully well considered and exciting typographic design that allows these world class designers show us how they made a name for themselves.

7

The TAKKT Annual Sustainability Report 2012:

TAKKT are a Stuttgart-based business equipment specialist that know how to design their reports. The words ‘Annual Sustainability Report’ aren’t often used alongside the word 'exciting’, however, it seems that TAKKT have well and truly broken this trend.

Informative, sophisticated and typographically considered documents are published annually by TAKKT, but their Sustainability Report of 2012 is by far, in my opinion, their most striking to date. A mixture of cardboard and recycled paper really doesn’t let you forget the purpose of this document, sustainability, and the airmail signs and symbols throughout are a great graphic reminder. Some of the striking orange paper throughout is cut with different dimensions to the rest of the book relaying the belief that those off-cuts were taken off of a printer, which again shouts sustainability. Of course they probably weren’t, as the document was most likely produced at a printers, however it is a simple mechanism that TAKKT have used that really helps the viewer understand the purpose of the document.

Their layouts are striking throughout, using bold and sometimes unstructured text boxes to house their information. They are wonderfully considered pieces of work that contain information that is not always instantly engaging, but they are delivered in a way that keeps true to the purpose of the document.

6

End of Year Show Proposal - Chroma:

A recent project had me teaming up with designers Matt Wright and Oliver Purssey. Our brief was to create an identity for our BA Visual Communication end of year show; initially we considered Jigsaw with the thought that everyone was a piece in a larger picture. However, as we presented we found that people thought that the idea was too obvious, and the puzzle imagery wasn’t as strong as we had first thought.

Over the past few weeks, we developed a new identity with a similar premise. Visual Communication is a combination of Graphic Design and Illustration, and all the students lie somewhere within that spectrum. Chroma (coming from the word Chromatic, ‘produced by colour’) encompassed this idea, every student was represented by their own shade of colour, which was part of a bigger spectrum. The Chroma pattern consists of 5 different colours, and could be altered for each student and/or their work.

The pamphlets would be free for every visitor on the day, and could be printed in a series of colours (unassigned to students). Catalogues could be purchasable on the day (this would help fundraise and pay for the printing costs) and would hold every students work. Every student would get a double page spread that would hold roughly 12 images and 3 pieces of their work; in the middle of these pages would be a smaller double page spread that would hold information on their projects and their personal details - should a visitor or potential employer wish to contact them at a later date.

4

Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary - Dorling Kindersley:

As far as scientific documents go, few rarely are able to pack more information in than a Dorling Kindersley visual dictionary, the Lego Star Wars edition published in 2009 is no different.

A strong combination of descriptions and information, annotations, and strong images that dominate the pages and clearly relate to their respective titles. A nice touch that is added throughout the book is the use of ‘Data Files’ and 'Brick Facts’. These cordoned-off pieces of information give nuggets of easily digestible knowledge for the reader, they also are a good mechanism for the prose across the page to be broken up, thus making the page less intimidating to read.

For more on the Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary, and where to buy it, click here.

5

The Marvel Encyclopedia (Updated And Expanded):

I recently undertook the ISTD competition brief ‘Everything About One Thing’. As initial research I started to look at resources that were available to me that document everything about a certain subject, how they do so, and the benefits and purpose of doing so.

The Marvel Encyclopedia, published in 2009 by Dorling Kindersley, offers a definitive guide to readers on everything within the Marvel Comics Universe. Within the 400 page book readers are given large amount of information on characters that they may know and love, characters that they may have heard of once or twice, and characters that they can discover for the first time. It is a great referencing resource to go alongside any comic reader’s collection.

Throughout The Marvel Encyclopedia, different characters are given varied amounts of space on a page that is determined by their importance to the Marvel Comics Universe. For example a key character like Spider-Man takes up several pages with key moments in his history noted chronologically, whilst a character like 'Ironclad’ (a character that has hardly been seen since the 1980’s) gets a small space to fill on Iron Fist’s page.

Although all of this information is available online on websites like Marvel Wiki (and is constantly updated), there is a reason that this book has sold so well, and gained 5-star reviews on many retail websites. Perhaps it is that people like to see all of the information laid out in front of them, rather than the millions of pages that can be accessed through links on a website. Maybe it is because millions of comic book fans wanted to pay homage to Marvel by owning this book. Either way, something is special about owning all the information about a certain subject.

4

Alan Kitching, Letterpress Design:

The computer age has transformed the way that graphic designers work, more often than not InDesign and Photoshop are our tools, rather than the furniture, quoins and keys that our ancestors used alongside their printing presses before us. Few designers today are lucky enough to have access to a printing press, let alone know how to use it. Alan Kitching is one such designer that has managed to master this art form.

When digital printing and computers arrived in the 90’s, he returned to his letterpress printing roots. His punchy type is used in so many different ways, anything from informative infographics and maps to bold statement-based posters. When asked by other designers ’What is your favourite typeface?’ Kitching always replies with ’The one I am using’.

Alan Kitching is a typographic designer with a unique sense of placement, colour and design, he manages to remain relevant and intriguing using tools that are considered redundant in a digital world. To see more of his typographic work, click here.

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Sketching Spreads and Layouts:

I am in the process of creating a book that flips depending on the argument that the viewer wishes to read about. If they wish to read about Bigfoot in a scientific manner then they have to hold the book a certain way, if they wish to read about the Sasquatch from a believers point of view then they need to physically flip the book to flip the argument.

Before diving into the designing of anything, I always try to sketch out ideas and general guidelines so I have something to refer to when I’m working digitally.

Above are some of my original spreads with annotations, these were good places to start, but changed a lot over time because of how I felt they could be improved. For example, the Science spreads looked far too much like a children’s textbook, and this visual style tailored to a juvenile market was something that I wanted to avoid. Also, the Conspiracy spreads were not as playful as they could have been, so these were something else that I experimented with. Once I had this to push on from, I sketched out designs for layouts that may work within the book.

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The Encyclopedia of Legendary Monsters - Sigrid Rødli:

My previous research into the ISTD brief ‘Everything About One Thing’ has led me to a fascination about subject areas of which humans know very little about.

Human knowledge is incredibly broad for a vast amount of subject areas, whether it is the evolution of man, the map of chromosomes that make up human DNA, or the feeding patterns of certain animals. However, I am becoming attached to the idea of having an outcome explaining everything that we know about an unknown subject matter.

This framework of an idea led me to the beautifully illustrated Encyclopedia of Legendary Monsters, created by Sigrid Rødli. The book is a complete visual documentation about creatures that may (or may not) have existed in lore and folktales. Her beautiful, lino-print, illustrative style compliments the engaging library of monsters that she has collected.