Exercise: Birthday list

For this exercise you are going to make up a poster list for yourself. It is intended that you keep it pinned to a noticeboard or wall to remind you of the dates and, as it will be there a long time, it needs to look good.

Start by collecting all the birthdays of your friends and family. You’ll need their name and birth date, to decide whether or not you buy them presents or just send a card, text message or email.

When you have all this design a page to include all this information for example:


Below are some of the calendars which I liked in a Google search.

I like the idea that the whole year is visible. The colours are a bit dull.

I love the wooden background. The pegs are a little impractical as the birthday papers would fall off.

This would work over an office work station as it looks like anyone’s peg board.

The calendar I have in mind is a little like this.

My handbag birthday calendar will be a little like this.


  1. I made a list of family and friends birthdays.
  2. I decided to have vertical boxes for each month. The month would be indicated in a box X25, Y-10, W25, H15.
  3. The month name is the letter in Trajan Pro 24pt.
  4. The baseline shift is -5
  5. The boxes are at 5mm from each other.
  6. The bounding boxes are opts and the colours are from the swatch list
  7. The ‘birthday boxes’ are 25 x25mm and filled with the border colour of the month. I had to reduce the opacity of the dark blue and red to make the print legible.
  8. The date is Ariel 10pt Regular
  9. The name is Ariel 12pt Bold
  10. The symbols are screen shots for Gift, Text, Facebook or Card. Depending on what I send someone for their birthday I use the symbol. If the calendar was to be used for other members of the family it would be better if these were separate and it was possible to stick them on the calendar. Different members give or donut give gifts, cards or messages.
  11. When compete I tried to line up the text horizontally by placing a grid line at the point where I wanted the text to line up. I found this difficult to get precise – not sure why.
  12. Finally having printed an example I realise that some of the background box colours were too strong. I reduced the opacity in these.


I decided to make three different versions of the calendar


A simple  wall version

I used a   simple photo image I had of birds in the sky. I then laminated my wall calendar. I will use this on my wall and expand it.

A mounted wall version or a handbag version

I found a nice piece of old drift wood and sanded it down. Because it was still very wet I dried it out on a radiator. This caused a split to open wider. I used wood glue on this and clamped it. The calendar can be fixed to it with a stud.

But I wanted to keep it for my handbag!!


Exercise: 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?

For this exercise you are going to describe your immediate surroundings using information graphics; this could be a plan of your desk, the layout of your house, the arrangement of objects in your cupboards or your morning journey; anything will do.

Before you start you will need to think about scale and about how you will break down the information for your design. Create a graphic that represents an aerial or front on view of your location. Be mindful of the hierarchy of the elements in the composition and the dynamics needed to draw the viewer’s eye from one stage to the next. Use typography, numbers and colours to describe what is being represented. You may want to produce a key to help us understand what is being shown, as well as a diagram title to put things in context.

Keep all your sketches and notes in your learning log.

I did some research on info graphic designers. I added this to my “Graphic Designers” page.

This is a great site about the 25 best ideas for Infographics.

This week I was asked to map a trail map for an upcoming event on the island where I live. The curator and I listed what we wanted on the map. She decided that she wanted an A5 folded sheet. The logic for this was that if it was raining a small map would be better than an A4 sheet. The map needs to show the location of 8 art locations. It also needs to contain the ferry timetable and the phone number for the island bus.

We used the existing ferry timetable which was designed by our ferry crew man. He is a keep drone photographer and has a great deal of computer experience. It is clear and simple to follow. The only problem is that the ferry owner sometimes decides to change the ferry times!!!! We have a mobile phone alert system to inform us of changes…

I think Greg, our ferry crew man, used excel to create this and then probably made a PdF and imported it into Photoshop. I used a map of the island on which we would place the trail. I would have preferred a blank map but the curator wanted the town lands on the map. We did remove some in Photoshop. Below is the only one that existed. I did not have the time to create a new one…

I took the map into InDesign and added the red dots. I numbered each dot and put a list of the artists on the inside of the folded sheet. We did not have all the relevant information so it is still a work in progress.

This is a very simple information graphic. I looked up some others on the web. Below is a screen snap of some. 

I had never really considered ways to demonstrate information graphically. I have worked with Excel and produced histograms and pie charts. But these were produced automatically. I have added colours to differentiate information contained therein. But I never gave much thought to the effectiveness of what I was creating. I assumed most of these info graphics were created in Illustrator.

I have wanted, for a long time, to create an information map for visitors to my garden. Time and lack of inspiration have not advanced this project…. But now I can use this exercise to, hopefully, produce something which will be of use to me in the future.

This site gives the ten best infographc designs. These are mostly about ways of gardening rather than mapping a garden. I like this one below about composting. It does not give much useful information but it is attractive. The colours are ‘earthy’

I like the way the following one is set out with the main map of the design in the centre and the information on either side. I could use something like this with the garden site in the middle and plant lists etc on either side.

I think both graphics were probably created in Illustrator. The second one is the sort of map/information sheet I would like to produce for my garden. However I find it a little too fussy for my needs.

This is an amazing info graphic about using recycled items in a garden. This is something I am really interested in and use continually. I would like to add the information about my own recycled items on my graphic. But again it might make the map too confusing.

I have made a copy of the post code site map of our site:

This is not a very accurate map as we have purchased a little more land since this map was created. I will correct it in photoshop before using. I will use this in my log to mind map what I would like to be included on it.

This is the google map of our garden:

Worked on the outline map in my log. I like the result.

On the left I listed what I wanted to include. I think the map I have produced is a little too fussy so I will scale it down in Illustrator.

Having created my symbols I placed them on the map in Illustrator. I added a key for symbol explanation. I also added a little information about my garden and house.

Here is the result:


I think the above map is a reasonable start to my project of producing a garden plan for visitors to my garden. I like my hand drawn map better as it contains more detail. But I think it might be too detailed and a little confusing for visitors.

I will give it to a few friends who know my garden and see what they think.

Deirdre Ní Luasaigh

Hi Nuala

I love it!!

My comments in general

  • Great clarity. Clarity in the garden sketch as well as in the key to the left. This is hugely difficult to achieve and in my view critical to all good design, but especially so for infographics.
  • The piece of writing is great and simple and again easy to understand.
  1. To pick out modifications, two things struck me.

‘Studio’ word is small and difficult to read on the sketch. Possibly could use a letters system on the sketch to identify ‘house’ , ‘ruin’ & ‘studio’ connected to the key on the left eg and a dot with the letter inside for each building on the sketch

8 Buildings:

  •             a house
  •             b ruin
  •             c studio

2:  There is more detail in the writing that does not quite match the key – references to ‘new house’ and ‘old house’ , ‘stream’­  and ‘the elms’ Maybe find a way to include these in the key as well.
Deirdre Ní Luasaigh


Need something to indicate the entrance…

So here is the final version:

Well I thought it was the final version until I used it for this weekend. I had the garden open to the public for an Open Islands Festival. I gave out my Infographics and asked for comments. One lady who was a book editor and proof reader gave me very useful feedback. She indicated spelling errors, I had a comma at the end of the tree paragraphic and not at the end of shrub paragraph. I had a space before the “The” in the second last paragraph on the right. I have corrected all these and her is the Final, final result!


Project: Magazine Pages

Choose a magazine, newspaper or journal and work out the grid or grids they have used.

You will probably need to look at least four pages to get a feel of the layout.

Measure the size of the pages, the margins, the text columns and the gaps in between them. How many columns do they use? Is it the same on every page?

Can you identify the fonts they use? Do you have it or one with similar properties?

How do they use photographs and illustrations? How much ‘white space’ on the pages is there?

Draw up a two page spread using the same grid as the magazine. Indicate text using Lorum Ipsum and indicate images by either filling a picture box with a 10% tint or using a picture from your collection.

When you have done this see if you can develop the grid further.

Select a title and images and see how many variations you can come up with. What happens when you alter the body font or headline font? Do different kinds of images change the ‘feel’ of the publication? Do you think the readership for each of your variations would be the same? Does the image you choose suggest a different design?

Which ones work best and why? Make notes in your learning log.

I looked at several magazines before deciding to use Graffiti Art Magazine. I choose this because I have a special inters in street art.

I get this bi-lingual magazine any time I am travelling through a french airport. I had never examined the layout in detail before. I was quite surprised that it is so sober. For a magazine dedicated to graffiti art one would expect something more adventurous. I felt the layout could be made more interesting. There is dry little white space making it very dense.

First I examined the layout and measured the gutter and margins..

I created a double page spread in InDesign using two column layout with a 4mm gutter and all the margins as they are in the original article.

The typeface was pretty easy. it was sans serif. I reckoned either Arial or Helvetica. I settled on Helvetica having examined the differences between these two typefaces.(see diary entry date 4th March.). The column on the left is the french version of the article and english is on the right. The left column seems to use ‘regular’ and left ‘light’ Hevetica. I used 10 as point size for the main body of the text as these seemed to be the point size used.

I decided to use my own graffiti images even though they did not fit the article which was about using words in Urban Art. I just wanted to work with something more colourful.. I measured and cropped the images to fit the areas allotted in the article.

Then I added the other attributes on the page like: page numbering, image captions, headers etc. The image captions proved difficult. They were numerated from 1 – 4. I made a list of the first two on the LHS page in 8pt type. I wanted to continue the numerated list beginning with the number 3 for the RHS page. I found a very non-intuitive method on the Internet. I am not sure I could re-create it. I had to decrease the tracking for the headings to -70 or -100. I used bold for the footer heading.

This is how the final product looked:

I find this layout almost overwhelmingly boring. Something I would not expect to find in a Graffiti magazine. The amount of white space is minimal making for a lot of dense reading. Since most young people are used to reading Twitter style material I feel the article would deter all but the most dedicated graffiti fans.

I then tried to make the layout more attractive using more relevant images. I did some sketches in my logbook.

Then I combined ideas from different bits of each and came up with this layout below. I have to remember that this is a bi-lingual magazine so French and English must be catered for in all layouts. The first one I did I envisaged French on the left page and English on the right. I met the graffiti artist in Chile, he was happy to be photographed.


I did some more sketches and then received some layouts from my tutor as part of my Assignment 4 feedback. Using these I tried some more sketches in my log book.

I tried the top one since this accommodates a bi-lingual layout. Below is the layout I came up with. I left large margins on the outside as I like white space especially with blocks of text.

I still feel that this is too dense and a little boring.

Using different images in sizes different from the original article I wanted to create something which I felt would appeal to a younger more trendy readership. Black as the background, I felt, would show off the images. I did keep to the brief in that there is text, albeit very little on some, but not all of the images. I wanted the main image which is text rich to bleed across the centre fold. I decided the language differences would be accommodated with different type colour. I also decided that it would be better to intersperse the different languages.


I feel the readership would be very different for each of these three designs. The first one might be a fairly general audience of people interested in graffiti art. The second one is, in my opinion, close to the original, and not very interesting for anyone other than the converted… The third should attract a young audience both for the layout and the images.

Research:Irish Gaelic type

The history of typography, printing and reading are all linked; what else can you find out about this history that you find interesting? Perhaps you are interested in typefaces a particular era, form of typography or particular area of reading. It might be a wide subject such as the history of the alphabet, or something very specific such as the use of typography in Film Noir, comics or American crime novels.

Undertake some secondary research to find out more, taking notes along the way and collecting examples for your visual diary.

I have had to change the title of this page already as I am learning the difference between Uncial and Celtic. According to Wikipedia most Gaelic typefaces are not Uncials but Insular(1).

Insular script was a medieval script system invented in Ireland(2)

I am interested in Gaelic typefaces. I really like the old gaelic letters which have been replaced by modern ones now.

However there seems to be confusion about this fact in the literature as I read in the following paper:

There are a number of substyles of Gaelic fonts: uncial or half-uncial or majuscule (rounded) and minuscule (angular) are the main ones.(3)

Definition of the adjective Uncial: designating, written in, or pertaining to a form of majuscule writing having a curved or roundedshape and used chiefly in Greek and Latin manuscripts from about the 3rd to the 9thcentury a.d.(4)

My first step was to send the following message to the Print Museum in Dublin to try to get some clarity from the experts:


I would be very grateful if you could recommend some research sources for a study I am undertaking of the Irish language topography. I am a student at the Open College of the Arts studying for a BA(Hons) in Photography but as part of my course I have taken a module on Graphic design.

I visited your museum in the Summer and very much enjoyed it. I was fascinated by the gaelic type. Since I am old enough to have used the old Irish script in School I would be interested to do some research on it.

Irish is a Celtic language as are Scots Gaelic, Welsh and Manx.  It seems to have come to Ireland about 2,500 years ago although the exact time is a little hazy. There were, apparently other languages spoken in Ireland before its arrival. Old Irish was first written in the Roman alphabet before the beginning of the 7th century which makes Irish the oldest written vernacular language north of the Alps.   …… many manuscripts … survive from the Middle Irish era.(5)

From the middle of the 12th Century Middle Irish evolved into Modern Irish.

The first Gaelic typeface was designed in 1571. It was to print a catechism commissioned by Elizabeth I. This typeface was used in printing until the middle of the 20th century.(5). I believe it was stopped because of the cost of making typewriters specially for the Irish market. When only letterpress printing was used it made little difference as letters had to be cast anyway so whether it was English or Gaelic type mattered little.

If we stay with the uncial theory, Gaelic script is a particular way of writing the Latin script. The letters lean from top left to bottom right. There are 18 letters in the Gaelic alphabet(6):


This is how I learned to write in Gaelic. Then there is a set of lenited letters, meaning the ‘b’ is pronounced ‘v’ e.g bi me is pronounced ‘vi may’


These dots on these consonants are called “Builte” in gaelic.

In addition most vowels have acute accents.

I have downloaded a couple of ‘gaelic’ fonts from FreeFont to see how they compare with my memory of writing gaelic script.

Here is a poem I learned as a child written how I would have learned it. I have used the font I downloaded “Kells” to give the translation. Some of the letters remain the same for example the “d” but others have changed totally like the “s”.

I hope to visit the Print Museum again when next in Dublin and look at the book they recommended.


1.Wikipedia. 2017. Gaelic type – Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_type. [Accessed 12 January 2017].

2.Wikipedia. 2017. Insular script – Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insular_script. [Accessed 14 January 2017].

3.Gaelic fonts for MS Word – basic information and what’s available[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk. [Accessed 12 January 2017].

4.Dictionary.com. 2017. Uncial | Define Uncial at Dictionary.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/uncial. [Accessed 12 January 2017].

5. Background on the Irish Language « Údarás na Gaeltachta. 2017. Background on the Irish Language « Údarás na Gaeltachta. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.udaras.ie/en/an-ghaeilge-an-ghaeltacht/stair-na-gaeilge/. [Accessed 02 February 2017].

6.Irish uncial alphabet. 2017. Irish uncial alphabet. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/clogaelach.htm. [Accessed 12 January 2017].

Exercise: 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.

Research these types of publications and identify three different combinations of typefaces appropriate for each publication. 

Now you need to invent headings and subheadings for your articles. Set these combinations so that your header is above 12pt in size, your body text is 12pt or below and subheadings sit in between in your hierarchy.

You will need to create some text to allow you to show your combinations in action. Use your text to describe your decision making process, why you think the combination works and what your intentions were.

  1. I looked up some listing magazines – we do not get any of these as we do not watch a lot of television. When we do we watch the news and the occasional documentary. The first interview I found on a magazine called “BUZZ”

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-09-29-33The heading was in Franklin Gothic pt size 36. The body of the text was Helvetica Neue 14pt with the questions in the same font but Bold. Because this is online the pt size used is bigger than it would be in an equivalent printed magazine. Sans serif also reads very easily online. Both heading and body text are clean and simple.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-10-02-55The next magazine I looked at was called, appropriately “Interview”. I loved the cover. The online interview was in Georgia 14 both questions and    answers, The questions were in Upper Case.

I loved the typeface of the Title but could not figure out what it was.




I am sure that the printed version would use different body font.

Some of the other magazines I could not work out what fonts were being used. One about Reggae interviews was impossible to read. I also looked at an interview with Sarah Jessica Parker in Red. I have no idea who she is (this is my problem I never know who these people are). But I do know this magazine as my daughter reads it.It was easy to read but an unusual way of doing an interview.

Sarah Jessica Parker is trying to resist sending an email. It’s a reminder to her husband, Matthew Broderick, to make sure a school form has been signed and returned, and that their son James Wilkie needs to clear out his backpack tomorrow, as he does every Wednesday.

“There’s a file under his desk and all his papers from the week – whether it’s Latin or history – have to go in.”

There are no questions and Answers it is a story format. I like it.

There are many online sources about pairing fonts.

  • this shows combinations of fonts for different publications. Most are not free fonts but some are.
  • this one is for InDesign so should prove useful
  • another set of combinations
  • and yet another set of combinations

I have printed the first task headline and a little text with a number of heading/body text combinations. I’ve pasted these into my learning log. With the fonts that I have available I like the following combinations:

  • Garamond/Futura
  • Myriad/Minion

I then tried out a number of layouts in my learning log. I had some images of my lovely daughter and decided to use one or two of these. I find my two final layouts dull but then I find most of the women’s magazines layouts, which I looked at, really dull.




2. A single screen snap from the hundreds of typography pairings for technical magazines on this site.


I made some sketches in my log book:

I then researched technical backgrounds and found amazing images on this site. But these all looked a little too advanced for my present Illustrator skills. I used this site for a very simple background which showed me how to create a Mesh gradient.


I then added a cloud. I first made the colour pale blue but finally decided white was better.

Using my log book sketch  for ideas I added a mobile phone, a laptop, an envelope as the software was a cloud storage software. I then added rectangles into which I would put the text. I decided to use Myriad in both headlines and text as I find it very clean and readable. I did all of these steps in different layers as the whole was quite complicated. I sent it to a couple of friends for comment. I have not used all the 500 words as I felt that this would probably be a two page spread and the rest of the text could be used.

Basic RGB



I think the poster is great – love the central cloud and mauve is sufficiently soft yet bold ( sounds bonkers), but also one can read the text in white against it.
I suppose my boy comment would be whether there needed to be a link between the images ( eg mobile) and text. Would any text be an explanation of the object illustrated within the context of the whole concept? Does that make sense? Tricky, as text is gobbledygook.
It is, however, hugely eye-catching with relevant central motif.
But what do I know about these things!

3. The final task is to make a layout for a book review. I found this the simplest. I love books and I absolutely adore the works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adechi. I decided to do a review for Half of a Yellow Sun.

I made a few layout mock-ups in my log book:

I used the tried and tested Baskerville at 36pt for the titles. I used Minion Pro for the BOOK REVIEW title and for the body text at 10pt. This still did not allow me to fit all 500 words into the space. So I reduced the tracking to -25. I am not sure if this reduced the readability beyond tolerable. I got most of the 500 words in but not all. I like the two serifs for a book review. I think it is comfortable to read. I wanted to break up the paragraphs with the drop caps. I only used two lines for the Drop caps.


Exercise: Lorum Ipsum

Now 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.

Is the type serif or sans serif? Is the text set ragged or justified? Are there spaces after paragraphs or are new paragraphs indented? How many columns are there to a page?

What happens when you alter the fonts, change the alignment, adjust the leading or tracking?

Now try another, different publication from your collection.

I looked at a number of publications and answered the questions above as best I could. The most difficult for me is to identify the fonts used.

Here are my notes in my learning log.


I asked my husband which article he found easiest to read. He had no doubt it was Astronomy Ireland. Interestingly it had sans serif in both headline and body text.


I looked at all the characteristics of the letters and then looked up http://www.identifont.com What it gave me was Fedra Sans thin Display Codensed which seemed correct based on the following letters which I copied and pasted into Photoshop.


This font does not seem to be available either to download or buy. I thought Tahoma was near it and Ariel nearer. I did five or six copies of the text using either Tahoma or Ariel and altering the leading and tracking. I seemed to have overwritten 3….

Font used pt size leading tracking
1 Tahoma 12 18pt 0
2 Tahoma 12 14pt (-10)
4 Tahoma 9 14pt (-10)
5 Tahoma 9 14pt 0
6 Ariel 9 14pt 0
7 Ariel 10 14pt 0

The last version seemed to fit the closest although it is not very close. I put them all into my learning log.


For my second task I chose the Independent article as I wanted to try a newspaper story.


I now tried to identify the font using Identifont.com.










It came up with the following: Monotype Bodoni which looks very similar













I tried Bodoni.

  • First thing I learned was the paragraphs were justified with the last line aligned left. I had not noticed this..
  • The paragraphs were indented
  • headline is similar to American typewriter but I could not identify it despite the “R” being so distinctive. American Typewriter has a similar “R”The point size seems to be 40
  • the subheading looked like Ariel
  • for the body text BodoniI used 9pt.
  • the leading seems to be 9pt
  • tracking looks good at 10





Exercise: If the face fits

Create your own sample book of typefaces on your computer that you can refer to.Organise them into:

  • • Serif for continuous text; readable at small sizes and those suitable for headings.
  • • San-serif for continuous text; readable at small sizes and for headings.
  • • Script fonts that look handwritten with a pen or brush.
  • • Decorative fonts only suitable for headings or ‘fun’ uses.
  • • Fixed width, techno and pixel fonts for use on the web or to give a computer appearance.

Identify which typefaces have bold, italic, black or light fonts. 

Now identify which fonts you might use in each of the following commissions:

  • A short story in a woman’s magazine entitled “I thought I loved him; now I’m not so sure”. The story is 1300 words long so you will need to identify a text font and a headline font.
  • An advertisement in a parish magazine asking for more helpers on the flower rota. The finished size is A6 landscape and the text reads: “Can you add that important artistic flourish to our church? We desperately need more volunteers to join the flower rota. If you can help or would like more information please contact Jennie jennie@vicarage.co.uk.”
  • A poster to advertise an after-school club for boys aged 13 – 14. The poster will be A3 size and the copy reads: “Bored? Feeling got at? Nowhere to go? Then why not come and join us on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school in the Old Gym. We’ve got football, ping pong, table soccer, computers, Karate, cooking and lots more. All free just come along.”
  • Your friends’ engagement party. They want a flyer A5 size to send to their friends as if advertising a club night. The copy reads: “Mandy and Josh are finally going to do it…well almost!!!!! Come and join them on Friday 24 March from 8pm at the Golden Calf to celebrate their long awaited engagement… and yes lots of presents would be gratefully received particularly if we can drink them!!!!!

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.

The first thing I discovered is that I have something called Font Book on my MAC where all the fonts are stored. I researched how I could  use this application to organise my sample book.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-32-18There are many available software applications for organising fonts. Since I am not planning to be a graphic designer I decided to use the Font Book provided on my MAC.






I created my own collection of serif fonts. Unfortunately I learned that one cannot delete a collection(incorrectly set up) – just disable it – weird…. I also failed to make a ‘smart collection’ as I did not know the correct terminology for how to limit what would go into this collection….

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-11-06-56I found a list of Fonts supplied with MAC OS X in Wikipedia. I found this could be sorted into subtypes e.g. Sans serif. So I did this sort. Then I copied and pasted the result into EXCEL. I added a column for the Appearance for which I used FontBook.

Version 1


I then rationalised this by creating shortcuts for the classification subtypes (B for Bold etc.). I ordered the different classifications (serif, sans- serif etc.) into sub classifications using this sites’ classification system which seemed to me to be logical. But I did run into limitations. Many of my FontBook typefaces seem to fall into odd sub categories. I used Wikipedia’s classification in some cases. Not sure if this is “Beginners License”…..

Version 2


I will add to this list as I add more typefaces to my computer.

Now identify which fonts you might use in each of the following commissions:

  • 1. A short story in a woman’s magazine entitled “I thought I loved him; now I’m not so sure”. The story is 1300 words long so you will need to identify a text font and a headline font.

Here is a crash course in combining typefaces.

The principal concerns when combining typefaces are the following:

  • contrast (not too similar and not to drastically different)
  • weight (combing typefaces of different weights)
  • style and decoration (normally regular or italic are used to create style. Decoration is created by drop shadows)
  •  scale and hierarchy (e.g headings should be bigger than sub headings and body typefaces)
  • classification (use different classifications e.g. serif with sans serif)
  • structure (structures should be either VERY similar of very different)
  • colour & texture (for contrast in similar typefaces use colour or texture)
  • extreme contrast (for display or script typefaces use extreme contrast)
  • mood (choose a typeface that reflects the mood of what you are designing e.g serious, fun)

Another paper I read with the title “Setting body text for comfortable reading” says:

The body text is most important for ease of reading. We only notice if it is wrong and should be unnoticeable if it is correct.

The paper suggests Caslon, Jenson, Chronicle, Miller, Palatino, Garmond and Goudy are easy to read. While Didot and Bodoni  are not because they are not intended to be read at small point sizes. He suggests that body text sizes can range from 9pt to even 12pt. 

So I set up four different pages in Word:





My husband looked at these and decided that Gill Sans and Caslon was the easiest and best combination to fulfil the above criteria. So I set this up in InDesign. I have used PageMaker many years ago so the flowing text and bleeding came back to me….

Here is the final result:

i-though-i-loved-him i-though-i-loved-him2




I am now going to write a best selling version of Fifty-one Shades of Grey……


Before starting the next part of this exercise I wanted to research graphic designers who worked especially with typography. I have added these to my page on graphic designers.

With my head exploding from the work of these contemporary designers I set about trying to create some meaningful designs…

I did some sketches, in my log book, for all three assignment tasks. Nothing really pleased me so I went to Illustrator and Photoshop to see if I could get inspired – not really. Back to the sketch book and I picked some ideas rather than the totality of any one sketch.

Below are my sketches in my log book.







1. An advertisement in a parish magazine asking for more helpers on the flower rota. The finished size is A6 landscape and the text reads: “Can you add that important artistic flourish to our church? We desperately need more volunteers to join the flower rota. If you can help or would like more information please contact Jennie jennie@vicarage.co.uk.”

I came up with two designs.

flower-rota_smThis one my husband declared illegible and he totally missed my artistic efforts of tucking some of the type behind the flower! Since the ad would not be focused on anyone like him, as he would not be helping with any church flower rotas, I tried to defend the work. But in the end I had to agree. The amaryllis (my own image) was too strong. The type chosen was not legible enough.

For my second attempt I went for a walk and picked some wild flowers. I typed the words “artistic flourish” in script on a piece of white paper, reduced the opacity, and added the flower buds and grass to partially cover the words. I had seen a young female designer do something like this (albeit with a lot more skill) online. I then photographed it and made an artistic(ish) brush stroke around it in Photoshop. I picked the colour of the background and increased the canvas size . I then imported this into Illustrator and added the remainder of the text. I think it is wishy washy but maybe that is what might attract the people who would be offering to arrange the church flowers….


2. A poster to advertise an after-school club for boys aged 13 – 14. The poster will be A3 size and the copy reads: “Bored? Feeling got at? Nowhere to go? Then why not come and join us on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school in the Old Gym. We’ve got football, ping pong, table soccer, computers, Karate, cooking and lots more. All free just come along.”

This was much more my style. I liked the idea of a bold background colour and some interesting typefaces. I also wanted to play with some effects like warp in Illustrator. I hope I have not overdone it. The main words are in Stencil Std Bold. Helvetica for the the request to join the club and graffiti or helvetica for the activities.

bored_big_sm3. Your friends’ engagement party. They want a flyer A5 size to send to their friends as if advertising a club night. The copy reads: “Mandy and Josh are finally going to do it…well almost!!!!! Come and join them on Friday 24 March from 8pm at the Golden Calf to celebrate their long awaited engagement… and yes lots of presents would be gratefully received particularly if we can drink them!!!!!

For this there was three pieces of important information. Whose party was it, what date and time and where it was to be held. I wanted to improve my illustrator skills and I liked the idea of two jig saw pieces not quite fitting because of the text ” well almost”. Creating the two jigsaw pieces was a marathon learning curve and I did not finish the tutorial to achieve the beautiful pieces being illustrated. However I was happy to have learned a little about creating a 3D effect, rounding the corners and moving anchor points.

The design I came up with is a simple clean one which I would like myself.I would hate hearts or rings or guys down on one knee. I tried many fonts before I settled on Apple Chancery for the heading and top information, Avenir Next for the main body of information which I felt had to be very clear and Lucida handwriting Italic for the post-it. I hate the idea of asking people for presents so I put it in as an after thought yellow post-it. I think it would be cheap to print with only three colours.