Tuesday, January 8, 2019

IdN v25n2: Report, Brochure and Catalogue Design — Dull Chore or Satisfyingly Challenging Act?

IdN v25n2: Report, Brochure and Catalogue Design — Dull Chore or Satisfyingly Challenging Act?

The ideal layout scenario for any graphic designer is virtual equivalence between the amount of space taken up by text and images. There is one area, however, in which such a goal is almost bound to be unachievable – that of designing reports, brochures and catalogues. Annual reports are by definition data-driven, while brochures and catalogues invariably involve a greater proportion of graphics to text. The point of them is to be attracted by the illustrations, which have to speak louder than words.

On the other hand, much of the data needed for reports can be visually presented by way of tables, charts and other infographics, thus lessening the strain of ploughing through hundreds of words. There is a catch, though: given that annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested parties such as journalists and regulators information about the company’s activities and financial performance, it is essential that this information should be 100 percent accurate.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

IdN v25n1: Illustration Special — Deciphering the Language of Illustration

IdN v25n1: Illustration Special — Deciphering the Language of Illustration

The flexibility of illustration as a design genre is both a boon and a handicap. For the artist, it opens up an almost infinite field of opportunities, yet it is also restrictive in that once he or she has been identified with a particular sub-set of illustration — fashion, say, or infographics — the harder it becomes to establish an individual personality within that subject-specific straitjacket.

In the following feature article, we have gathered together 45 creatives who specialise in illustration design across a whole variety of fields. They have shared their latest illustration works together with generous tips about the sort of mistakes that lie in wait for unwary young designers. Never copy or repeat an existing work, for instance, or begin by going back to basics and trying out initial ideas with pen or pencil sketches before fleshing them out digitally. To feel every stroke by hand and create a full concept and structure before moving to the computer is an oft-quoted recipe for success.


IdN v24n6: Typography & Type Design — To Make a Mark or Strike a Delicate Balance?

IdN v24n6: Typography & Type Design — To Make a Mark or Strike a Delicate Balance?

Designers tend to see typography as visual language; a good piece of typography maintains a delicate balance between being visually stunning and at the same time powerfully conveying the message it is meant to carry. It takes years of practice and enormous talent to make this happen on a regular basis.

In the following feature article, we have gathered together 47 creative types, some who specialise in type design, some in typography, and some who are good at both. When these designers are given 26 letters of the alphabet plus numbers, they can turn them into memorable visuals in their own write — or as elements capable of complementing any number of design-led messages.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

IdN v24n5: Infographics & User Interfaces — Crossing All Borders and Ticking All Boxes

IdN v24n5: Infographics & User Interfaces — Crossing All Borders and Ticking All Boxes

Crossing All Borders and Ticking All Boxes If you really stop to think about it, all design-related works could be categorised under the heading of “infographics”, which is essentially just a matter of combining graphics with information. Whether the information appears by way of text or numerals, it has to be visually arresting to draw the viewer’s eye to it.

This is not our first issue dedicated to infographics and user-interface (UI) design. But we are always amazed that so many inspired infographic works are springing from this relatively new design field. In the digital world that we all now inhabit, apps have become ubiquitous and many of them can be classified as infographics. Most sites’ interfaces combine shades of both info and graphics — and every click you are about to make has been meticulously designed.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

IdN v24n4: Branded Stationery & Collateral — Much More Than Just A Minimalist Business-Card

IdN v24n4: Branded Stationery & Collateral — Much More Than Just A Minimalist Business-Card

Although it’s curious to think that mainly paper-based stationery still has such a large role to play in this Internet Age, it undoubtedly epitomizes that trade-off: it should look good while providing a basic amount of vital information — name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail, etc. This is where the struggle between form and content takes centre-stage.

Is it all about selling a brand or establishing an identity? And what is the difference anyway? The line that separates the two seems to be fast disappearing and many people these days would have difficulty differentiating between them. If a brand is about the relationship between a company or a product and its customers, identity could be said to be about building a memory structure around that brand through consistent, engaging artefacts that reflect a series of values.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

IdN v24n3: Sequential Art, Comics & Illustration — Thinking (Inside) the Box

IdN v24n3: Sequential Art, Comics & Illustration — Thinking Inside the Box

Although more commonly referred to as “comics”, especially if the tales told concern the antics of super-heroes, the remit of a narrative genre in which illustrations share equal billing with the words is much wider than that of simply propagating fantastic world-saving feats.

It can involve film-making story-boards, animation and speech balloons, and with its 2D presentation of “moving” graphics, it acts as a kind of halfway house between literature and the cinema. Good drawing skills are as necessary as the ability to delineate a plausible story-line. But within those very wide parameters, there is room for as many styles as there are practitioners of them.


Monday, October 23, 2017

IdN v24n2: Editorial Design — In Grid We Trust

In Grid We Trust

Regular publications such as newspapers or magazines quickly establish their own grid systems, which become part of their fundamental identity. Place the spreads from two magazines side by side and you should instantly be able to spot the difference. Yes, a branding colour can help to delineate them, but at the end of the day it is the grid that counts.

In this issue, we have gathered together a total of 55 designers who have fallen in love with editorial design. If you have aspirations to follow in their footsteps, their views make compulsive reading and these examples of their work should serve as a constant inspiration.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

IdN v24n1: Packaging Design — Much More Than Mere Eye-Candy

Much More Than Mere Eye-Candy

Many people make the huge mistake when it comes to packaging design of dismissing it as mere eye-candy, created simply to arrest the progress of undecided shoppers and coerce them into an impulse buy. There is so much more to it than that that one hardly knows where to begin.

In the following feature article, one of the most fascinating we have published, some 68 creative individuals and entities share both their best work and their thoughts on packaging design, which are as diverse as the subject itself. We know you will enjoy it and we hope you will be inspired by it. And perhaps even give some thought to how we can all contribute to making the business of packaging more environmentally friendly, with a greater accent on re-cycling and re-using.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

IdN v23n6: Illustration in Pattern Making — The Perpetual Promise of a Repeat Performance

The Perpetual Promise of a Repeat Performance

Pattern is one of the most under-rated — and therefore often unfairly disregarded — genres of design. All you have to do, surely, is come up with a few elements that in terms of colour, shape, form and size combine well together, and then repeat them ad infinitum, no? This is a common misapprehension of the uninitiated. The truth is that pattern-creation can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. And it is something that almost every designer has had recourse to during their career.

So all the rules that apply to design in general are relevant to the act of creating a memorable pattern; none more so than that it should tell some sort of a story… and answer the client’s brief — to sell a product, market a brand, advertise an event, whatever — as succinctly and impactfully as possible. As always, simplicity is the hardest goal to achieve. What could be a more basic pattern-design concept that the monogram? Yet a truly successful one can take hours, days, weeks and months even, to come up with.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

IdN v23n5: Environmental Graphics — Signage & Wayfinding

Find your way in the world of way-finding

Exhibitions and conferences are among the most popular projects for environmental designers, given their temporary nature and concurrent need for compression of lots of information as well as luring people to particular, possibly competing, attractions. They have to know how to reach the exits, the first-aid centre, the toilets and the canteen, but they also have to decide between various activities, booths or sectors. Obviously, for the sake of harmony, the signage for these should share a visual identity, and if this can reflect the project’s brand — either as a permanent venue or its temporary sponsorship — so much the better.

In this issue, we have asked 54 leading designers/creative units, who have made something of a speciality of various kinds of environmental design, to show us some of their favourite work in this field and give us an insight into their approach by picking a project, actual or hypothetical, that they would like to engage with and telling us briefly how they would go about making a success of it.