See Bertie type

Critique: Typography assignment

The latest layout I worked on was for our typography assignment. When I originally drew the font “Albertus,” no typeface recognition came to mind. Purely by word association, it made me think of Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore, and then I thought it might be a more traditional looking, wispy serif font.

Turns out, the typeface was created by Berthold Wolpe using a chiseled engraving technique and was named after 13th century German philosopher Albertus Magnus. The type was originally only made available in a titling font, so its uppercase letters looked best in title or display font. As I learned this, I knew that I wanted to fill the page with large text to clearly see its shapes, as well as play with columns and spacing to imitate what the carved-looking font might look like engraved on a tablet.

Albertus draft
Albertus draft

Good ol’ Bertie liked to stick to the font’s intricate simplicity, and he only created three different weights. That, and the designer created each letter and symbol by chiseling away a raised inscription until it was just so. After I figured out how much information I wanted to display on the page and at what size, I wanted to adjust some of the type and graphics to make it less stuck in the columns. I added the different weights of the font, spruced it up with some bright color in the text and a patterned background, and featured a nice photo of Mr. Wolpe just to put a font’s face to a designer’s.

Albertus final
Albertus final

I’m still not 100 percent satisfied with the way the right-most column has a a bit of a gap, but neither making it left-aligned nor centered helped. Perhaps moving around more of the information would have been better, but I do think that overall the page is pretty well balanced with different type weights, sizes, colors and graphics.

UPCOMING WORK: I’m still in the idea-generation and sketching stage of True/False and trying to incorporate the potential themes we were given by the writing class. So far, one idea in the running is along the lines of “Your brain on True/False.” While it’s nice to have a sense of direction regarding what kind of editorial themes will play out, it can also be hard to tailor it toward a very specific idea another person has come up with. My biggest challenges thus far are conceptualizing photos (or at least photo shoots that I have the resources to pull off) if that’s the direction we do end up going in, and how to visually embody the themes we’ve been given (drugs and obsession … hmm).

You can’t miss: Vanity Fair‘s 20th annual Hollywood issue

Speaking of film, Vanity Fair just released its 20th annual Hollywood issue in the midst of award season and before the  Academy Awards (which actually fall on the Sunday of True/False).  In the past they’ve incorporated ideas from circus themes to ’40s starlettes to modern cocktail looks. This time, the magazine is making a point to demonstrate the diversity of actors in Hollywood not only across race, but also age, gender and genre. I really enjoy the warm tones of the cover and the varied typography on the pages that give off a classy, cool vibe.
VF Hollywood

Here are a few of the magazine’s previous covers:

VF2013
Vanity Fair Hollywood issue 2013
VF2012
Vanity Fair Hollywood issue 2012
VF2011
Vanity Fair Hollywood issue 2011

You can’t miss: #myNYCFC design contest

Logo Design Love recently posted an interesting example of a logo design contest gone a bit awry. In an attempt to open up the NYC Football Club’s logo competition to the organization’s enthusiasts, the NYCFC tweeted out a blank badge illustration asking for design submissions. The team’s expansion rights were bought last year despite opposition, and subsequently some of the submissions reflected those still disapproving of the project and its backers. Then again, there are some pretty good ones, too.

Photo inspiration: Halls’ “A pep talk in every drop”

I spent the better half of last week and weekend with another cold (I usually get one at the turn of every season, so hopefully this means I’m getting out of the way early for spring). My design inspiration comes from the cough drops that became my daytime companion, not necessarily because they’re oh-so-beautifully designed, but more for the packaging idea of having little personal notes on each cough drop’s wrapper. It’s a simple technique that’s been done before á la Dove chocolate or even quirky Taco Bell sauce packets, but it’s an effective tool at giving a product character and making it seem like it’s working for the consumer. If anything, it makes a dreadful situation such as having a case of the sniffles a little bit more interesting.

Halls Peptalk

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4 thoughts on “See Bertie type

  1. I love your fact sheet. I think you did a great job with fitting all of the information in a very organized manner. I like that you fit the type variations, a short timeline and a photo of the creator. I also had no idea that Coldplay was such an Albertus fan.

    I love the Vanity Fair concept, but I’m curious why the 2013 version doesn’t quite fit the mold. I appreciate the idea of a tradition, such as a cover concept that is repeated each year. Then it becomes an honor to be on the cover of the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue and a treat for the reader to see who made the cut. But the other part of me liked the more artistic approach of the 2013 version. I feel like Hollywood is a vast resource of iconic material, and I would probably prefer as a reader to look at a cover that differs each year.

  2. I agree with you about T/F. I think we are all having a bit of a hard time tailoring our creative process to somebody else’s idea. I do, however, realize that this is a part of the industry we are in. I think the hardest part for me has been hearing the other TAs (not designers) talk about their ideas for cover concepts. It feels sometimes like they’ve already picked an idea, which discourages me from trying to come up with something else. I don’t think this is anyone’s fault. I just think communication between editorial and design could be a little clearer with this assignment.

    Going off of the Halls designs, I find it interesting that all of the “pep talks” are about not giving up. I’ve been drowning my stresses in Dove chocolate personally. I keep getting “fortunes” that tell me to take a break and take care of myself. It is interesting the different messages that fit different products. Also, I wonder if the fact that I usually fall on the Halls pep-talk way of thinking means that I’m consistently mentally sick…? Maybe Dove is right after all.

  3. I really like your fact sheet! I think it’s very clean and easy to read, and red color adds a good accent to the whole page. And of course that’s a nice photo of Mr. Wolpe!
    Vanity Fair is not necessarily my favorite magazine, but I like to grab an issue and flip over when I want to feel a little more… classy. To me, that’s the magazine’s characteristic. I think the 20th annual Hollywood issue delivers this issue fairly well, especially with cover models from more various ages and races than those from earlier Hollywood issues.
    Don’t you just love when your chocolate or candy wrapper says something so encouraging and sweet? Sweets are always good, and those pep talks are a big extra. I’ve always appreciated little phrases on Dove chocolate wrappers, but never know Halls had the similar idea. I think I just found a perfect remedy for me when getting sick.

  4. I never really noticed the patterns on the cough drops. They actually turns out to be really interesting patterns. It reminds me of the lessons I had in the Magazine Design class last semester, when we learned about getting inspirations from the daily life as well as the nature. So when I am agonizing over the designs every week, I probably should look around and get ideas from daily “mundane” life.

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