Ephemera Brief – Research

The brief we have been set is to create a piece of printed ephemera for a hypothetical design week in December held by Designboom, bringing together seven of the world’s most renowned graphic designers.

What is printed ephemera?

Ephemera are things that are important for a short period of time, they are items that are not not intended to have a lasting value, such as posters, pamphlets, flyers etc.

What is Designboom?

Designboom is the web’s first digital magazine and is the first source for professionals and young creatives for architecture, art and design. It was founded in 1999 in Milan and now has headquarters based in Milan, New York and Beijing with a global reach of 4 million people and 450, 000 newsletter subscribers. Today the website has over 43, 000 articles full of information, interviews, studio visits, new products, reviews and historical surveys.

‘In 2007 TIME magazine chose dsignboom as one of the TOP 100 design influencers of the world, one of just eight publications to be named so. In 2013, the Weeby awards selected designboom as an honourable mention in the category of best cultural blog and in 2014, were nominated for a Weeby in the category of best lifestyle.’

They are a team of designers who work daily with creatives from around the world in search for the most innovative projects along with new, undiscovered talent and influential studios.

The website itself bases its colour scheme on black and yellow, with that being rather minimalistic. The typeface of the logo is quite geometric with a use of lines and is bold in nature. It has a structured feel, like the website itself, which clearly has a structure, but is very minimalistic with the focus being on the projects. Other than sub headings used to inform the reader about the projects they are viewing, the focus is on the projects themselves.

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Who are the target audience?

The target audience for the project are other graphic designers and creatives. With this in mind when thinking about the style of the layout, I think an asymmetrical layout would work stronger. As I am designing for designers I believe a level of playfulness and experimentation is expected. I must assume that they will have seen a vast variety of designs and therefore this needs to be something that will grab their attention.

The Designers:

There are seven designers in total from across the globe.

1. Jessica Walsh

Jessica Walsh is an American graphic designer, art director and illustrator who is a partner at Sagmeister and Walsh – a creative agency. She has playful style to her work that is very fluid yet bold. She is also very creative when it comes to typography and has also worked on the body.

2. Eike König

Eike König is the founder and director of Berlin based design studio, HORT which is known for its experimental and free spirited approach. When looking at the style of work created, it is evident that there is a large emphasise on typography and with that a lot of experimentation. I feel the pieces tend to be larger in size and of a bold nature, with the typeface itself rather confined. It is down to the layout of the letterforms and text to depict the narrative or message being conveyed.

3. Morag Myerscough 

Moran Myerscough is one of the UK’s most prolific designers. She creates local responses to each distinct audience that will see and experience the design, using it to create community and build identity. Her work is not something to go unnoticed. She uses bright, bold and vibrant colours within her work and is also rather playful with typography, although I find Myerscough’s to be a little more controlled than Eike König for example.

4. Oded Ezer 

Oded Ezer is a graphic artist and typographer, based in Tel Aviv. His work is very focused around typography and he takes an extremely experimental approach, exploring each letterform individually to see what possibilities are embedded. There is an extreme level of playfulness to be seen and through that the work becomes exciting and stands out to an audience.

5. Sawdust

Rob Gonzalez and Jonathan Quainton are the founders of London based studio; Sawdust. They focus on bespoke typography, image making and visual identity for a wide range of clients. I find their work takes a rather minimalistic and clean approach but there is a clear sense of experimentation within the typography, but in contrast to that does feel rather controlled.

6. Veronica Fuerte

Veronica Fuerte is apart of the Hey Studio team which is based in Barcelona and specialises in brand identity, editorial design and illustration with a flair of geometry, colour and typography. Her work is much more controlled and less experimental than some of the other designers. It has a real sense of professionalism. However, colour choice has been very successful within many pieces of work and really does stand out to capture the viewers attention.

7. Felix Pfaeffli

Felix Pfaeffli is a Swiss graphic designer and illustrator. He has produced an array of colourful and type driven posters for Suedpol, a multi purpose cultural centre in Kriens, Switzerland. I think that he is able to work well within a space and has a strength when handling colours. His work is vibrant and eye catching and the different shapes and styles give it a very playful feel. He understands composition and layout and pushes the boundaries of what is traditional.


Upon looking at these examples, I really like the use of negative space seen within most of them. I think it allows for breathing space between the elements on the page and therefore does not make it overwhelming to read. I also really like the way typography has been played with, with some of them, such as the word ‘designing’ is slightly cut off the edge of the page, but not so much that it is not legible to read. Another element with the typography I like is the way that some of the text is layered over the images. I think that is a smart way to play with the space on the page. One piece I do like is the booklet with the pink boxes. I think it makes it more visually stimulating, however, the brief I have been set is to work in black and white and therefore I am unsure if this would as well. One thing I don’t like as much is the way in one of the examples, there is large aqua/ green text overlayed onto body text, with the opacity reduced. Although it is possible to read the body text, I find the large, coloured heading to be distracting and makes for disjointed reading.

Going forward from this, I definitely have more ideas for what I think will work within the booklet. I want to play with the typography, especially with the headings through layering and various other techniques and also try to create plenty of space between the elements in order to make for a clean and easy to read style. At this point in time I am unsure how much text I have to work with and therefore before I begin thinking about these elements I will play with the text to see where everything can sit on the page and work out a strong system that can actually work in my favour.


Author: marislathamgraphics

I am a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying BA Hons Graphic Communication.

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