Updated Type Specimen Project

In response to the feedback I received on my type specimen poster, I went back to make various changes in order to try and improve the overall design.

Here is the final piece:


Based on the feedback I received, I have made a few alterations to the type specimen. The biggest change I have made is extending the letters behind the letter g to stop it feeling so restricted and confined. I have also given some space between the ‘Morris Fuller Benton’ and the ‘1902’ from the extended descender.

However, these changes were implemented not long after Christmas, after receiving my feedback, but upon further reflection now, I still think that the title and letterforms can be pushed further. I think that there are some changes that can be made to strengthen the piece further. I don’t think I fully explored the feedback. Something I aim to resolve.

Unfortunately, I went to try and refine it further but as my laptop has recently broken I was forced to use the computers in the Graphics studio, which did not have Franklin Gothic on any of the machines. Matt tried to help me resolve this but was only able to find one weight meaning I could not make the appropriate adjustments.

This is what it looked like:

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As its clear to see in comparison to the one above, this is drastically different and does not look anywhere near as good as the image above.

Type Detailing Workshop

We were given a workshop and a lecture on type detailing and the level we are expected to achieve within our editorial projects.

Much of the time was spent looking through magazines and examples of spreads to get a sense of the vast variety of designs that are created. We were then given a lecture on the key aspects of type detailing and and with that new terms that I have not come across before. These are useful to know and understand so that we can push ourselves to aim for the highest quality. It is the standard in which we are expected to reach and achieve within our work.

From the lecture I took that there are a lot of elements to consider when working with large amounts of text and this is something that will require practice and I understand that refinement will come over time.

After this we were given a task to work in pairs to design a page layout for a body of text given to us, this being the first chapter of the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. We were only given an hour and therefore it was a quick project; I worked with Megan Touhig and together this was our final design…

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The feedback we received was relatively positive, the rag has been well done and the overall style is classic with a modern twist.

On the whole, with the time given , I am very pleased with our outcome, I think that we have tackled a lot of the elements effectively. Through doing this I have started to really understand the importance that each different element has. However, I do think I need to understand how and when they should be used because the context and content can help to direct the design decisions.

Dalton Maag: What Lies Beneath – A Typographic Talk

Cardiff Met were lucky enough to welcome Dalton Maag to give a talk and I am pleased I was able to attend. Students, lecturers, designers and people within the creative community attended the talk – and it didn’t disappoint.

Bruno Maag – the founder and chairman of the foundry and Tom Foley – the Creative Director of the foundry gave the talk. The talk covered two case studies of past clients, the science behind reading and type in general.

Bruno Maag is originally from Switzerland where he began his career in typography with a typesetting internship. From there his career grew until he founded Dalton Maag (as he said there weren’t any jobs going so I made one for myself). Tom Foley went to Limerick University, Ireland to study Graphic Design and then went on to complete his masters in Central Saint Martins, London. He worked as a graphic designer for a few years before gaining employment at Dalton Maag, where he is now the Creative Director. The company mainly focuses on four services:

  • Custom Fonts
  • Logo Refinement
  • Library Fonts
  • Font Modification

Although I took a lot from the talk itself, including the history of the evolution of typography, what I really took was the passion and love the two have for type and what they do. Bruno, especially, displayed such passion when giving his talk. He is clearly a very knowledgable individual who understands the history of typography. I think this demonstrates that having a true understanding of your practice can really help to influence the choices you make an can really inform your choices.

When discussing their case studies, one was for the company Lush and the other Intel. With Lush, they did not have to design the typeface as the Creative Director of Lush had already designed their typeface. However, as their services became digital they needed to optimise the typeface for online use. This took a lot more work than what I originally thought it would have. Trial and error was key until they could find a style that conveyed their unique features, but also keep the file size down to ensure that bandwidth would not be effected – thus preventing pages from loading too slowly.

In regards to Intel they were asked to design a custom typeface. This meant they went through their design process: Research -> Ideation -> Design Concept -> Refinement -> Execution. Bruno stated the importance of getting your process right as that will ensure errors are not made and will essentially save a lot of time. Once they have decided on a typeface, they must ensure it works in different weights and must then consider other script languages such as Chinese etc. as Intel are a global company and therefore need the font to work in various languages on different script systems. I never imagined the complexity of creating a typeface because consideration to the style, file size, script systems, other languages and other various elements are all essential and one mistake could cost a lot of money. The Intel project took about four years to complete in total – showing the true nature that type designing entails.

Some pointers that were given to us by both Bruno and Tom were to always consider your audience and to complete thorough research. Another was to never minus track as that distorts the type and makes the page look crowded – affecting reading and comprehension. The final point was to always read the End User Licensing Agreement as that can cause legality issues when using someones typeface. Having a slight business mind is key when entering the industry because business is an essential part to the Graphic Design industry – like most.

On the whole, I found the talk to extremely inspiring and it gave me an insight into what designing typefaces is like but also the level of commitment needed. There is a lot love needed for jobs like these, but it’s clear to see when there is, the work is created to a high standard and is all worthwhile.


Ephemera – The Process

From completing all of my research I am now more confident about tackling this project. I am constantly referring back to the brief to ensure I complete it to the highest standard. I therefore began with creating some sketches of brief designs to see what could potentially work. I also placed the text into an InDesign document and began to play with it to see how it could all fit in.

I found that there was much more text than what I’d anticipated and so I found it to be a struggle to fit everything in nicely. I found Jessica Walsh’s interview to be the most problematic as she had much more text than everyone else. To overcome this I thought I’d place her over three pages and try to fit one of the other designers on to one.

At this point I had a tutorial with David, he said that my layout had a nice pace to it and liked my experimentation with the typography, especially with ‘Sawdust’. However, he did say that I needed to work on my type detailing and asked whether left align would work better, but if I were to go for justified text then I would have to work on the detailing. I found the tutorial to be really helpful, he gave me useful points to think of and it gave me a chance to reflect properly on what I had done. I was happy with the system I had put in place, but really needed to start considering the finer details to make it stand out more.

One thing I wanted to address was the typeface. I used Helvetica. I really liked this choice because it was a large font family, giving me more options to play with the weights to help gain a sense of hierarchy. However, I did find that it was a large typeface and when looking at some of my peers work  they managed to have more space on the page due to their choice of typeface. I also had a lot of type detailing issues. From this I decided to change it to Gill Sans, another strong typeface in my opinion. This gave me more room on the page and also helped with some of the type detailing issues, although more work is still needed with that.

As well as altering the type I also wanted to play with the quotes I pulled out. I really like the outcome of these as I feel they pop on the page and are much more visually interesting in my opinion. Furthermore, I tried to resolve my d=type detailing issue, but found that justified text was simply not working.

I also had a group tutorial with Neil and some peers. I though on the whole it went well, however, Neil did pick out some key points and questioned the feeling that justified text gave and where we would normally find it i.e. newspapers etc. Upon reflection part of me felt that this piece of ephemera is designed to be informative and for that justified text works. On the other hand left align text has a much more humanistic feel to it and I thought that as I was dealing with real people, real designers that it should have a more human and fluid feel to it. My peers also pointed out that there was a lack of consistency with the placement of the ‘CINEMA….’ text on each page making it slightly difficult to read. This is something that I will definitely address. Going away from the tutorial I realised that each decision made has an impact of some sort and that I must consider the feeling or emotion that the choices I make have on the audience. It comes down to having a deeper understanding of people and society in general. This is not a mindset that I am used to having and therefore I believe that with practice and time this will strengthen within my work.


Changing the alignment of text does give the ephemera piece a different feel, through feeling more relaxed and fluid. However, I still found that there was more work to be done with the type detailing, such as ensuring the rag was to a high standard etc.

I felt that once I’d corrected the errors, it was a great improvement. I was given pointers by David to look out for widows and orphans and also lines that ended with one word as the start to a new sentence as this prevented disjointed reading and are important elements to note with type detailing. He also noted that there was a lack of consistency with Felix Pfaeffli and Eike König compared to the other names due to the kerning, hence the change seen above. I agree with the comments David made and I am happy with the change. Although there is now a consistency, I still feel there is a variety between the style of typography between each designer, which I am pleased with.

The final element of the booklet was the back and front cover. Initially I was pleased with my designs. However, after speaking to David, he said I should place the both the designboom logo and chapter logo on the back and that the social media links didn’t need to go along the side, although he could see that I was trying to create balance. With the front cover he suggested I play with the hierarchy a little more, especially with the text in the bottom left corner. He also made a point about playing with the words ‘presents’ and ‘festival’ through rotation perhaps.

I took on board all of the comments and played with the two covers. I am much happier with these. I feel they are more refined and stand out a little more as there is a stronger sense of hierarchy.

Here is the final piece. I printed on to light green coloured paper as I wanted the text to stand out and felt a bold colour would detract from that. Although the print quality is not great on the whole I am pleased with my design. I feel it is clean, has plenty of negative space to aid the design. I am also pleased with the experimentation of typography, although I do wonder if I could have pushed it further. I also think that the type detailing has been executed well, although there may still be areas I could work on.

On the whole, I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and the restricted parameters given to work in were a challenge and I like a challenge. I have never designed or been faced with a brief like this before and therefore it has been a huge learning kerb for me. I now understand why there is a need for a grid system and have gained a deeper understanding into what is required when designing for a client and target audience. I felt Neil really opened my mind into a different way of thinking and approaching a given design brief, which I will take with me whenever I am given a brief.

Typography Workshop

On 29th November I took part in a workshop that took a more traditional approach to typography. We were asked to listen to different audio clips and depict the tone of what was said typographically through playing with scale, boldness and placement of type.

Overall, I found it to be a fun activity that really made me think about the way type can portray the tone of speech. It was a little difficult to really capture the essence of what was said and how it was said, but the more I did it the more I felt I was able to pick up on the subtle hints within the voice. I also enjoyed using ink and a paintbrush as it gave the pieces an organic feel and was nice to take a step away from digital media .

I was pleased with the outcomes I created, particularly the last one as I felt I managed to capture the way the message was spoken and conveyed that on paper. I was given positive feedback regarding the piece as I was told I managed to visualise what was said and the way in which was said.

Moving on from this, I think it is definitely a good exercise to complete as it develops skills in being able to hear subtleties within speech and is also nice to work in a traditional format every now and then. In terms of the brief I think it has helped to give an insight into what can potentially be created typographically, for examples with quotes etc. It allows for another level of play and experimentation within the piece and can help convey to an audience the tone of what is said. It is something I will consider using for the project and may experiment with it.



Ephemera Project – Hierarchy Recap

Today we had a recap of hierarchy within editorial design. It was good to have a refresh on the elements needed and the considerations that are needed in order to ensure good design is achieved.

During the morning we completed two workshops, the first focused on our leading and rag when we had to rearrange a paragraph of text.


I found the task to be quite challenging, but overall was fun and really got me thinking about the finer details in type that will need to be considered for this brief. I am pleased with my leading and was given very positive feedback, however, I do think that the rag can be improved and is something that I did not consider as strongly when completing the task.

The second workshop focused on layout and completing both symmetrical and asymmetrical layouts. We were asked to create either two portraits and a landscape piece or two landscapes and portrait piece.

I really enjoyed the workshop as it embedded what we learnt in the opening discussion about layout. It allowed me to really understand the difference between asymmetrical and symmetrical layouts and the visual impacts they both have. I now also realise the impact that negative space has on the page. It can really aid and improve a design and is a key element to remember when designing for my given brief.

Out of all the pieces I created, my personal favourite is the top left layout. I like how the typography has been used to emphasise what the text reads and I also like the negative space, which helps to create a flow from the top of the page to the bottom as each element on the page connects to one another.

We then had to work in pairs and select a piece that our partner had created that we thought could be improved.

I worked with Ffion and the image on the left is the original. I felt that on the whole the piece was symmetrical, but I thought that it was too linear, reading from top to bottom. Therefore as can be seen in the image on the right, I made a simple change by rearranging the elements on the page. I thought the heading worked better in the centre to grab the viewers attention. After discussing the change with Ffion she agreed and said overall it had more of an impact.

This was the piece that Ffion improved and as can be seen clearly, she has moved the image and heading to be next to the sub heading. I much prefer the change she has implemented. There is a stronger flow between the elements and it reads much better and is not as disjointed as the original design. I also prefer the negative space in the improved design.

Overall I feel I have benefited from the workshops completed, it has introduced me to designing layouts; something I have never done previously, and to remember all the considerations that need to be taken such as the detailing in leading, the rag etc. hierarchy and the overall layout. At first it was overwhelming but when broken down feels more achievable and so are all things I will remember to consider for this given brief and future briefs.

Type Specimen Review

On submission of my type specimen poster, I was given formative feedback on the overall design.

I was told that the ‘1902’ within my first paragraph needed to be dealt with as it looked odd in comparison to the rest of the paragraph – which I completely agree with and picked up myself upon reviewing my work.

I was also told that he didn’t like the way the ‘1902’ and ‘Morris Fuller Benton’ were touching the white lines and was told that there should be a gap or to alter the colour. I personally disagree with this remark on the basis that they are acting as lines coming off the extended descender, however, I do think that altering the colour to a light grey would work quite well and maybe not make them so tight to the descender.

One remark was about altering the levels of grey in the letterforms that surround the letter ‘g’. I completely agree with this, I now fully understand the importance of printing proofs and can see how printed documents differ from the screen. It is a simple adjustment, but one that could have been avoided.

As I commented in my last blog about the image of ‘The Dark Knight’ being too small, this was also pointed out to me and is again a very simple adjustment to make.

Another comment was about trying to create more anchor points through aligning some of the paragraphs with other elements on the page to create more structure and a flow for the eyes. This is something I attempted to do but only with the special characters and letters in the two corners of the page, I did overlook the other elements and I can understand his viewpoint, I will try to amend this, but I am unsure if I will be able to get everything in alignment.

There were also strong points given to me in regards to using the extended descender line and placing the titles of the paragraphs on the side rather than above. I was also complimented on my attention to detail with the spacing in the paragraphs and also the alignment of the titles in comparison to the paragraphs.

Overall, I am relatively happy with my feedback, I found it frustrating that some of the issues brought forward were so small that I feel I should not have made them in the first place. However, with some, such as the anchor points, it was not something that occurred to me and I am glad that it was brought forward as it will now be something that I’ll look out for in future projects. I am not too concerned about the minor errors made as they are all things that I will learn from and will keep a mental note of for future references.


Here is the reviewed draft of the type specimen. I have altered the levels of opacity of the the letters behind the ‘g’ to make them stand out more, I have also made the ‘Morris Fuller Benton’ and ‘1902’ a light grey colour in order to differentiate them from the extended descender. I have also tried to improve the anchor points with the ‘Morris Fuller Benton’ and the Classification paragraph now in line and I have tried to get the bottom of the letter ‘g’ in line with the History paragraph. I have resized and moved the ‘Dark Knight’ image so that it corresponds with my name and course title in the opposite corner (top left) this is so that page doesn’t become weighted or uneven. Finally I have altered the rag in the History paragraph to make it flow better.

All in all I am happier with the changes that I have made. Although they are quite small changes, they do make a difference to the type specimen and takes it to the next level.