Typography work...Does it work? Do you get it?

missgiggles's picture

It's a book on the theme 'first'. Can you guess what they are and are they good enough? Or is there more better typographical ways, to convey the message? Please tell me if you think I should sort out my kerning, leading, tracking etc.

typerror's picture

Did you know that only 3 of the stacks were functional?

They said 3 did not look right so they added a fourth!


missgiggles's picture

Hmm... so you're saying I should have 3 functional funnels and 1 to represent the 'non-functional' one. Do you think I should have 4 portholes with body copy? Does it look funny with just 3 portholes and 4 funnels? Am I going against the rules of design in some way?

typerror's picture

No no no. I was just pointing out that on the Titanic only 3 of the stacks were functional. It was just a tidbit that I learned from my 9 year old OCD son. But maybe you could use a greyed out stack as he says that the one in the back was not functional.


aluminum's picture

These are nice.

GarrettCobarr's picture

Very nice and yes they do work, very clever.

missgiggles's picture

Do you really think so? I feel like a bad designer the way my fellow class mates crit me on my work. I felt sooooooo bad, sooooo bad a designer, I felt sick to the pit of my stomach. I cried myself to sleep thinking I was the worse design student ever. I have a few more to go which I will post on here as I go along. I hope they work just as well. Please identify problems with my kerning, tracking, leading etc. All feedback welcome. My initial concept is a book that opens up into an A1 sheet, 1 paper to tie in with the 'first/1' theme and 1 colour, it being pantone No 1 but that colour seems so dull and uninteresting. I have thought of printing with gold ink onto a coloured paper like deep purple to represent 'quality', 'the best' as in royalty but not royalty literally. Good idea or bad? I know it will take away the concept of 'pantone No 1' but then I could say '1 colour only' instead. I know silver on light grey looks sophisticated and stylish but silver doesn't represent No1 or FIRST beacuse you would get a gold medal for coming first in a race, for instance. Yaay or naaay?

PS Michael: It's okay. Thanks for the added info. It's always nice to know the extras :)

Miss Tiffany's picture

The top most would be more interesting if you drew the entire thing in the same style as the trail lines and smoke. I'd also reconsider the figure 1 that you've used. Maybe a sharper or pointier version, without so much stroke on the left.

missgiggles's picture

Tiffany: A serif? Caslon etc?

aluminum's picture

"I cried myself to sleep"

Hmm...methinks you're being a tad too hard on yourself. Part of being a successful designer is knowing how to both give and take critiques...and then, ignoring the bad critiques that you don't like ;o)

Some random suggestions that may or may not be worth it:

- instead of the 'squiggles' for flames, what if you found some paranthesis/brackes from a swash typeface to keep with the 'all type' theme?

- perhaps MAN KIND can be flared out like rocket fins. Maybe use something with extreme angles like Avant Garde

missgiggles's picture

Darrel, I can take critiques. That's why I have my work up here. It's just finishing the degree seems like a chore at the moment with 5 yrs coming to an end. It's simply physically and mentally exhausting and so when I had a crit with my fellow class mates, I think I was feeling too emotional knowing how much work needed doing and time being an issue I guess. Oh well...back to the subject of the work above, I know the kerning, tracking etc needs sorting on the rocket image. I have thought of using type for the fins but it doesn't read right 'so some said'. Hmm...I'll keep posting my work on here as I go along.

PS Tiffany, I shall try a pointier 1 but do you not think I should have the same typeface all the way down? I find it really hard to mix and match fonts, as though I don't want to take risks. I'm just scared. Is that funny? Should it come naturally?

Mans's picture

missgiggles, I think your solutions are very good.
In this resolution the kerning and tracking in the rocket works as it is to me. You might want to widen the words that end with L, P and R a little, to fill the gaps in the right side of the rocket. I also think it might be valuable to look at the leading and make sure it is (optically) consistent.

Mixing typefaces can be tricky! In designs like this it might be best to stick to one family. I second Tiffany's suggestions about trying to draw the whole thing by hand, and/or finding a 1 that is more pointed (I'm thinking Eagle or Futura Black). You might get away with just changing the font of the 1, if it is close enough in style to the other font you use.

You could also try tilting the rocket just a little, to make the design more alive.

As regards the ship, it might benefit from some tracking and kerning. The word spacing could be decreased somewhat, especially between THE and UN. As an alternative to the Bodoni, you could try using a 1910's art-deco font, such as Bernhard.

As aluminum so wisely wrote: take the critique that you think is valuable, and ignore the rest. :)

ebensorkin's picture

Conceptually the second one is more elegant because it does everything it needs to just with the type. Very Nice. I wonder if you might loose the swirls at the base of the rocket and replace them with bigger & smaller letter "d"s or periods. Hmmm probably periods. I do like the idea of a tilt. Also you could chop off the arm of the one to make the rocket a simpler more rocket-like shape. Be proud of your good work. :-)

zwoelf's picture

These are great missgigles! I would try the titanic one on a landscape format. Would work better i think.

Chris G's picture

The titanic poster is really good. One of those ideas that you wish you'd had as soon as you see it.

You could try using a colour on the funnels. On the actual ship they had a black band at the top, and were a yellow colour. You could try having just the top letters in black and the remainder in the yellow? The portholes need to be precise rather than hand-drawn looking, as this would sit better with your type.

Very nice!

i cant delete my username's picture

I think Chris is right, the titanic one fits well. Nice choice of typeface. It kinda reminds me of this. Are they supposed to work in series? If so, you may want to think about the color choice between the two. On the first, I would tend to agree with Miss tiffany, the contrails don't seem to match the typeface. Have you tried maybe making the text the actual lunar lander on a giant MANKIND planet?

missgiggles's picture

For the Titanic, I am thinking of using 'women and children first' so not to give it away so easily. What do you think?

Tiffany, Mans and Eben: I know what you mean by using a pointier 1 as this could help eliminate the contrails at the bottom or I could try what Eben suggested about the contrast of lowercase d's. What are periods by the way? Please explain. Thanks.

Zwoelf: As this is an A5 book that folds out into an A1, I had to make a decision on whether they were going to be portrait or landscape. I was reluctant to stick to portrait as they could also be displayed as type posters in their own right.

Chris G: I need to sort my portholes out. I am thinking of photographic portholes rather than illustrations. The thing with using colour is that my book is meant to be one colour only (goldish colour to celebrate excellence) and due to that, I have to try and work ways round it as colour plays an important role when trying to convey a message. Otherwise, teh idea of using yellow at the top would have been great.

Chipman: I used the top of an 'O' for my rocket to sit on but it made it look too complex, thus lacked simplicity. I am still experimenting with my layouts as there's definitely more work to be done to bring it up to perfection. I will try what Eben has suggested but I don't know what 'periods' are. Can someone please explain.

PS Would someone be able to tell me more about the Onyx typeface (titanic poster). I know it was created in 1937 by Gerry Powell but what characteristics does it portray? Is it from the modernist era (by the way...I am no pro, i'm amateur. Please educate me. Thank you.

missgiggles's picture

What are your opinions about this one? I wonder if it is apparent what it is about.

missgiggles's picture

What about this one? I have used a Humanist font to signify the subject. I assume you would all know what it stands for. Is it apparent enough?

I've done many versions.

Trying to replicate more of a metalic feel:

Trying to replicate gold but fake gold:

The pantone 1 colour:

I am printing on specialist paper that's white and has a slight irridescent texture to it with a subtle gold tint.

missgiggles's picture

Would you be able to give me your opinions on the above. What do you think? Thank you.

aluminum's picture

I have no idea what the latter two are about, though my hunch is that they are referring to something particularly British?

They are nice compositions, though!

missgiggles's picture

Oh dear! Seems like bodycopy might be needed. The First things first is the First things First manifesto. The MT, 10, SW1, GB with a female sign (cross like symbol = the FEMALE symbol). Therefore, it equals to Margaret Thatcher, 10 Downing St, Great Britain. She was the 1st FEMALE prime minister in power in the Great Britain. The typeface I have used replicates that of the street signs of London.

mr's picture

The Margaret Thatcher is definitely not as easily "gettable" as the other two. It seems like a riddle more than a commemoration, and to focus more on the incidental -- the address of the 10 Downing Street -- than the central -- the Iron Lady is prime minister.

But it's a great project, and I'd love to see more.

aszszelp's picture

Forgive my ignorance, just some minutes ago I did not even hear about that manifesto.
Why are the letters IST stressed in "fIrST things first" by colour?


i cant delete my username's picture

I think it's meant as 1st. This is the original, here. It was updated, re-published and re-signed in 2000 by Emigre and Ad-Busters.

I'm still thinking about these posters in series. Are they supposed to be? because right now, we have the lunar landing, the titanic, Margaret Thatcher, and an obscure (to the common man) design manifesto that only a select group would understand. The first two seem to have a form that matches an object, while your newer two are purely abstract. I would rethink how the project works together.

I also second the sentiment on the Thatcher composition. The rest are fairly obvious, and don't rely on abbreviations. But then again, I'm American, so obviously I want everything to be centered around what I understand ;)

aszszelp's picture

Ouch, that's clearly the play on 1st... I was thinking in the box.


missgiggles's picture

Szabolcs - It is a play on the 1st as the common F1rst was too obvious.

Chipman: Yes they are random typographic posters celebrating being the 1st for each relevant subject.

I am stuck on my final page. I don't want to have the usual 'By (Name)' etc. I want it to be an April Fools joke that leaves the reader laughing. I need it to be relevant to the 'first ' theme or woyld the April 1st be relevant enough in it's own right? I thought of using the San Serriffe April fools joke by The Guardian newspaper as this would be typographically relevant. Do you think I should base it on a BBC ONE April Fools so to continue the 'one, first' theme? What do you think?

missgiggles's picture

Szabolcs - It is a play on the 1st as the common F1rst with a 1 to represent the 'I' was too obvious.

Chipman: Yes they are random typographic posters celebrating being the 1st for each relevant subject.

I am stuck on my final page. I don't want to have the usual 'By (Name)' etc. I want it to be an April Fools joke that leaves the reader laughing. I need it to be relevant to the 'first ' theme or would the April 1st be relevant enough in it's own right? I thought of using the San Serriffe April fools joke by The Guardian newspaper as this would be typographically relevant. Do you think I should base it on a BBC ONE April Fools so to continue the 'one, first' theme? What do you think?

missgiggles's picture

What do you think if I used First Footing for my april fools one. I know that April fools day was meant to be the 1st day of the year but it got changed to January the 1st. It could work for both. Hmm...what do you think? It can be seen as a historic event like the titanic or the man on the moon. the Maragret Thatcher one...I had thought of doing my type according to the British flag but then it did not spell out 'MARGARET THATCHER'/ I tried the IRON LADY but my tutor wasn't too keen on it unfortunately. She was always seen with a handbag (type in the shape of a handbag)...tutor wasn't too keen on that either.

The First things First manifesto: I have used a humanist font to represent that aspect of the idea and brought out the I S T as it is the front page of my book.

missgiggles's picture

Please view my April Fools idea on the following link:



barkeep's picture

Hello Miss,
I like the idea of the Titanic poster, the text illustration works well, the rest is not so strong. The body copy doesn't compliment the the text illustration. How about a slightly celtic influence style to the body copy seeing as the Titanic was built in Belfast, or even referencing the typography of time (which included some amazing hand drawn work). The gold theme you suggest really doesn't add up for me, and the whole layout seems a little cramped, if it's going to b a poster you need to allow more space all around for the mounting. purple and foil block ( as that the nly real way of getting gold on a poster) again doest fit with the theme, I'd look closer at posters of the time and their colour schemes then update your selection.

It wasn't until you explained what your Maggie Thatcher poster was about until I got it, and I am pretty into my politics.
The poster doesn't in anyway remind me of Maggie, it's far too subtle (she wasn't anything like subtle). If a poster requires an explanation then it's really failed in it's job. I think a poster more influenced by it's era, (the 80's) or even influenced by the highly successful Saatchi & Saatchi campaign would be a more appropriate avenue to explore.

Looking forward to more of your revisions

Andree Ljutica's picture

Your first one is the most successful. For your first things first comp, I would try a franklin or trade gothic type, but Frutiger is nice. Also I like the typesetting where they are not all completely lined up. Secondly I think the Titanic piece needs a lot of work. The typeface is suitable historically, but doesn't lend well to the typesetting you're trying to accomplish. These look good this far though.

Andree Ljutica's picture

I would use both sans serif and serif for the Titanic piece and I don't think you concept will lose integrity. But it's just too busy with that didot or bodoni(whatever you're using).

penn's picture

To save other people time, this was originally posted in May, 2008

Syndicate content Syndicate content