Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video How to typeset a list of names: Part one, part of Learning Graphic Design: Techniques.
Today I have everyone's favorite project, (LAUGH), just kidding. And that's to typeset a list of names and titles. We're going to tackle this in 2 parts. We're working on a tall, narrow card, so we'll design the decorative top of the card first. Then add the names to the bottom. This card is for a museum staff. We have a list of names, and along a list with that list we've been given one piece of artwork from the museum collection. You know, a list of names is just not the most exciting thing in the world. And so when you have a really nice piece of art like this it's tempting to focus on the art and minimize the list.
Which can take us down a road that looks like this. Nice big image, just really show it off, a headline across, big clear caption. To make the image and the headline big, we need to have a horizontal bar translucent to not obscure the image too much. Because we've created an overlap, plus some outlines to add definition. And what happens when we do this, is we really start down a slippery slope, because this design isn't based on anything substantial.
I mean there's not a guiding style. We've just made an arrangement to please our own eye. And, we won't be able to transfer the look to other things. The other thing happening here is that the image and words are being smothered by rectangles. You have the dark rectangle containing the artwork. The horizontal headline rectangle. The strong L-shape created by their interaction.
And the rectangles do nothing except get in the way. You have an intense, dark rectangle against a very light rectangle. A rectangular caption that's clear but just floating, rectangles in the white spaces, a typeface, this is times roman but has it been chosen with any purpose? Or just because it was, just because. That's the problem with designing like this. So what we will look at is how to go about this in a more disciplined, lower key way. And to do that, because it really is a list of names and titles. We're going to focus on fine typeography.
So, we'll erase everything and start over just by putting a header bar across the top. Simple bar, single line, edge to edge divides the page into 2 pieces. And we'll set our headline at the head of the cart. This type phase is Adobe Jenson Pro Bold, it's a classic old style typeface. Well suited for the organic nature of a museum. Finally rendered Serif's in very detail. It's a very sturdy looking type, like it will last. It has modern contrast between the boldest and thinnest strokes. It's all organic, I mean, there are no straight lines. Nothing mechanical, nothing repetitive.
It's what you see in things made by a human hand. Below it is Adobe Jensen Pro Lite in lower case. And when it's lower case in this small, all the detail is concentrated. You know it's busier and there's a different texture to this line and to the one above it. And it forms kind of a cool contrast using just a single type phase. You know a single type family. It's a contrast of texture. Next step is to add some panorama to the title.
What we've done is added white space between the letters which creates a panoramic look. It's kind of grand, kind of titling style. You'll hear me say this often, in design white space is visual silence. So in making it panoramic, we've made it quieter than what it was before. Appropriate for a museum, look at it again. When it's set normally, and then in panorama.
The art work is a handsome piece, but this rectangle that it's in. Especially being so dark, creates a massive block on the page that has nothing to do with the art, and in fact, diminishes it. So, our first step will be to get rid of the rectangle and just place the artwork on the card. What a difference I mean it's like its became real, a real object. What's cool about this is it looks like its sitting right on the card and so we have some contrast between the 3D of the art and the flat surface of the card. Next step it to move it up here, which interrupts and softens this edge. What this gives us is a beautiful, organic shape that connects top and bottom of the card in a simple, low key, rather elegant way. And now the artwork is the focal point of the card without overpowering it, you know, without dominating it.
Now what we want is to color the bar to correspond better to the artwork. To do that, we sample a color from the artwork and apply it to the bar. This dark taupe is really an ideal color for this, because there's contrast between the wood And the bar and the background. There are a lot of tones in this artwork that you could sample. If it were darker, it would tend to compete with the art. If it were lighter, it would go kind of flat and force us to make the type dark.
They're both okay, not really the cool look that we want. So we'll go back to that original taupey color. The white type adds some dimension and makes some nice, clear contrasts. Final step for the top of the card is to set the caption beneath the picture, this is the same Adobe Jenson typeface which ties it all together. A cool thing; we've picked color out of the artwork to color the title of the piece, and left the location of our museum in gray type.
So we have some contrast and dimension here too. And now when we take a look at the top of the card we can see we're off to a very good start. Tall, narrow card, tall artwork, everything centered. It's quiet, it's dignified. Now we're ready to typeset the list of names and titles that go on this card.
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- How to design a logo fast
- Designing a business card
- Understanding the power of empty space
- Typesetting a list of names
- Working around a weak photo