Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Designing a minimalist calendar, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Nigel] Hi there, welcome to Type Tips! My name is Nigel French, and in this episode I'm going to show you how we can make a minimalist, compact calendar. This is my finished version, let me just talk you through it. I've tried to be as sparing as possible here, and use only the very essential information, but it does have it's own internal logic, which once you get used to it, is very easy to navigate.
I have here a 28 column grid. Now, that might sound like a lot, a little bit overwhelming perhaps, but here's how it breaks down. In the outside columns, occupying a single column each, I have my day grid, Monday through Sunday, running down the outside columns. Then, we have a blank column either side of those, and then each month occupies two column widths.
For each month, I have this red line running through the month, and I'm differentiating the weekends by making them go on the right side of that rule, and the weekdays are on the left side of that rule. This starting position of the numbers in the month is according to what day of the week the month begins on. Switching now to my starting state, first of all, I need numbers one through 31.
So, I'll switch to my type tool, and I will click and drag to create a text fame of two columns width, and now I'm going to come to my paragraph formats, and to my numbered list. Optional, ALT click on my bullets and numbering, choose numbers, I'm going to delete the period and the tab, which follows the number; all I want is the number itself.
The format, I'm going to have it as a two-digit format, I'm choosing this just because it makes the numbers align under each other in a more pleasing way. I go ahead and click okay to that. Now, I'm just going to press my return key, as many times as necessary, to give me 31 numbers. I'll select these, and then I'm going to come to my character formats, I'm going to make these Filson Pro Regular, 18 point, on an 18 point letting.
As you can see, I have a base line grid set up, I'm going to lock the numbers to that grid. Then, I'll come and create a style for that, and apply that style to the selection. Now, at this point, I no longer need those numbers to be numbers, and in fact, if they remain auto-numbers, that might be a bit limiting for me. I'm going to come to the type menu and down to bulleted and numbered lists, and convert my numbering to text.
I want to make sure that I am using tabular numbers, so that they align beneath each other. Currently, you can see that 11, for example, is not aligning underneath 10. So, I'll come to my open type options and chose tabular lining as the number style, and then I will redefine the style. The next thing I want to do is add that vertical rule, and this is done with a border, and this trick really is the essence of this tip.
Borders are a relatively new feature in design, and you may still be getting used to using them. I'm going to hold down my optional ALT key and click on border, I'll check the border box, and that's going to give me a border around all four sides of my type. I'll come and break the chain, because I only need the border on the right-hand side, and I would like it's white to be a half-point, I would like it's color to be red.
Now, to position it, I need to specify the offset, I just need to offset it on the right-hand side, so once again, I'll break the chain. There is some trial and error involved here, in getting this just right, but having gone through that, I can tell you that the value that I want is minus 37 points, and you can see that that places that rule between those two columns. I'll now go ahead and click okay, this is currently an override to my style definition, I'll right click and redefine that as the style, so I now the rule running down the right-hand side of my column.
I now need to make a variant of the style for the weekends, and if I just refer to my finished version, I can remind myself that the first weekend in January is the fifth and sixth, and actually the month begins on a Tuesday. Let me move this down, so that it begins on a Tuesday, and then I'll select the fifth. I'll come and change the tint to 50% and I will right-align the text.
Now I going to define this as a separate style, and I can apply this where appropriate. So, having done that, it really now is just a question of repeating this for each of the months and, in addition, I decided that I wanted to bring each piece of type a bit closer to that rule.
So, in the case of the days of the week, I added in a let indent of six points. In the case of the weekends, I make that a right indent of also six points. Having created these styles, it's just now a question of going through and applying them, then duplicating this month.
Obviously, making sure that you have the right number of days in each of the months and applying the appropriate style to the appropriate day of the week. I'm going to come to my layers panel now, and I'll turn on my second layer, where we can see that we have all of the numbers in place, and then just to give it a bit more context, I have on a separate layer, added in the months of the year, and you can see that these are rotated through 90 degrees and through minus 90 degrees on the bottom, and the year itself.
The points I want to make here, are we have the auto-numbering trick, to give me my numbers for the month in the first instance. Then we have the border trick, where we have the vertical rule running between the column, and then, thirdly, we also see the use of tabular numbers and how important that is so that the numbers stack up on top of each other.