A few weeks ago now Penguin published a new series of George Orwell’s books with covers designed by David Pearson. We’d had a talk by Pearson last year at Uni so I was already aware, and a huge fan, of his work but one cover really stood out from the set. This was the redesign of Nineteen Eighty-Four which brilliantly reflects the key concept of the book by censoring the title and author:

1984 person's new coverFor me this is pretty much perfect design – it’s simple, clever and stands out from a distance but has another element of interest when inspected.

It’s been done by black foiling which means the title can be read at certain angles:

1984 new cover The title is also printed on the spine which is often what’s on display in book shops and libraries, making the design practical in context. Interestingly, the redesign has received criticism that it wouldn’t work with the trend towards online shopping but actually I disagree and think it might actually be where it works best. Very rarely, in my experience, do you ‘browse’ books online I think often you browse in store and then type a specific title into an online store to see if it’s any cheaper – in which case it doesn’t matter what the cover looks like on screen!

For me a cover should intrigue and let a small insight into the book’s narrative without giving away too much. With a classic this balance might be easier to find as often any ‘twists’ are known before you read the book, but I think it’s something that Pearson has perfected on this cover.

However, all this might be a load of garbage as yesterday my Mum came home with a copy given to her from a book club. I was very excited to see the design in the flesh and was quick to sing its praises. My mum, who is quite design savvy and is interested (to an extent!) in design, looked confused for a minute and then admitted she had thought it was a ‘duff’ copy and the book club had got them cheap because of the printing error!

Perhaps this scenario would have been different had she seen the book on shelf and known the design was intentional but it did make me question how effective design is, if no-one ever realises it is design!

That all being said I still think the cover is complete genius and continue to love Pearson’s work. The full collection can be seen on Creative Review.




Saving Lives at Sea – A Typography Project

As promised here’s the other project I’ve been working on for the past semester. This was broken up into 3 parts: a poster, a catalogue and a typographic installation. There are some issues with ‘of’s in Bell MT italic, I’m not sure why but they randomly shift to the right when exporting (annoyingly because they all needed kerning individually!!) so I’m aware these can look bad in places!

I’ve shown a few bits of these projects along the way but these are my final outcomes. The three sections didn’t have to have a link but they could have a similar style or connecting features if we wanted.

My poster is probably the weakest part of the project, you can see the evolution of it starting with this post and carrying on in this post. I’m happy with the hierarchy and the general attention to detail but I think it lacks impact:

saving lives at sea typographic poster

This uses the same colour scheme as my catalogue. I was generally pleased with the outcome of my catalogue., you can read more about the grid and typefaces I used as well as various other features in my earlier post here. I changed a lot of the photography for my final catalogue as I felt the images were stronger. There are hundreds of tiny changes and tweaks throughout! One thing I liked but didn’t mention in my earlier post is the use of catchwords throughout the extract pages, they’re used on the bottom of a page to tell you the first word(s) of the next page, sadly they’re no longer used in books but I’d love to see them back.

Click for larger images:

Saving lives at sea catalogueFinalbookletspreads_Page_02Finalbookletspreads_Page_03Finalbookletspreads_Page_04Finalbookletspreads_Page_05Finalbookletspreads_Page_06Finalbookletspreads_Page_07Finalbookletspreads_Page_08Finalbookletspreads_Page_09Finalbookletspreads_Page_10Finalbookletspreads_Page_11Finalbookletspreads_Page_12Finalbookletspreads_Page_13Finalbookletspreads_Page_14Finalbookletspreads_Page_15Finalbookletspreads_Page_16Finalbookletspreads_Page_17Finalbookletspreads_Page_18The final part of the project was Type in the Environment. For this we had to take a story or text that we wanted to show typographically and put it in a place that helped tell the story. The materials we used and the typography also had to be considered to best reflect the story or the feel we were trying to create.

I decided that I wanted my typographic piece to serve some sort of purpose and to do more than just look pretty so I settled on a quote from the founder of the RNLI that was all about the dangers of the sea. I wanted this to act as a warning but also to celebrate the heroism of the members of the RNLI. One of the biggest RNLI disasters was the Penlee Disaster so I decided to situated the quote there to remind villagers of Mousehole (the place many of the RNLI members were from) of the bravery and to keep the story alive through the generations.

The installation was also there to promote the Saving Lives at Sea exhibition so I used a typeface that I liked from a plaque outside the National Maritime Museum (where the exhibition will be held.) I couldn’t find the right typeface so I wrote the quote out by hand and then used illustrator to neaten it up!

The quote before:

Hand rendered type


The quote after:

Hand rendered typeYou might have noticed that I used this as the endpages for my catalogue, this was an attempt to link the two together but also just because I thought it looked nice! I had a few problems with rivers and I tried lots of things to avoid them but more kept appearing so this was the best I could get it!

The typographic inspiration came from this plaque:

plaqueThe problem with the condensed typography is that it’s quite difficult to read so I decided that this should stay as a plaque:

typographic plaqueTo make the text come to life I decided to take the most emotive words and place them along the pier in Mousehole, reflecting the plaque. To make them serve their purpose as a warning and not an eyesore I found a medium called rust oleum, which only shows up when wet. This means that the message would only be displayed in bad weather, when it is actually relevant.

The words I picked out:

letteringIn context:

typographic installation


If you missed my post on my consumerism work you can find that here, if not, you’re fully up to date with my life / work! I hope you like what I’ve been up to and I’d love to hear your feedback!






New Year, New Post.

I got my blog stats in the other day that tell me all sorts of exciting things about views and popular posts during the year. If you’re interested in that kind of thing then have a nosy here. Anyway it gave me a bit of a kick to start posting again so what better day than new year? (Although I have to make it clear it’s not a resolution because I don’t like them. They seem silly and are nearly always broken by the 5th of January anyway!)

So for this post I thought I’d show a nice bit of topical packaging that I don’t think many of you will appreciate seeing today!

Created by Brandhouse, an agency I was unfamiliar with up until now, for Berry Bros. & Rudd this packaging really stood out on the shelf and made me interested to find out more about the brand and product.

Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 20.21.29Their brief was to create the most premium gin brand from a company that had over 300 years experience in wine and spirit making, which is pretty much a dream brief for anybody, I’d imagine. Brandhouse based the brand around the location of the company, working with the address, maps and even a key embossed into each bottle.

brandhouse gin packaging


I love the typography on the label and the way it continues to reflect the idea of heritage and ‘London.’brandhouse gin packagingI also particularly like the way the key concept is taken to the primary packaging using a really simple keyhole die-cut.Brandhouse dry gin packagingReally nice stuff and hopefully you’ll agree, a good start to the year!