What is a magazine?

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the organisation that gives the official tally of who sold how many, the digital version of a magazine isn’t a version of its print sibling if it has ‘five percent less content or fifteen percent more content than the physical edition’. I see the logic behind this –…

Invisible ink – still lots of fun!

I bet at least some of you experimented a little with invisible ink when you were young. Lemon juice was my chosen method, because it was easy, but mainly because I didn’t really know anything else. It dried clear, but heating the paper brought out the writing or drawing in brown. It was good, schoolboy…

Microsoft logo design history

Back on August 23rd (note: this was written in 2012) Microsoft announced something new. It wasn’t software, and it wasn’t hardware: it was a new corporate logo, launched officially as it opened its new store in Boston, Massachusets. Technically it appeared in July on new keyboards and mice, but a slight fudging of the unveiling…

Video vs text? Fight!

What’s the future of text? I’m going to be talking about this at a seminar in October, and it’s a fascinating subject. But right now I’m thinking about something a bit different: as things go increasingly digital, will video take over traditional magazine content? Strange question. Here’s where it came from: an ex-student of mine…

Tattoo design

Would I get a tattoo? I don’t have a specific thing in mind, but the concept is an interesting one: can I come up with a design that I’d like to apply to my body? Something that I can’t change, at least not at all easily? That’s a tough one… as a designer I’m used…

Digital skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphism is probably not a word you’ve heard much in your life. Not until summer 2011, anyway, when it took the Mac world by storm, thanks to Apple’s design retro-realism in key parts of Lion and iOS5. A skeuomorph is, in a nutshell, something that retains ornamental design cues to something that was necessary in…

Signage design is a creative challenge

Where are you going? I don’t mean in the metaphysical sense, that’s too deep for right now. I mean do you know what direction you’re facing, where you should be heading, that sort of thing? When did you last glance at a sign or a map? Some people have what’s called a ‘good sense of…

Book binding tips, tricks, advice and secrets

I love what’s possible in digital design and production, but the truth is there’s something that digital products lack when compared with print. This missing quality is tactility, the effect of touch and physical behaviour as a part of the overall experience. Even in print this is all too often forgotten as a part of…

Print effects without ink?

How can you print without using ink, without applying some kind of colour to a surface? There are two processes that come to mind: embossing and die-cutting. They’re not generally options we get to play with as a rule, but that’s no reason not to look into the possibilities. Embossing can be done with print…

White space is not a lazy designer’s excuse

There’s a handy saying that I learned many years ago: “when in doubt, leave it out”. It was said about writing, encouraging people to cut out superfluous waffle, and it is something that’s well worth remembering. It could also be said about designing, particularly when it comes to page layout design. White space, sometimes called…