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…

Comic book and showcard fonts

One of the first projects I used to give my Magazine Publishing students involved creating an eight-page graphic novel, done in teams of two. They could use any story they like, anything from a re-imagining of the Jonathan Livingston Seagull story to their bus journey to college. The main focus of the assignment was production…

QR codes: enter the matrix!

Quick Response (QR) barcodes are more interesting than you might think, so it’s worth considering them. Just make sure they work as expected before going live… You’ve probably seen a QR code, even if you don’t know what they are or do. QR codes are basically a two-dimensional form of barcode, with data encoded in…

Walk, Don’t Walk

The curious life and times of Ampelmännchen. I’m in Berlin as I write this, and I’ve noticed something curious about the pedestrian crossing signals here; there are two distinctly different kinds in this city. Both are the expected red and green silhouette variety, but the ones in what was the GDR-controlled East Berlin are curiously…

Creative Design Briefs

In which Keith explores the answers to a question and finds confirmation in a particular typeface design… I was asked an interesting question the other day. “Do you believe that creative briefs hinder the artistic mind?” This had the feel of a set question, and it turned out that this was the case; it was…

Paper Planes: Fly me to the moon…

Paper planes are a fun design exercise – and they’re even heading into space! Recently, purely for my own interests and obsessions, I’ve been putting together a new iPad magazine about longboards and longboarding. That’s very exciting, but there’s something special about working directly with real, tangible, non-virtual paper. Not just by putting ink on paper,…

No natural affordances in iPad magazines

No natural affordances: big problems with digital magazines. The world is going crazy for digital design and publishing. And I have to put my hands up and admit that I’m a fan and a part of that. Creating layouts for the iPad is exciting; there’s a sense of liberation from some of the traditional restrictions…

Static graphics vs animated media

There’s more to creating good animations than most designers think, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. In my experience, many designers — perhaps most of us — harbour a secret desire. No matter how into our particular form of creative mark-making we are, there’s a part of us that wants to work with moving…