Thursday, November 24, 2011


Patterns have always been used in design and the visual arts in general. Whether they are used to add visual appeal or detail, balance out the layout, express a brand, add order and organization or a hand-created element, patterns enhance the beauty and individuality to any piece. I see them in graphic design more and more as time passes, especially in ways that have been hand-created or that use the logo as the pattern element. They are shown as standing out or subtle, depending on the use and brand.

Patterns are a smart way to add punch to the second side of a piece or to an element that might otherwise be overlooked, like the belly band, wrapper or packaging. Patterns show that all parts of the design should be taken into account.

The idea of using them in a space for branding, rather than just on traditional identity elements, is also something I am seeing as a trend.

Below are some examples of ones I have collected recently.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Retro Advertising and Concert Posters

While working on an ongoing personal project involving some retro graphics, I came across some really inspiring examples. Some were what would be associated with retro advertising immediately. With script typefaces and divided space between the image and the copy, they were kind of what I was expecting to find.

They moved me in one direction with the idea to recreate graphics and a style that depended more on hand-drawn illustrations and fonts. Then I came across these examples from 1950s concert posters. I had of course seen examples before, but I never quite appreciated them in terms of being retro but still very different from the typical take on the design.

Most focused around early rock and roll and the African American movement of music into the mainstream. I love the bright colors (yellow, pink, lime green) in combination with black and white photography. The use of block sans serifs also struck me as fairly modern. In combination they make for an interesting grouping of information in a layout while still being dynamic and lively. The additional bursts and lines in some was also very expressive.

I was excited to find an old retro design aesthetic that I do not often seen replicated. With the advent of Mad Men, retro chic is back. Retro furniture, fashion and design are in groove right now and I find it refreshing to find an example that has not been replicated in popular culture with as much saturation. It keeps me thinking and passionate to find new inspiration!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scripts and Slab Serifs

I used to feel like good design had to have a sans-serif or better yet, a condensed, bold sans-serif. It looked modern, clean but also strong and filled up the page with a lovely dark element to contrast the white space. Now, the wonderful trend has been towards a small touch of a script typeface in combination with a slab-serif. Sometimes they are used together and sometimes individually, but either way, the design trend is refreshing.

Script typefaces (I happen to be a sucker for anything hand-drawn as well) can be sophisticated, modern, smooth and adds a touch of individuality to a design.

Script typefaces also remind modern designs of something traditional which I love to see as a designer. As technology becomes more and more prevalent, these small touches of curves and flourishes keep the communication pieces special and more targeted in their approach.

Slab-serifs have a completely different feel. They are stronger, bolder and offer a lot of structure to a design. They also are great to use to stack and line up elements. The right ones can have a very indie vibe to them and seem to work in combination with script and light typefaces. Overall, they are a versatile choice for an identity design or headline.

One thing is for certain, typefaces go through trends and the minute you pick up on one, another one becomes popular. Scripts and slab-serifs are very popular now, but in my design heart, they will always have their perfect use and place in the right communication piece.