Changing Faces – Type and Layout

With starting the new editorial project we were given a refresh and presentation on type detailing and layout, which included line lengths, what made a tidy piece of text, the path for the eye, and grid systems. To start the workshop we looked at various well designed magazines and ephemera spread across some tables. It gave us inspiration for what we were going to be getting up to in the next task that was set.

We were briefed with setting a piece of text from ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens into a B5 sized page created on InDesign. The benefit with using InDesign is that you can set columns, margins and gutters to your preferences meaning your grid system can remain consistent over the document. In pairs we put the text into an InDesign document to find as many possibilities of what would look like a professionally designed editorial piece on a single page.

Here are the outcomes me and my friend came up with:


We both felt that the final design which you see above was the best out of the three. The type detailing was fairly strong and it reflected on the piece of text from the traditional novel by a well respected author. With the first paragraph, we decided to treat it like a stand-first. A stand-first is an introductory paragraph in an article in larger or bolder capitals, summarising the piece of text. We were commended at the end of the workshop on our strong choice of layout for the piece of text, with the underlining of the heading and sub-heading acting as a small break so the reader could clearly see where the heading ended and the text started. We also thought it made the design of the layout look more interesting and engaging.

Before the workshop I looked at various double page magazine and newspaper spreads online and on Pinterest. I put a board together for the project for possible ideas and designs I could take inspiration from to inform my own creative thinking and development of ideas and outcomes. I looked at 5 double page layouts and designs, each of which were unique in their layouts.


The first magazine layout caught my eye because of the simplicity of the design and the negative space which created a sense of breathing space for the reader. The speech marks were prominent in making the double page more interesting, yet not a distraction from the piece of text on the right page. I also like how lines were used to break the subheading at the top from the article below.

The next layout I chose differed to first one I chose. The designer has decided to make use of positive space in this layout. You might think that what looks like painted text in the background is the title of the article, however it didn’t specify exactly what the manifesto was about. As you can see it was a ‘Water Manifesto’, which is of course the title of the piece. Although the text in the background was the first thing that grabbed my attention, it summarised the near conclusion of the manifesto. There are various other callouts in the design, however they don’t gain as much attraction as ‘THINK & ACT’ in the background. Usually you would not encounter handwritten text in an article or piece of writing because of its frequent illegibility, informality, and how word processing is a much faster method to use to process text. This was likely created in illustrator with a think point bristle brush, digitally created with the aid of a graphics tablet. I love the nature of the handwritten text in this piece, making it not just personal for the designer or typographer, but also for the reader. It reminds me of protest posters and handwritten text on cardboard used in public protests. In terms of the layout, I like how the text is divided up nicely, which gives the sense of the reader being able to take it in short paragraphs. I like how the photo is aligned in the centre of the page below the text.

For the third one I chose, I liked the balance of space. As with the first layout I looked at, this design also made use of lines to break up the text which made the piece look modern and contemporary and also assisted in balancing the space over the two pages. I like the clear definition between bold, semibold and regular text. What grabbed my attention the most was reading the callout stretching over the first page and onto the first half of the second page. This worked well in encouraging the reader to move onto the second page and served as balancing the use of space, especially with the use of bold text.

With the fourth layout design I chose. what caught my attention was the way the text surrounded the callout creating an interesting shape for the gutters of the columns. I like how the photo on the first page took up all the space, leaving the attention seeking to the second page. What I found interesting was how the designer highlighted the heading in black with the text being white. It was extremely eye-catching and made it differ to the rest of the text on the page. I didn’t particularly see any black background layouts, which is why it was interesting to see this element of colour choice.

The final layout I chose for its originality. The really likes how the photo was edited so the darks were changed to reds, and how the same red used in that picture was used in the handwritten text on the right page. I liked how text overlapped the photo and the overlapped callouts on the right page. As I was saying about handwritten text, its personal for not just the designer but it has significance on how you can change the readers perspective, feelings, and emotions on a topic. Red is a persuasive colour but I loved how the red had a warmer orange tone to it to make it seem like a less serious topic. An example of where a serious red would be used would be in the Labour Party campaigning for the UK Government. As with the third layout I chose, I like how the space has been balanced by chaining the ligature of pieces of text in the design. Negative space in this piece is used very creatively due to the shapes created by the text.

I liked all the designs in different ways. What I notices with the layouts I chose was that the majority only use a two column hierarchy. This makes it easy to create negative space, keeping the reader engaged.


Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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