Month: February 2014

One Step Closer

This week 3 words resonated throughout the Branding Design lecture, confidence, experience and observation. Building confidence through repetition and not being afraid to go beyond your limits; increasing your experience by being willing to test what you are doing and to try something completely different outside your comfort zone, such as using different tools and mediums; being observable of what is going around you, building a library of objects that you find interesting and that interest you.

This lecture geared us towards the creation of our logo for the assignment. As I said earlier being confident is only achievable through repetition and inspiration comes from the elements around you. Quantity is key in building ideas, in fact we were given a sheet with 20 thumbnails in order to draw images that consisted only of circles. Each thumbnail was only to take 15sec (give or take). The end result (for me at least) was a few empty thumbnails with fairly decent images. The purpose of this task was for us to be confident in the sketches we drew within the short time span and to use our surroundings for inspiration. Lesson well learnt!!

What I’m beginning to realise is that in design there is no such thing as a mistake (in a way) until reaching the end result. It is a process that where anything is possible as long as you set your mind to it. I’ve always wanted to nurture the creative element within me, so I guess this is definitely going to help me. Our next task for the next lecture is to come up with 20 different sketches of a logo for a brand of our choice in relation to the assignment. Having no artistic background and the closest I’ve ever come to a sketch was a couple of doodles and stick men, for me this is going to be challenging. I do have 2 brand ideas which need some refinement, however I need to let loose from my rudimentary thinking and explore different approaches for both ideas.

We also had a refresher on the very first lecture we had, which was on the elements and principles of design – and how one must use the principles to manipulate the elements. We viewed an example of a branding guideline for our assignment which was very helpful as I now have a clear understanding on the approach I will be taking.

Quoting my friend “style comes after substance and form is the result of function”, the mantra that I will adopt during my assignment.

Add Some Colour to your Life!

Some Brief History

I come across colour on a daily basis but I never really stopped and wondered about the components of colour. Colour theory dates back before the 15th Century and encompasses mathematics, physics and chemistry. The Bauhaus school understood how colour is formed and the relationship between the different colours. Staff and students in the Bauhaus movement developed colour theories that evoke particular moods and emotions in conjunction with different architectural forms and designs.

Colour Systems

There are 2 primary colour systems by which is colour is reproduced.

Additive – Any source that emits or radiates light uses additive colours. Example a monitor uses additive colour to generate all the colours that you are capable of seeing. The colour reproduced varies according to the wavelength of that particular light source within the visible light spectrum – that is visible to the human eye. A mixture of the different wavelengths creates different colours.

The additive colour is based on the primary colours Red, Green and Blue (RGB). The RGB values are widely used in anything that is represented on screen.  It is based on decimal numbers and is related to the pixels on the screen. So for example when the Red value is set to 255 a pixel on screen is turned on. RGB can be set either in decimal or hexadecimal format. In additive colours, white is a combination of R, G, B set to 255 respectively and black is the absence of colour where R,G,B are set to 0 respectively.


The other colour system is subtractive and works on the basis of reflected light.  Meaning that a particular colour pigment reflects different light wavelengths that determine the apparent colour to the human eye. Example how colour is seen on printed material such as a book or magazine. Subtractive colour has three primary colours, which are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow (CMY). Contrary to RGB, white is the absence of colour, while black is the combination of colour. There is a 4th element K (key) – CMYK, which is essentially black.


The colour wheel shows the relationships between colours. As I wrote in my previous blog post, the colour wheel is comprised of the primary, secondary and tertiary colours. The colours that are complementary to each other are apposite to each other, those that are analogous to each other are adjacent.

Components to a Colour

There are different shades/tints, saturations and hues to a colour, which lead to the three primary components of colour.

Hue: This represents the actual base colour without any tint or shade. For example a perfect colour of yellow will be positioned at 56° on the colour wheel.

Saturation: How saturated or rich the colour is – the perceived intensity of a colour. A low saturation is less of the overall colour, when a colour is fully desaturated the colour eventually becomes grey. Saturation is a percentage between 0 and 100%. At 0% saturation the colour becomes grey.

Brightness: How bright a colour is and is also represented between 0 and 100%. Example a green colour at 0% brightness is black, while the same green hue and saturation at 100% brightness will be the full green colour.

 Hue saturation

There are online colour mixing tools to help designers (and myself) to come up with colour combination choices. The Adobe Kuler aids to generate an entire colour scheme from a single base colour, you can also upload images and extract colours from them and is also integrated with the Adobe Creative Suite. There is also Color on the Web that accepts a single colour in hexadecimal or RGB and outputs a set of schemes to be used for online media.


This is my second blog post and I will be talking about Typography. To be honest I’ve always heard about this buzzword but never truly understood the meaning of typography. In our Branding Design Class we barely touched the surface, but here goes nothing…

From what I can fathom is that typography is a science and an art form in itself, that is concerned with the creation and arrangement of type that fit proportionately together to create words and language. Typography involves arranging type, type design and modifying type glyphs. Arranging type involves changing the point size, leading, width, letter spacing and kerning; while type design is the art of designing typefaces.

Below is a very detailed visual representation of the terms used in typography. x-height, serif, counter, descender, ascender and the stress of a letter are the principal terms in typography, while  loop, spur, tail and link are not as influential.

We also came across the term baseline, which is the line upon which a line of text rests. In most typefaces the descenders of characters such as g or p fall below the baseline. The baseline is the point from which other elements are measured, such as the x-height and leading.

X-Height, Serif and Sans Serif

X-height is the height of a lower case x and determines the visual size of the type, which varies from typeface to typeface. Typefaces that have large x-heights tend to have small ascenders and descenders. Leading (aka line spacing) refers to the baseline of successive lines of type, meaning how far apart is one line from the other. As you can see below.

Other important elements that need to be accounted for are letter spacing and kerning. Letter spacing is the even and uniform spacing between letters regardless of the characters, while kerning is adjusting the spacing between individual character pairs with the aim of improving readability.

Serif and Sans Serif Typefaces

A serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter. A typeface with a serif is called a serif typeface, while a typeface without a serif is called a sans serif typeface (meaning without).

serifsanserif copy Typography, type and typefaces

There are general groups of serifs such as bracketed, hairline, slab or slab bracket.

serif letters1 Typography, type and typefaces

Interesting Finds

I recently came across a blogpost by David Addey in which he examined in depth the typography that was used in every scene in the cult movie 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. A very interesting read I must say, but be careful for spoilers though!!

I also came across a very interesting video on youtube about how two pioneers John Warnock and Chuck Geschke founded Adobe after having years of experience with XEROX. Warnock then developed the Adobe Postcript a vector graphics computer language for 2D graphics to solve the problem of how to make fonts look good at low resolutions – meaning at the pixel level. The first postscript language was used with  the first Apple Laser Printer and gave rise to desktop publishing.


Graphic designer Sam Barclay launched a Kick Starter project to publish a book called ‘I wonder what it feels like to be dyslexic’, whereby he created a typeface that typifies how dyslexic people view lines of text. This project visualises a variety of typographic theories to plainly portray the experience of reading with dyslexia.

Penguin Books re-released 5 of George Orwell’s books with new covers that have been designed by David Pearson – an award winning typographer and designer. Each cover has a different typeface reminiscent of the theme of the book and the era that it represents. Follow the link here

The last article I came across is about a type foundry between Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones – one of the most prestigious type foundries (are now splitting up). They are the creators of the typeface Gotham, which was used in 2008 Obama Election and they also launched the ‘cloud typography‘ – a cloud service for an annual fee giving access to a plethora of web fonts.

From now on I will never look at type the same way as before. The amount of detail and thought that undergoes in creating a typeface is extraordinary, something I need to consider when I’ll be doing my assignment. The chosen typeface must be properly integrated with the brand concept and in line with the aesthetics.

Hope you liked the read!