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Contents Pages with an asterisk next to them have contextual references on pages 21, 22 and 23.




Colour Theory*


Pantone & Its Uses*




Methods of Print

Origin of Type

Anatomy of Type




Typographic Terms

Read & Legibility

Visual Literacy*



Layout & Grid*

Contextual References

Col our Theory.

Skip if you’re colour blind

Colour Theory started in the 1700’s, by Pre Impressionist Painters working with scientists. In the 1800’s, scientists realised that the eye percieves colour through 2 types of cells: Rods, which detect shades of grey, and cones that detect colour.

When a single cone is stimulated, the brain perceives the corresponding colour. If our green cones are stimulated, we see “green”. 1

Chromatic Value: T he measurement of a colour. It is composed of hue, tone and saturation. Hue: The 12 purest colours that progess round the The Colour Spectrum

colour spectrum in gradual increments.

Saturation: Saturation affects the brightness

Primary Colours

Secondary Colours

of the colour and its hue. A higher saturation can make a yellow appear “more yellow”, and appear much richer. As colours are desaturated, their chromatic value drops. The highest saturated colours are shown above in the colour spectrum.

Tints: By increasing the amount of light , the Complimentary Colours

colour reflected creates a “tint”. Tints of the above hues:

Shades: High chromatic value colours have high

luminance. Lower chromatic colours have “shades” of the luminant colours. Shades of the above hues:

Tones: By combining the desaturation of shades Analogous Colours

and tints, you create “tones”.


When designing, it is vital to understand the two colour modes. Using the wrong colour mode can end in a distort of colours in the document you’re working with. RGB mode is composed of Red, Green and Blue, whilst CMYK is composed of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black).


Neither CMYK or What? RGB are better. One may when? simply be more suitable.



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An Industry Standard

Colour perception is always going to be subjective. Different people see colours differently, even if it is a subtle difference. As a designer, this can often be a problem when working with a client. Pantone matching is the solution. A brief could state the use of a partiular colour, in reference to the Pantone system. This saves constant relay that a colour is “too bright”, “too bland”, or annoyingly, “just slightly off”


Digitally, ‘hexcodes’ can also aid colour matching.

Pantone & its Uses.

keeping swatch of your colour

The Pantone Colour Matching System (PMS)

This now universal system is a way of standardizing print and matching colour. The use of it means that manufacturers printing the same work in different locations can maintain consistency, and also check consistency. Pantone swatches are available in both CMYK and spot colours (when one colour is printed instead of the 4 CMYK plates). Spot colours on the swatches can include metallic and fluorescent colours. There is a large number of swatches that can be bought, the main three being: Formula Guide - Coated / Uncoated, Pastels and Neons - Coated / Uncoated & Metallics Coated

“Colour of the Year” Pantone release a colour annually which they call the “Colour of the Year”. Here are the last five: 2009 Mimosa Pantone 14 -0848

2010 Turqoise Pantone 15 -5519

2011 Honeysuckle Pantone 18 -2120

2012 Tangerine Tango Pantone 17 -1463

2013 Emerald Pantone 17 -5641


The less ink you use, the better.For both cost and your carbon footprint.

methods of print

a world made up of dots

Understanding print methods is key when using printing at mass. By using the appropriate methods, you can save yourself costs per print, which can sometimes add up to thousands of pounds. It is something which should be considered when designing, with changes sometimes being unnoticable when printed.


Optical Mixing

Physical Mixing

Essentially, this is the combination of dots to print an image.

Optical Mixing with CMYK is composed of Physical Mixing.


Physical mixing is when the colour printed is entirely that colour. This process is used in digital print but with four plates of “Physical” mixed colours, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key.

The two images above show how half tones work. The first image shows how tones look from close up. The darker the area, the larger the dots. The lighter the area, the smalled the dots, with more white showing through. The second image shows the dots at 300 per inch, and would not be considered “half tone”. CMYK A similar process, but of CMYK coloured dots, overlaying each other to produce from distance. CMYK dots from close up.

It is also used in screen printing, where if you were to chose a particular colour to use, you would mix inks to find it before printing, as oppose to overlaying dots of CMYK. However, screen printing still uses half tones.

Both images are composed of 50 % Cyan & 50% Magenta. The first is optically mixed (made up of two types of dot), the second would be made of mixed ink, half cyan, half magenta.


origin of Type.

the reason you can read this

Before getting to grips with the anatomy of type, it’s important to understand where it came from. This spread should give you an understand as to why type varies in its form, through it’s construction, and shown in its aesthetic.

Historically, type has always reflected its method of production. What’s next in the silicon age? 9

1. Sable

Originating from Oriental culture 1000’s of years ago, Sable type i hand rendered from sticks and stones. Typeface Example: Brush

Script MT

3. Roman

When type was carved into stone by hand, and serifs were created. Serifs were used for ease of chiseling in tight corners. Typeface Example: Times New Roman

Sable 5. Lead

Johannes Gutenberg was the first to use lead to with moveable type, in 1436. Lead type gave much needed detail and clean edges that wood could not give. Reproduction of the blocks was also made much easier, due to the use of moulds to create each letter. Typeface Example:

Century Gothic

2. Bone

A development from sable. When quils and ink began to be used. The result was flowing, more exact type. Typeface Example: Zapfino

4. Wood

The first time ink press was available. Famously, the Gutenberg Bible was produced using this process. Wood type provided rigidity, and the use of wood preceding metal, meant letters were much easier to hand produce for ‘one off’ type. Typeface Example:


6. Silicone

The invention of computers & typographic software brought new innovations in type design eg. different brushes. . Anyone can now design a typeface. Typeface Example: Comic



A Typeface Has As Many Characteristics As A Human

Before deciding on a understand the subtle will both teach you and at the terminology, the

typeface to use, it is important to differences between them. This page quiz your knowledge. Once you’re a pro typographic world will be your oyster.

Anatomy of type.

Remove the become a graphic acetate to quiz yourself. design doctor Reapply for answers.


Prove your Knowledge bowl

x- height






cap height









As well as the anatomy of type itself, there are lots of key, general terms to learn. These range from the positioning of areas of text, to the spacing of individual words. Learning these terms can aid communicating an aesthetic through description, as well as gaining an understanding of terminology often used in design software programmes. These terms will mainly help when designing publications, like this actual product.


Serif12 Beta 30pt Bold Italic, leading at 43pt. Not kerned or tracked.

TYPO graphic terms.

A graphic designer’s dictionary

Terms Glyph Font Typeface Weight Font Family Serif /Sans Serif Body Text Alignment Kerning Tracking Leading


An individual written mark used for communicating a message.This can be expressed as both letters (a,b, c) and symbols (?, !, “) A specific typeface of a certain size and style. For example, one font may be Arial 12 pt bold, while another font may be Gill Sans 10 pt italic. A set of characters or fonts. These characters include letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols, eg. Arial & Verdana. Weight expresses the thickness of a character outline in relation to its height. A difference in weight is shown in font families, typically in Light, Regular, & Bold. A collection of typefaces that have different weights, but the same point size. Examples could include: Helvetica Bold, Helvetica Italic. A serif is a characteristic of a font, and are the short lines across the ends of arms and stems of letter in a typeface. Sans Serif do not have these. Serif: Times New Roman / Sans Serif: Century Gothic The large area of text that fills a publication, usually expressed and seprated in paragraphs. The positioning of type within it’s margins. Text can be flushed left, right, centred, justified and right justified. This body text has been aligned left, whilst the top two headers have been centred.

The adjustment of spacing between letters in a word. This needs to be altered carefully, as it can affect legibility. When the word “click” is kerned badly, it can result to.. well you can work it out!

The overall spacing between both characters in a word and other words. An increase in tracking could be s h o w n l i k e t h i s . The distance in points between lines of text in a paragraph. The leading between these two lines is 11 points, here it’s 15 points.


The function of body text is to inform. Use a simple typeface.

Read & leg ibility.


How easy it is to read words, phrases or blocks of text in body type, and how easily your eye can flow across the page.




How easy each individual letter is to read, based on the designer’s aesthetic choices. Legibility affects readability.

Appropriate Typefaces

Kerning / Tracking

In relation to print, serif typefaces (eg. Times New Roman or Book Antiqua) are generally the most readable .This is why most newspapers and books are set using serif fonts for the body copy. The serifs help lead the eye from one character to the next. However on screen, sans-serif fonts (such as Arial, Verdana) are considered to be more readable. Stay away from Script or Block typefaces (such as Brush Script MT and Impact) for bodycopy.

Letters kerned badly can affect readability:

Upper Case / Lower Case


Text set in lowercase is easier to read. When reading, we read in phrases, not letter by letter. The shape of a word helps with recognition and speed of reading. When text is set in all caps, every word looks like a rectangle, meaning words are hard to distinguish. Ascenders and descenders help us associate words that we know well.

Generally, the rule of thumb is to use a high contrast in tone between a bodycopy and it’s background, eg. Black and White (and vice versa), and Black and Yellow.

UPPERCASE IS NOT READABLE AS BODY COPY, IT APPEARS AS ONE BIG BLOCK. Lowercase is more understandle, since we can read it through ascenders and descenders.

Aphrasekernedminus50. A ph r a s e ke r n e d pl u s 5 0 . The first phrase has poor legibility, as the words are hard to read. The second phrase is poor readability and legibility. The spacing between the words is too similar to the spacing between letters.

Schemes To Stay Away From: Light colours such as lavender, with a white background are barely visible. The same with dark colours and black. Complimentary colours such as green with a red background will tire your eyes out.


Vis ual Literacy.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Visual Literacy The ability to i n t e r p r e t , n e g o t i a t e , and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read� and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.

Visual Communication is subjective. It is built up on cultural, social and historical perceptions. 17

A “cross” can have many different meanings, when its properties are slightly adapted:

Plus Sign

Multiply Sign

Jesus Christ

Anti - Christ

Red Cross Charity

St George’s Flag

Swiss Flag

Scottish Flag

The cross is the most simple shape possible, yet when slightly modified in its structure, colour or context, the meaning can be entirely changed.

Semiotics /semeätiks/

The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. Semiotics can be broken down further into 3 categories: Sign: When an image has a ‘sign’ it often means it is associated with a process or action. We have known specific signs for both an ‘on’ and ‘off’ button, as well as ‘play’ and ‘pause’ Signifier: A given connotation that goes with the aesthetic. An example could be that the Apple logo signifies simplicity, modernity and innovation. Symbol: How something externally has been physically reprented. The Apple logo is obviously not an actual apple, but it has been made into a symbol.


Unlike many obvious rules of aesthetic, layout rules can be used or broken. The general rule of thumb is to ensure obvious features (such as columns) are either obviously fitted against guides or completely separate. You can make up your own rules, or use the following common rules to set your blank canvas.


If you’re informing,

simply aesthetic creative



or functional? shouldn’t

grid. 19

prioritize function.

Van De Graaf

The Van De Graaf Canon is a construction method for double page spreads to divide the content into pleasing proportions. It is also known as the ‘secret canon’, and has been used in Medieval transcripts. Supposingly Gutenberg’s Bible used this canon. The construction method (right) can work on any quadrilateral shaped double spread, with both type and image.

The Rule of Thirds A rule which is based on the golden ratio, but made much more simplified.

The composition of an image can be split into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, into 9 sections:



Fibonacci Sequence & The Golden Section

This sequence is not only evident in design, but has also been shown in nature, and famously used by Da Vinci to construct the ‘Mona Lisa’. Faces that follow the ratio are seen as more ‘attractive’.


8 1 1 2


(Left) If images fit into this grid, then they fit Fibonacci’s ratio of 8:13. The golden number is composed of this: 13 divided by 8 = 1.62. The Fibonacci Sequence is composed of it’s previous 2 numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55,etc...

Applications To Design When scanning an image, the areas which are focussed on by the eye are the intersections in lines. The division into thirds also created a comfortable viewing experiences. It can also be split further within those thirds.

Golden Rectangles: A rectangle that has a width and length that matches the golden ratio (1.62) is supposed to be aesthetically pleasing. A page can also be divided up using the golden section: 21cm


35cm 55 divided by 1.62 = 34.56 (35)

Typography and Point Size: 8 pt type should be supported by a 13 pt header, and 21pt type should be suppported by a 34pt header.


Contextual References This section is to show how the previous 10 rules can be used to influence design decisions, and how designers in the industry have used them to their advantage. Colour Theory - Analogous Colours Here the designer has used a four - tone colour scheme to create simple, effective and striking icons. The colours used are analogous on the colour wheel, creating an overall harmonic aethetic.

‘Blue Icons’ - Josh Osborne, Fathom Creative


Pantone - ‘Colour Of The Year’ 2013 Pantone Emerald 17 -5641 C: 83 M: 17 Y: 68 K:2

‘Celeste’ , Chiropractor Business Cards - Alejandra Luaces, Free Lance

Effective use of a tint of ‘Pantone Colour of the Year’ for 2013. The colour is suitable, as it connotes a relaxed, & sterile experience.

‘Douding Fm’ , Radio App Design - Kingyo Xie, Free Lance

Pantone Emerald 17 -5641 gives a professional and positive aesthetic, which works well in different tones and shades in both the fill and strokes.

Visual Literacy - Wayfinding

Design has been used here to interpret location within Buenos Aires. The buildings and areas of the city have been expressed at their simplest of forms, using obvious contrast and colour. Numbers are made obvious and refrenced using a key. ‘Buenos Aires Wayfinding Sistem’ - Bando Design Agency


Although the layout is plane and un- interesting, This editorial uses the Van De Graaf Grid, as shown by the gutter and margin.

‘Unique’ Layout

‘Minimal Eyes Brochure’ - Tony Hunh, Black3ye Agency

Van De Graaf

Layout & Grid

‘5 BRGHS Magazine’ - Esther Li, Freelance

The layout for this newspaper is much more interesting, as the designer has created their own unique grid, still using guides.

by Joe Leadbeater, March 2013


10 Things People Need To Know About Graphic Design