Assignment 2 | Feb 9

January 26th, 2009  |  Published in c. Layout, h. Print Media  |  766 Comments

Assignment 2: Layout (due on the course website on Sunday February 22)

In this layout assignment, you will explore horizontal, vertical, and diagonal compositions by creating 3 different designs of a possible “project poster”:

I: Horizontal Composition

Create a horizontal composition (i.e., no vertical or diagonal elements). Be sensitive to the positive space and negative space. Try to establish contract by manipulating the visual levels of dominance and subordination.

Hints: Experiment with scales, typographic color (e.g., black, gray), positive and negative space, and grouping.

II: Horizontal/Vertical Composition

Create a composition that involves both horizontal and vertical reading directions. Be sensitive to the reading directions you create with your composition.

III: Diagonal Composition

Create a composition that involves elements that are placed at 45° angles or at 30°/60° angles. Take advantage of the tensions you may create with your diagonal elements.

IV: Free Style (extra credit)

Create a composition that embodies your sense of a visual chord with energy and harmony. While giving the page a sense of liveliness and poise, don’t forget to give the reader a sense of direction.

Please post your compositions by Sunday February 22nd. You will present all 3 designs to the class for critique on Monday March 2nd.

Please post your layout homework below by Sunday, Feb 22.


  1. LjubinkoM says:

    February 11th, 2009 at 1:40 pm (#)

    I created three posters for an event I recently attended: Playa painting at Ocean Beach with artist Andres Amador. Andres uses rakes to draw patterns in beach sand and takes photographs from nearby cliffs. You can learn more about him at

    Last Saturday, I participated in a workshop where we contributed to a beach “painting”.

    The balanced asymmetry in your design is nice. In your vertical design, I like how you made the “interface aesthetics” to rest on the sideway “L.” As Brian Hoffer said in the critique, since the image you chose to incorporate had the nice organic pattern/flow, it might have been interesting to play with that a bit.

  2. mlissner says:

    February 13th, 2009 at 2:47 pm (#)

    For my posters, I tried to give them each a different personality. For the pure horizontal one, I tried to make it look professional, presentable, clean and neat. I used a pretty strict grid layout for it, and broke the grid once - hopefully to good effect - to offset the paragraphs.

    For the second one (the vertical one), I tried to tone that down a bit, and to make it seem industrial, and somewhat dirty, while remaining somewhat academic. I used a fractal design for the text, which demands the text be read in only one order (title, location, date, class name, team members, paragraphs). I challenge the reader to try reading it another way. I also explored having a square of white space in the upper corner, which I find really awkward for the viewer.

    For the third poster, I was challenged getting things to fit correctly while giving meaning where I wanted to. Since I wanted to constrain myself to the same text and picture for all the posters, I had a hard time. The picture itself doesn’t work well in any diagonal way I could figure out, and has most of its meaning in the lower left corner (where the guard is standing). I didn’t anticipate that as a problem, but since I ended up cropping it, having him there limited the ways I could crop. In the end, I’m pretty happy with the diagonal poster, but I think the reader is tempted to read the paragraphs first, which was not my intention. Another interesting thing about the diagonal technique is that I had to completely break it in order to make the triangle of text look normal. Though it looks like it’s lower right edge is parallel to the titles, in fact, the bottom is much farther away in order to offset the weight of the blockier, longer, paragraph.

    I did a lot of experimentation in this project to figure out the software and the design process. A couple of ideas I used were braille for some of the punctuation in the first poster, some picture effects in the second, and path editing techniques in the third.

    For font faces, I was originally planning on doing a project on some kind of government transparency, so I grabbed the ones from, Georgia for titles, and Lucida Sans Unicode for text. The Lucida worked out pretty well, but the kerning for the Georgia had to be adjusted manually in every word. Otherwise, some letters were overlapping, and others were miles away from its neighbor. I think the end result worked out pretty well though.

    Your horizontal design does achieve the “professional look” that reminds the audience of a newspaper or magazine layout. The legibility is an issue with your vertical design, so you probably want turn down the background image or use the image in the space that doesn’t interfere with the small text. We hope the examples we gave in the critique session were helpful in terms of thinking about the possible design alternatives. Thanks for the detailed discussion of your design process.

  3. CarolC says:

    February 14th, 2009 at 6:32 pm (#)

    I wanted to use a picture that evokes strong emotions, so I chose a picture I took during my honeymoon in Santa Fe. The stance of the statue, along with the hot colors, show strength and passion. I then went to the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau webpage on Santa Fe and extracted some text into a paragraph. The posters advertise an information session about visiting Santa Fe.

    I used Helvetica for all three posters because it is clean and simple and looks good bolded. None of the other typefaces stood out to me as being particularly suitable for the subject.

    For the horizontal layout poster, I experimented with scale and grids. I expanded the words ‘SANTA FE’ across the top and pulled them down far enough that they were at a comfortable distance from the location and time. I placed the location and time 1/3 of the way down to honor the rule of thirds.

    I then used the paragraph and the names of my team members to form the last vertical 1/3. The dark shape under the names was challenging to work with, as the colors would have been too weak if they bled out into the blueness of the sky. Fortunately, the grid line was close enough to fit them all in. I spaced the names out so that they looked different enough from the paragraph and made a statement. When analyzing for negative space, however, I noticed the box in the lower lefthand corner left by the paragraph and name elements.

    I employed the Eyedropper Tool to capture blues and oranges from the original photo. I then arranged them in contrast with the colors around them - orange next to blue sky, blue next to orange sunset. Since the words in the paragraph are so evocative, I added a small bit of extra emphasis by switching the colors of certain words that I felt needed to pop out. Finally, I placed ‘Interface Aesthetics’ in small type under the ‘E’ of “FE’ because it isn’t as important as the other content. I played with placing it directly under F so that the long vertical line of the F would align with the ‘I’ nicely, but I decided to stay consistent as I had with the names by right aligning it.

    For the vertical layout poster, I placed the words ‘SANTA FE’ against the left side of the page vertically and used orange. These words in the previous poster were not as integrated with the unique surroundings of the photo, though they did balance nicely with the black in the rest of the photo. I chose black for the team members’ names and arranged them horizontally 1/3 of the way down the page so that they would stand out. The way they turned out reminds me of how actors’ names are often displayed on movie posters.

    I then moved the paragraph up to the top and added a more casual style by making all the letters lowercase. I also chose a softer blue so that they would recede a bit into the background, appearing almost transparent. I liked that effect.

    To play with the words ‘Interface Aesthetics’, I made them small enough to stretch the length of the last ‘A’ in ‘SANTA’. This nicely aligned it with the names 1/3 of the way down.

    Since there was enough orange in the poster, I balanced it out by placing the time and location neatly in the righthand corner in blue. Together, the negative space left is spacious, and I do not see any conflicting, confusing negative spaces.

    For the diagonal layout poster, I wanted to experiment with creating a shape. At first I tried placing the words ‘SANTA FE’ at 30, 45, and 60 degrees to see if they happened to align with the statue’s arm or torch. They did not, so I chose the slighter angle, 30 degrees, and composed a box out of the majority of the content.

    With the heavy black on the bottom of the photo, and the words ‘SANTA FE’ so much closer to this blackness, I wanted to soften the words, so I added a bit of transparency (90%). It seemed natural to me to align the team members’ names along the right side of the shape and allow the lines of the paragraph to fill in the majority of the remaining space. This left the time and location for the righthand side of the box, and I oriented them such that they could be read easily in a clockwise direction. Thus composed, the eyes naturally start at either ‘SANTA FE’ or ‘110 South Hall’ and take in the shape and its contents without conflict.

    I placed the words ‘Interface Aesthetics’ below the box, in a slightly lighter shade of grey, to tie together with ‘SANTA FE’. In this poster, they serve a more prominent role and are displayed in a bigger size that stretches the width of the box.

    The most difficult part of this layout was the coloring. Since there is such a medley of colors in the middle of the photo, some words were more easily obscured. I felt that white for the majority of the text (the paragraph) would be a good choice if I made it more transparent (80%) so that the statue underneath was not completely obscured. The time and location, which are located in a portion of the poster that does not have any orange, became orange, though it is slightly difficult to read.

    Finally, I grouped the elements together and moved it around until I found that the ‘S’ of ‘SANTA FE’ and the ’s’ of ‘Interface Aesthetics’ lined up at 1/3 of the way down and 2/3 of the way down the poster. Thus placed, the shape was mostly centered and balanced.


    Thanks for the detailed discussion of your design process. We hope the examples we gave in the critique session were helpful in terms of thinking about the possible design alternatives that take advantage of the interaction between the image and text. Your diagonal design is interesting but the contrast between the text and the background is not enough so the small text is hard to read.

  4. JananiV says:

    February 21st, 2009 at 8:01 am (#)

    The theme for these posters draws inspiration from one of our subjects at a contextual inquiry for another class. The image brings out the essence of the topic and serves to illustrate its deep meaning. I have used Futura for all the text. Many of the font colors are varying shades of gray. For others, I used the EyeDropper tool in Illustrator to use the colors from the image. I especially like the way the “R” in “Therapy” fades into the background to make room for, and emphasize “art”. I also used the Blur and Shadow effects on “Therapy” but that dosen’t really show up against the black background. However, I like the shadow of the black background on the underlying brown. It reveals a 3D quality to a careful eye that makes it look like a sheet that has been placed casually on a cardboard. Ideally, I would have liked the image to merge more with its surroundings, but this was something I couldn’t do very easily given my limited knowledge of the tool. The poster also groups related text together and the hierarchy brings out the importance attached to the different text. For the diagonal composition, I decided to retain the author names horizontal. Doing so adds balances out the page and fills in areas that would have otherwise been bare.

    As discussed in the class, we really like how you elegantly combined the words “art” and “THERAPY.” Successful typographic hierarchy. We especially liked your diagonal design as it has nice interaction between the image and text. Good job!

  5. TiffanyC says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 11:19 am (#)

    I didn’t know if we were expected to create three different layouts of three different posters or if we were supposed to make one poster with three different layouts, but my creative muse forced me to do three completely different posters, just for the fun of it.

    I started with my horizontal layout. I had no idea where to go with this. When I think of horizontal, i just think of a lot of boxes, and that’s what I did. I created several long boxes of complementary colors and placed them in what I assume to be balanced locations. This layout is meant to be simple and clean, with the use of several shades of one color to bring out the accents of the page.


    My vertical layout gave me the most trouble. I started off with a bunch of lines that I arranged into a grid (it was VERY tedious) because I wanted to foreshadow the incorporation of horizontal and vertical. Then I felt the grids would be ineffective if I didn’t put anything in them, so I tried many different sayings that used words of four letters or less. When I came up with “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” the rest of the page just clicked with me. The overall sense is supposed to be playful and maybe a bit chaotic. However, the “makes Jack a dull boy” didn’t fit in the grid and there was no where else I could put it, so I changed my saying to “no work and all play,” which I guess contributes even more to the playfulness of the page.

    From there, I decided to do a contrasting page, with a smiley and a frown, a black and a white, the upside down “upside down,” and it all reflected the contrast between work and play, adult and child.


    My diagonal page was the easiest for me to come up with, but that’s probably because the layout itself is very simple. When I think of diagonal, I think of triangles, and when I think of triangles, I think of corners, and when I looked for pictures of table corners, I was very lucky to find the one I did. It works perfectly with my lay out.

    Although splitting the page diagonally in half already incorporates the diagonal element, I wanted to bring it a step further. I wanted to really nail the diagonals/triangles/corners into the page. So I add more angles and text with sharp edges. The point of this page really is “sitting at the corner of the table.” I was a bit troubled after I looked at the others’ pages so far and I saw one with a layout very similar to this one, but I think there are differences and they make each poster unique to its creator.



    You have boldly explored three styles with three completely different posters! We hope the examples we gave in the critique session were helpful in terms of thinking about the possible design alternatives. Your diagonal design has a lot of directional devices, which could be better organized by thinking about how they are supposed to guide audiences eyes.

  6. ElizabethS says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 5:15 pm (#)

    For my posters, I designed three simple flyers that could be used to announce a showing of my master’s project, out of my work at the Graduate School of Journalism. My project is about how downtown Santa Cruz has changed since the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, so the image I used is a screen grab of video I shot of the downtown. I will later replace this with a photo and possibly two photos showing before and after the earthquake. I would also like to experiment using the colors I am using for my online multimedia package in my poster designs.

    For the first layout, horizontal, I made it simple. I used the Univers font, and was consistent with that font in the three layouts. I added a star in between the date May 11 at 4 pm to evoke the stars in the Flat Iron building in the image, and to make it easier to read.

    For the second layout, vertical and horizontal, I tried to mimic the placement and flow of the two streets intersecting at either side of the Flat Iron building, with the text in the top left corner “the new” and the bottom right corner “UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.” I also was aware of the reading direction for the text.

    For the third layout, diagonal, I rotated the image and headline as well as sub-head text 30 degrees. I filled the top left and bottom right corners with text to balance the tension created by the central diagonal text and image. In the future I would like to experiment with this type of layout using different photos

    -Elizabeth Shemaria


    Nice use of a single typeface and image. The building creates a strong zig-zag that carries the eye up and down the page. As you noted, the reading directionality is strongest in the second poster, which leads the eye from the top left to the bottom right of the composition. The first poster has less clear directionality, largely due to the placement of the copy text. Limit your type sizes to create more deliberate hierarchy and consider alternative ways of integrating the image and the typographic layout. Overall, a nice type experiments.

  7. WesleyW says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 5:20 pm (#)

    I chose not to create a poster for a specific event or project and instead created a set of more general poster templates, using “Interface Aesthetics” as the title and filling things out with a lot of Lorem Ipsum text. I attempted to keep things clean and fairly simple with only one dominant color (the entire thing could been done in grey just as easily). The tree motif in the background is a conceptual reduction of the theme I used on a set of calendars several months ago, wherein each month was overlaid on an upward-looking photograph of a different set of tree branches.

    I wanted to try to distill what was interesting to me about those photos - their fractal, complex geometry - into something that would add visual texture, but might be less overpowering.

    I began with the horizontal version, focusing on creating a dominant band of color to anchor the title and subtitle. The tree in the background branches out from this band, arching upward towards the text blocks at the upper left. My intent was to draw the viewer’s eyes first to the title, then up to those text blocks.

    In general, I was interested in trying to create something that was clean and visually interesting, but not too complex - thus the constrained color palette. I also tried to keep the overall number of visual elements low (although I realize that the tree is still a fairly complex object and threatens to make the images a bit noisy).

    For the vertical version I flipped the title bar and compressed the text blocks to the right side of the page. Here, I was aiming for a clockwise reading order, where the eye would be drawn first to the colored title block, then transition to the text on the right.

    My diagonal layout forgoes much of the text found in the other versions and also strips out the dark band of earth at the base of the branches which I felt clashed with the horizontal band holding the title. I also played a bit with the band, settling on a slight taper where it appears to be receding ever so slightly into the background from right to left. A matching band behind it recedes further.


    Your use of white space and the grid create well-balanced, hierarchical compositions. The thickest blue line helps bring the eye to the top of the copy text. As we mentioned earlier, the title text feels a bit scrunched (you could add space between interface and aesthetics in all posters, and space between the “interface” and the horizontal white line in the second poster). To increase legibility, also consider reducing unnecessary elements: the thin blue line (in the vertical and horizontal posters) and fewer type sizes (keep only the large title text, the medium “Lorem ipsum” text and the small copy text).

  8. SunnyL says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 6:04 pm (#)

    I initially wanted to do a Battlestar Galactica Season premiere event poster but lacked illustrator dexterity to import the existing fonts and images to manipulate layout. I thought making a wine tasting invitation would be a fun alternative and looked for a fun representative image on the internet and started playing around with it. The horizontal one is pretty straightforward with a simple background image with no manipulation and information simply stated. It was a good starting point for me to get familiar with the tools and have something clean but rather dry to build off of.

    The next one, the vertical one is when I discovered more tools to create contrasts in tones and play around some more with color selection. The vertical one I feel like is most successful in delivering a cohesive message with a certain inherent style.

    The diagonal I enjoy because the break from the traditional vertical/horizontal format adds playfulness which I think adds character to the design.

    When it came to freestyle, I thought I’d really push the boundaries and be much more playful but realized how much comfort I found in traditional layouts often coming in the form of horizontal vertical lines.

    All in all, I really enjoyed the exercise, learning and thinking about grids and how the layout can enhance, hinder readability, legibility and overall artistry in a poster.


    The image is strong and compelling but does not interact with the text. Think about using elements in the image to anchor your text. The copy text, for instance, could be aligned to the right edge of the bottle, using the bottle as a horizontal grid line. In the third diagonal composition, be careful of lightly colored text sitting on the white background (the purple “ta” in “tasting”).

  9. SunnyL says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 6:07 pm (#)

    For some reason, the images don’t seem to show after posting…Here they are again…
    Apologies for the image upload Fail.

  10. Hsin-hsienC says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 6:35 pm (#)

    For the horizontal composition, I would like to create stable, horizontal-axis ground. So I choose the elevation of the architecture at the lower part and have ground in black. Meanwhile, I added a perspective from a law view angle to help extend visual effect horizontally.

    Regarding horizontal plus vertical composition, I put the topic and key information vertically; especially increase a black strip on the left for the main topic. In the meantime, I choose the elevation of the building with horizontal floors, and end up with the description at the bottom arranged horizontally on the right of the composition.

    For diagonal composition, I choose a black-gray background at first. After, I utilize a perspective in the middle of the composition to create the focal point as well as generating a while, perspective area. And I adding several lines to extend the strength of the diagonal orientation, putting key information aligned with these lines in the white area. Finally, I assign the main topic at the upper right and the description at the lower left.

    In regard of free style, I combine both a floor plan with a perspective to create multi-perspectives. And I put the main topic along with the perspective at the lower left, and make the perspective and the topic both fading out from lower left to upper right. In this way, the perspective could merge into the ground with the plan gradually. The vertical and diagonal ingredients could be intergraded consequently.


    Nice use of macro/micro views. The diagonal composition is visually striking from afar and legible from up-close. In all compositions, as we mentioned in the critique, the title font contrasts with the modern architectural style and the copy text could feel more integrated by setting it aligned left and loosing the indent. In your vertical poster, aligning your text left and to the same y-axis as the title would let the text breath and improve the interaction between graphic and text.

  11. SeungwanH says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 7:26 pm (#)

    My subject is “The Interactive blocks” for kids’ play; an imaginary project. The hierarchical relationship among the poster element is the following order; 1.the project title, 2.the exhibition place, 3.the designers’ name and course name, and 4.the contents (three paragraphs).

    1.Horizontal Composition
    To enhance the nuance of “block play”, I used grids and colorful blocks which have carved letters. I wanted to express cute and light images of the project because the project is focused on kids. I put three paragraphs inside huge bold letters; “Interactive” through the negative/positive effect. As the result, the three paragraphs seem white strips, and the blocks’ colors can be emphasized.

    2.Vertical Composition
    I used the nuance of “vertical stacks of blocks”. Each block has a carved letter to indicate the project’s title. I also arranged three paragraphs vertically with different height. I wanted that the arrangement looks like “silhouettes of block stacks”. The black background emphasizes the intention.

    3.Diagonal Composition
    I wanted to create a pleasure from long linear arrangement of the letter blocks. The arrangement seems to be Mah-Jong, a Chinese tile play. I used 30 and 60 degree angles to locate letters, and I located three paragraphs from the Left bottom to the right top to can be readable after recognizing the exhibition place.

    4.Free Style
    I used the image of a hand and dripping blocks to emphasize the nuance of brick play. To make the project’s title, the blocks are located both horizontally and vertically. According to the angles of the dripping blocks, I located three paragraphs, and I also used the dripping blocks as the capital letters of the three paragraphs.


    The composition using the human hand is a compelling blend of form and function. As Brian mentioned in the in-class critique, the copy text over-emphasizes the function of the blocks; the text could read as a traditional horizontal block of text aligned to the vertical grid created by the blocks.

  12. Hyunwoo Park says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 7:32 pm (#)

    In general, I tried to pursue an extreme as Kimiko said in class. What I used for each of the following four assignments are a title, a description, place and time, class name - “Interface Aesthetics”, my name, a slogan and some pictures or icons. I did not use any other colors than black so that I could focus on layout itself. I controlled opacity to balance a canvas instead.

    I. Horizontal Composition
    At first, I used two pictures that can match my tentative slogan. The slogan is “weaving your space and time,” so I pasted pictures of a map and a clock. I tried to extend a canvas as wide as I could and my intention was having people follow the horizontal lines. Since the top title was so strong, I introduced larger font with less opacity at the bottom of the canvas. Place and time information is located at the top of the image, and place is slightly nudged down so that people can easily tell place from time.

    II. Horizontal/Vertical Composition
    In this part, I extended the canvas vertically. The large “Interface Aesthetics” plays a role of a pillar. I broke apart the slogan and hung the parts on the pillar, so that people can have a feeling of “weaving something.” To clarify the slogan, I put it on the top-left corner vertically. Since the words “space” and “time” in the slogan actually means place and time, so I put the corresponding information next to each word. Instead of using real photographs, I drew an icon for the poster. The clock-shaped icon has an impact of making people focus on the center of the poster. I faded the hung slogan words because the words and the title “dooqle” are in the same font size. Differentiating opacity makes a distinction between the two. Finally, the description part fills up the bottom part of the poster and stabilizes the whole canvas.

    III. Diagonal Composition
    I used a square canvas here. I thought that the characteristic of a diagonal design is its dynamic nature, so I used an exclaimation mark as a pattern to draw people’s attention. The mark’s another role is creating a focus in the canvas. In this composition, the bottom-left part is the focus point. Every major component is centered and rotated from this point. I intentionally avoided rotations by 45-degree because it could be too bored. Combining rotations by 30-degree and 60-degree, I tried to give a sense of “weaving” to audiences. In this composition, place and time information lay a foundation on the canvas.

    IV. Free Style
    Finally, I could use a normal canvas, the A4-size. Since I tried too hard on tweak for the previous compositions, I just keep it as simple as possible. I drew another icon for the place information, and used the icons for implying the meaning of information on the poster. I faded the title a little because it became too strong in such a normal composition.


    Your vertical composition achieves a nice balance between macro/micro, legibility and visual complexity. To make the composition stronger, you could remove the text at the top right corner, giving the right-aligned text more space to ‘breath’, and place it horizontally at the bottom of the composition. The diagonal composition could be stronger by adjusting the position of the black text so that it feels more deliberately placed (for example, by moving the composition up and to the right — centering the black text).

  13. LisaP says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 8:21 pm (#)

    I’m currently working on my masters project on midnight movies. The project will be a Web site featuring video, text and some interactives.

    I wanted to try something very basic using only text and space, so that I could clearly see the differences in the planes.

    The black to white convergence further emphasizes the idea that these movies have gone from midnight to a more mainstream showing. Also, the movie titles help give people a better understanding of what is a “midnight movie.”

    view larger

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    All three compositions are bold and engaging, particularly from afar. As we discussed in the critique, although the title typeface is playful its idiosyncratic, the style could be more extreme and deliberate (e.g. rather than an arbitrary tear, the top could be eaten away by the copy text). This strategy could also be applied to the asymmetrical movie lights (by adjusting them to be more or less symmetrical).

  14. StephanieP says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 8:34 pm (#)

    1) Horizontal composition

    My first compulsion with these two, beautiful, balanced words was to stick them at opposite ends of the canvas. Bearing in mind the advice about the tops of text being easier to read, I flipped the word “interface” upsidedown so the bottom was cut off. Luckily this was the ‘easier’ word of the two, because “aesthetics” is a trickier word to read and was a challenge when I tried it upsidedown. I played with direction on the two words as well, but liked the way the ascenders ‘fell’ into the middle of the page, causing a sense of movement.

    I kept the cont consistent (Futura) throughout, just adjusting size and colour. I wanted to keep this one very minimalist and symmetrical, so I opted to just use a shaded bar, which also enhanced the horizontal flow and joined the two halves of the page.

    2) Vertical composition

    I also wanted to experiment with the idea of large type as a design element, plus with a square canvas. After trying a few letters, I found that the upper and lowercase ‘T’ made an elegant graphical element. They had straight lines and curves, and are also of course the first letter of the word “type”.

    Like the horizontal poster, I spent a lot of time tinkering with which side and direction the “interface aesthetics” text should go in. I wanted to make the “aesthetics” word the one in bold but it felt too abrupt when the bold word was on the inside. This worked best with the heaviest element on the outside of the poster. I used only variations of Helvetica for the copy, with Times New Roman for the ‘T’s. I like the classic feel of this poster, and the flow of the bolded labels down the left side of the copy.

    3) Diagonal composition

    Again trying to diversify the styles for this assignment, I opted to try a “grunge” style for the diagonal poster. After seeing a lot of the artwork in the film Helvetica, I realized that diagonal type seems to evoke more of a chaotic, anarchistic style of poster. I layered a dozen or so copies of the title text and used all different fonts and transparency to create a big messy pile, which also served as a nice backdrop for the actual title.

    This was one of those designs that you have to squint at a bit as you’re working on so that you can see the overall balance and flow and not get caught up in looking at the details. Originally I had the description in the upper left but it just felt way too symmetrical for the style of design. I’m not thrilled with the text in the bottom right, but introducing another font didn’t seem to work, and I couldn’t come up with an alignment, style, or position I liked better than this.

    4) Freestyle

    I had the idea for this while working on the diagonal one when I briefly tried a console style font on the dark background, and I couldn’t resist taking it to its extreme.

    This is more about the concept than typography or layout, but a few highlights:
    - The aspect ratio is intentionally 4:3, a standard computer screen resolution
    - All left alignment and uniform fixed width font evokes the terminal window feel
    - I integrated my name/location with the prompt/cursor area instead of having it as a separate line of text
    - Who doesn’t love ASCII art!

    General observation
    I found it interesting how the style informed the text itself in some cases. For example, it seemed (for whatever intuitive reason) that including labels (”When”, Where”, etc) was more ‘classic’ and leaving them off was more ‘grungy’, which became a factor in my submissions. Also this played into the date format — formal being “4pm, May 12th 2009″ vs “4pm may 12″.


    Your compositions are each uniquely compelling. In the in-class critique, we pointed out small adjustments that could be made to strengthen your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th posters: splitting (or reintegrating) the title text from the rest of the composition, shrinking the small text, and adding more black space.

  15. DanielleS says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 10:46 pm (#)

    I started off with the horizontal composition. Now that I look back at it, I’m not pleased with the result. I would rework it if I had more time. Although I think the most important information stands out, the poster itself would probably not catch a person’s eye on a wall full of posters.

    A poster with this material is slated to be put up in Giannini hall so in the vertical poster I tried to match the columns on the building exterior. The I used the CA poppy to try to help the flow of text since it doesn’t flow super naturally.

    In the diagonal poster I tried to play off of a photo of the ironwork above the entrance to the building. Again I tried using the CA poppy to indicate a starting point for the viewer.

    I found working with the Garamond italic typeface that I struggled to use more modern design styles — I think if I could get the tension between these right, it could make for an interesting poster. I went with the Garamond italic because I used it in the typography assignment to represent Giannini’s scholarly feel and general exterior. It might make sense to try a few different types…

    btw, I only added the gray border so that the edge is visible — it is not part of the poster.

    Your compositions feel light and playful. Your third design uses the background image effectively to structure the placement of the type. Be careful not to overuse the italic form of a typeface that was originally designed for emphasis.

  16. K. Joyce Tsai says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 11:59 pm (#)

    Mine ended up being on manga, so I used manga panels here and there. I had a hard time finding “good” panels, since I didn’t want too much dialogue in the posters. I had also played around with the idea of using the diagonal text to create manga frames, but later on decided that would be too difficult to read.

    1. Horizontal
    2. Vertical
    3. Diagonal

    I used several typefaces to experiment and different paper sizes as well, but all the designs were composed around the idea of white space. (Also, let me know if the fonts don’t work in the PDFs… I can convert to jpgs and reupload)

    Your horizontal composition is striking and well balanced. In the diagonal poster, you create a compelling composition from afar, but the copy text is difficult to read; try using the manga title as a grid for the copy text. You could reduce the complexity of the vertical composition by using a more explicit grid (using the manga grid to anchor the text) and fewer variations in type size.

  17. AnnetteG says:

    February 23rd, 2009 at 12:09 am (#)

    The sculpture image here is a combination of one of Da Vinci’s polyhedrons and Calder’s “Beastie”. I chose to use a handwriting-style typeface called Dakota along with Hoefler Text. I found that making the less important words in the title smaller made the page more interesting. Juxtaposing the sculpture image with the paragraph of text gave me the illusion that the sculpture image was jumping off the text block. In all of these, I tried to figure out a way to make the sculpture seem to be floating in the air somehow.

    In the vertical composition, I decided to let the title text be in charge rather than the image. The sans serif here is Century Gothic. Using reversed type on the team member names gave a nice contrast with the rest of the type without dominating the title. Besides using a little bit of bold, I widened the tracking on the class name, to make it different. Again, the sculpture is dangling in the air intentionally.

    My diagonal composition uses 30 degree angles. I would have preferred slightly different ones, to follow the lines of the polyhedron, but the assignment seemed to be requiring 30, 60, or 45 degrees. To make the text below a bit more energetic, I added a drop cap and broke the text into three columns. This one goes back to the Hoefler Text.

    This was my free style attempt. I decided to just let things go. This was the only one that I really let myself get off the grid all over the place. I built it with the grid, but then I skewed things off of it to get them off kilter.

    Consistently fun and playful trio. Since these are posters rather than fliers, and are meant to be read from far away and up close, you could make the variation in type sizes more extreme (leaving the copy text smaller or title text larger). Make sure you leave enough space between the text and edge of poster in the horizontal composition.

  18. ChrisT says:

    February 23rd, 2009 at 12:41 am (#)

    Nice use of the image to structure the placement of your type in your diagonal composition. As we discussed in the in-class critique, “4:00pm” is large and high contrast, increasing its visual importance relative to other information in the poster. Fewer type sizes could help you establish clearer hierarchy. Also, be aware of how the background color affects the legibility of the type, especially in the first (horizontal) poster where the diagonal of the image cuts the text.

  19. RhyenC says:

    February 23rd, 2009 at 1:49 am (#)

    Strong, simple compositions. You took advantage of white space to draw our eyes down the page. The poster format reinforces this directionality. The first and second compositions could be used for different purposes: the poster with a black background composition feels more like a night event in contrast to the poster with a white background. For legibility, add a bit of letter space (and consider using small caps) when placing text in all caps.