Tag Archives: Art

Londoners (or anybody willing to travel) – Please support our second year BA(Hons) Press & Editorial Photography exhibition The Long & Short of it. Exhibiting at Calumet, London, 24th March – 17th April. Private View 24th March. Lots of up-and-coming talent, plus free food and booze. I shall be there with canapés…

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New establishing spread design

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I wanted to do a design that included a full bleed on one side. This means that the picture has to be enlarged, if you are to stick to a design that is fairly conventional and ‘belongs’ on the page.

With a narrower column for text, I thought I’d tip the headline on it’s side and match the headline’s height to the picture, once again stretching the word like it’s meaning.

The text then looked odd as a block, but by stretching it vertically, it looks more as though it belongs.

Although I like the title on its side like this, there is something about this design that reminds me of a fashion magazine. Possibly the headline in capitals? I can’t quite put my finger on it but I don’t think it necessarily reflects the story as well as the previous designs.

I’ve also played around with the title of the editorial and the page numbers again and once again I think this works just as well as the other designs.

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Alternative establishing spreads for Longevity


I’ve created a few different versions of this layout, with fairly minor changes, such as the headline font and position of the title/issue/page number of the magazine.


I think the position of the title/issue works on both layouts and what I choose would be a matter of personal preference. Placing the text across the top might be a slightly more traditional position and highlights where the centre of the pages are, which you might say works less well for a layout like this where the images and text aren’t placed centrally in relation to the page but it doesn’t bother me.



Placing the title of the editorial, issue number and title of the article together like this condenses the information more and works with the idea of a minimalist design.

I’ve also made the establishing image smaller so that it doesn’t bleed over to both pages. This design is more reminiscent of Aesthetica magazine. The benefit is that the picture does not get obstructed by the gutter, although the photograph does not contain important detail at the centre of the spread, so is ideal for a design that is spread across both pages.



I think the content is strong enough on the establishing page that the size of the picture is not important. All my designs give the same impression of what kind of magazine you are reading and what kind of story/photography you are viewing.

Both fonts work well but I do have a preference to Futura for the headline, because it looks beautiful as a large font and because the editorial becomes less of a copy of Aesthetica, which uses a font very similar to Palatino, as does Pig House Pictures.

I also think it makes sense for the headlines to be the same font family as the editorial titles, and for the main body text to be a more traditional serif font like Palatino or Times New Roman.

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First draft of double page spread

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The content

As discussed on March 1st in the article ‘Choosing a Story’, I think of the five images selected for the story, Jean on the stairs has to be the establisher. It’s a visually striking picture that entices you into the story. The second most important is Hugh and Jean on the bed as it introduces you to the couple and their bedridden existence. The other three are important in terms of telling the story but are more detailed shots, which are talked about within the text.

I wrote this story back in December for an issue of 205dpi magazine and have found myself editing it slightly, partly through criticism of my own writing but partly because I hadn’t really explained who I was in relation to Hugh and Jean and hadn’t made it clear enough what was going on in some of the detail pictures.

Originally, this story was called ‘Mortlake Road’ but I have tried to be less objective and more suggestive and elegant with my choice of word(s) for the headline. ‘Longevity’ seems the perfect description for Hugh and Jean and I have tried to use design to mimic this by loosening the tracking.

I will need to play around with Figures. I can either direct you to the pictures within the main body of text ie (top left), or I can create a design element for them. The space on the far right could work well for this although I’m enjoying the negative space I’ve created in that column.


The design

This design is based on a selection of elements I found myself being particularly drawn to during my editorial design research. My aim is to produce two double page spreads that borrows these elements to create a clear vision for my work that can communicate the story clearly whilst looking attractive on the page.

You can see here that I like the design to be simple and minimalist with plenty of negative space, simple type faces and clean shapes. Whilst designing, I found myself being very aware not to create a design element purely for the sake of design, but to make sure that it had a benefit to the story or to the editorial itself. For example, I have named the editorial ‘Documentary Photography’ (invention clearly not my forte), and have given it an Issue number. This is something you would find in any art editorial and allows me to think about design. However, when I started placing elements such as lines around the design, most of the time I deleted them as they seemed to have no purpose and distracted me from the content.

As I seemed to be drawn to the establishing image leaking itself across onto two pages, I have started with this design. It gives a clear area for the headline and standfirst, it looks crisp and I don’t have to worry about the issues faced when placing text over the top of an image.

The lines around the quote I think help the quote stand out and are therefore justified. They also look aesthetically pleasing as the lines match the thickness of the crisp capitals of Futura Light.

Having assessed editorials to look at how many typefaces they use on average, I found that generally editorials use no more than three typefaces. Often, they use two but will use a few various typefaces from their font family, as opposed to using different fonts altogether. In my design, I have used three fonts: Lixus Libertine and Minion Pro for the main body text and standfirst and Futura for the other elements.

I particularly wanted to link the headline to the title of the editorial, page numbers, website etc because it tightens up the editorial gives it a stronger brand (were it real) and I used Futura for this because it seems to be a versatile font that is crisp and modern but classic at the same time.

A note of Futura:

Following the Bauhaus design philosophy, German type designer Paul Renner first created Futura between 1924 and 1926. Although Renner was not a member of the Bauhaus, he shared many of its views, believing that a modern typeface should express modern models rather than be a rivial of a previous design. Futura was commercially released in 1927, commissioned by the Bauer type foundry.

While designing Futura, Renner avoided creating any non-essential elements, making use of basic geometric proportions with no serifs or frills. Futura’s crisp, clean forms reflect the appearance of efficiency and forwardness even today.


It is interesting to see that I seem to have chosen a typeface that mimics what I’ve been saying about avoiding ‘non-essential elements’ with its efficient, crisp appearance.



Next I will be showing various versions of this design. The changes are subtle but nevertheless important!


All images © Amy Romer 2014

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Looking at: Aesthetica – art and culture magazine

Aesthetica is a British arts and culture magazine. Founded in 2002, Aesthetica Magazine covers literature, visual arts, music, film and theatre. It has a readership of 140,000 and national and international distribution.

Aesthetica moves away from the traditions of journalistic and photojournalistic editorial layouts and places itself in a more contemporary category of design, whilst maintaining the crisp simplicity we have seen in previous journals such as the BJP.



In Constructing Sculpture we have a simple establishing layout with text on one hand, full size portrait image on the other. Rather than bleeding the image to the edges of the page, Aesthetic have chosen to place a border around their image. This is something I discussed in a previous blog post about how I felt that a border allows an image to be placed within the design of the image as opposed to creating a division between left and right. Therefore I think this is a good example of how a portrait image can work nicely on a page.

By centring the headline, standfirst and the main body of text, Aesthetica lead you away from the news editorial or feature and place their ‘artistic’ stamp on the article, not through complexity but clarity and simplicity.

It is impressive how such a basic change in design can communicate a completely different message to the reader, showing how valid design is as its own visual language.

Of course, fine art is about letting the art speak for itself and so it is of no shock that the font Aesthetica have chosen for Constructing Sculpture is modest and nondescript.




The large indentation around the quote stands out to me to be a deliberate design that mirrors the bold structural content of the article.

I’m not sure I like how disruptive it is and would probably have chosen for it to be placed centrally between the top left image and the text, leaving more negative space on the page.




There is continuity in Aesthetica which I like. I think this is important for the branding of a magazine. As The 10 Commandments of Typography states:


Thou shalt not apply more than three typefaces in a document. Always remember that simpliciy reigns over the disarray and confusion that the use of many typefaces causes.


The conciseness of the single row of text, which is contained within lines on the page is quaint and lends itself more towards the idea of nostalgia. The images are then left alone on the page, as though it were a photograph album, reinforcing the idea.



For a series of pictures where the subject repeats itself as well as the aesthetic, single pictures on a page without text is a good thing. It is more of a portfolio and only needs a small introduction.

However, for a photo journalistic story where the images are descriptive and tell a story, it is likely that the images need to be backed up by text.

I think what this has shown is how a designer can fashion a layout that helps to reinforce an idea, just as a photographer will choose to employ a yellow colour cast to his photographs for the  feeling of nostalgia.





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Should you wish to buy my prints…

You can now purchase prints from any of my portfolios. All profit goes directly towards keeping me active in photography – as its an expensive little habit!

Click here to find out more. 

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