Graphic Design Tutorial: Typography Design & Art Direction pt. 1



hey everybody Chris here a lot of people have been asking how do you give art direction to designers how do you do it in a way that empowers them to make the changes that you want how do you do in a way that doesn't mean that you're sitting on the box moving the mouse around yourself because the important part of art direction is to keep people feedback so they can grow as designers and you can get the work done and focus on other things and on this episode we're going to work on an editorial spread for a new business idea that we're going to be launching more about that later but you want to see how we do it come with me alright let's check out your labs so I want to just take a moment to explain to people who are watching what's going on mint is helping me out with designing a new newspaper for one of our initiatives right now we're just playing around with the title thirst and so that's the masthead and so we'll look at some of the typography she's been working on this for some time so we got a lot of layout to look at all right so let's take a take a look at the relay out here this is a very clean layout you're using future right there I like feature it's part of the identity we've been using it's really nice a nice clean layout good use of like a bold headline subhead and body copy and a byline right there what I don't love right now is the way the thirst is in there it's kind of about an angle and it's not quite working for me okay let's take a look at your next one oh wow okay this one's really nice I love the way that you cut off the t's on the lowercase Futura typeset and I like the eye the way you cut that off and it matches nicely with the cap height the thing I don't love is the way the S is chopped up at the bottom it look feels like there's a flat spot there but things that are working really well are we got a nice table of contents set up here great kind of bold numeral there and I like that and when you're doing some modern layouts like this I don't think you want to Center your type I much prefer a justified left type and so if you do that I think this is going to look a lot better I don't love this little bit over lapping this because I think it's gonna be hard to read but it doesn't need to be overlapping there so I would just pull that down there and lastly I see a couple things here there's something that looks like a legal copy down at the bottom which is okay to be centered because you don't want people to look at that but then you have this really bold separator between the legal and the bottom which doesn't make sense to me they could work much better if you took away this black line and maybe use the black line to separate like this is the content of the magazine and this is legal so that'll give you a little bit more room you can move this down but it's also funny to have white space trapped underneath like that not necessary okay let's check out the next layout oh okay this one's really nice just simple clean this one has less information on it but I like now how you have a much bigger point size of Futura overlapping than that this is this is a really clean layout feels very modern to me and feels very fresh so well done on this one I guess this is page three I like this one all right ooh I like this a lot too now it's not centered but it's cut off to the side and I really like things that bleed off the edge now that may present itself to be a problem for us when we go to print because it costs a little bit more to have things bleed but I like that a lot that's a good layout if we were just doing purely digital it would be not an issue at all I'm noticing that you have a double line here when you have a thick line and a thin line it tends to read a little bit more old-fashioned okay so if you wanted to make it look old-fashioned that's fine I think there's an issue with spacing maybe it's a little too tight together so if it's a little farther apart bounce it like five points down it might feel a little different and less old-fashioned and there's other things that you can do like you can do vertical separators to help tie it in and then it might make it look a little less old-fashioned a little more modern here I don't love the way that you have the headline bleeding into the photo I don't think that's a great usage of that I think when you have just a big headline it's great to overlap something like this it doesn't really add a lot so we would probably crop this photo a little higher I noticed a drop cap here and that's like a really old-fashioned thing to do so when you're doing a modern layout like this it feels really out of place so I would bounce that okay let's keep going ooh well okay this is a page five I really like this layout a lot beautiful use of type negative space colors and I'd like that you push the type to the edge there that's really nice that's a modern thing to do some suggestions here perhaps these two point sizes are way too big for this and you want to create that kind of big type little type and then let everything else breathe we don't want to compete with all that space so and it could solve another problem too you have this little photo thing that's a placeholder for something and it doesn't tie into anything in the layout and it's important for your eye to have things to inker around so photo probably could tie together with this copy this copy were a lot smaller like 50 60 percent of the size and line up the left edge right there and I think this will look really great this will be a problem but we'll solve that but if you did that this layout would look much better one other idea here is to maybe take this yellow and do an over print so you see the photograph underneath bleed into it like overlapping I think that could look really smart and then leave this here I also noticed that using the strong kind of process color language that we've established for the TV or our YouTube show and it's nice to have here but I don't think it's necessary like you can easily get rid of that and it would be just as strong okay one of my more favorite layouts very well done next one this one's a little awkward to me you're using up all the space and the shapes there isn't a great rhythm in terms of how you're using it and I think this would be much stronger if you didn't use center type Center type again is very old-fashioned it works if it's a strong display and you have too much stuff going on which is probably why I think you did this but it would be better if you just set it from left edge to right edge since you're already using a full bleed layout and just make it run in there and then space the let the words the way you want okay just like leave it in a text box and then let it flow the boxes themselves need to be worked out a little bit better and I think this is one of those cases where you need to really understand figure-ground ambiguity and let things kind of move forward or backwards in space right now very clearly there's a hierarchy of the stacking order of blue black pink and then the yellows on top of that and then the whites on top of that what would be nice is if some of this type were blue so the blue is overlapping the pink the pink was overlapping the yell the yellow and the white and that's how you create figure-ground ambiguity so even a very flat two-dimensional space you can create a lot of dimension that way so you haven't shown me any of these layouts how come okay we'll move on that thank you for that answer that was a wonderful answer okay because you were still working it out and you didn't want to show me something progress right totally understand it's a designer's dilemma people don't want to show you stuff unless they feel like they've totally resolved it which is totally ok all right now min is using a very modern layout and grid system very beautiful design but she's using a very kind of old-fashioned serif typeface this is some kind of thing that looks like but don't need to me but very condensed do you remember what the typeface is no no okay that's fine so this is one of those things where it's quite unexpected right where you're doing a very modern layout and you pushing things around but you're using a classic Sarah face so I have similar problems with it I won't repeat myself too much here but the overlapping is kind of important maybe this one is okay because the font is quite big but here's where I think there's an opportunity that you missed where you have this little red thing now it's important to tie your elements together to repeat elements and it shows harmony and cohesion so this red dot here ties this but there's nothing important happening on this axis right so it's better to take this red dot and probably tie it right here strong vertical alignment with the photo credit with this line so it snaps it's great I mean you did a little red dot here I think it would really anchor these elements together but otherwise a nice layout okay this one's a little kind of avant-garde you're kind of using halftone patterns boxes on top so I assume this gray area would be a photo but maybe this is just white some very modern things working here I believe if you just used maybe a sans-serif typeface for the rest of this save this serif typeface for the Masset I think it would look a lot better okay and maybe have these patterns not be stuck in a box I think it wants to be a little bit more free-floating and and kind of have an organic shape to it I think that'd look a lot better the one thing that sticks out to me there's two things actually that aren't working for you is this little red line which doesn't seem to tie-in anything on here okay so it's a little arbitrary we want to use those graphic elements to tie things together the second thing is the thinness of this font also matches the stroke weight of this box so look in here it almost looks like this red is right next to the eye but then it's underneath so there's a lot of weird tangency is happening here it's a font where a bolder sans-serif typeface instead of a serif typeface I think you would have a little bit more forgive a wiggle room or forgiveness in the layout okay let's take a look at your next one so there now you've changed it to a SAN serif typeface but it's also very condensed and thin and so we had these kind of weird repeating things look at the weird space you look inside the C there so there's a little white space kind of trapped in there and you want to avoid that okay so typography is really about understanding overall layout making information read but getting all the details right so I'm gonna use my pen here to point this up little white triangle trapped in there you see that right there little things like that that's what you kind of have to keep pushing and pulling until you get to all those things to work in harmony let's look at the next one okay that's an unusual typeface that's kind of interesting probably not right for us it feels like it's gonna get old really fast okay but I like that you tried that again you're using the drop cap now you've added the yellow box around it I do like the idea of using yellow because it looks like it's highlighting something and so you can use that in elsewhere to use them as a design motif okay let's keep going all right now this one's really funky we're using serif sans serif italicize lower case a lot of like things going on in here and I think because of that we got to keep this layout a lot simpler okay and maybe or you go really crazy with this it's kind of stuck in the middle with a lot of design you don't want to be stuck in the middle you want to be on the extreme on like the avant-garde postmodern expressive typography or on the other side which is like really Swiss modern we're very clean this is somewhere in the middle and I like the exploration here but perhaps this font isn't helping you right now I think you're using is that univer so univer I think I like univer it's very flexible it's almost but it has almost like no personality to it and I like something that's got a little bit more personality using a font like accidents grotesque Helvetica or something else even Victoria would look better and so one thing I want to talk to you a little bit about is maybe activating this space here so I'm gonna show you so I'm gonna sketch Eric you want to get in the camera here alright so the way I'm gonna sketch this is look at this zero zero one the way that I wouldn't do this is to do something like this okay we have that box what I would do is lower the baseline of the 0 1 so that parts of it get cut off and I'm going to deliberately draw this so that it's a little rounder and a little bit more square in proportion so it's we're not gonna use univer okay and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna let it bleed off at the bottom here and then I'm gonna do the slash a slash would look like this so now imagine all of this as the yellow of color right here this is all yellow and the where we see the white we can see the photograph underneath which will add some dimensionality to the layout I'm not calling the rest but you get the idea so this would be the photo here you see so it's going to activate the space underneath it and then we can use this serif typeface as a contrast to the sans-serif over here and like let it bleed through I'm not doing a great job of drawing this letter form but hopefully you guys that are watching on YouTube get the idea now the other thing that you want to do is treat the layout as a three-dimensional thing had this ban of color wrap around the other side and I think you would look really smart somewhere over here so we want to repeat the dimension something over here so it'll feel like it's a ribbon next circuit going around the backside of the page and coming back on this side and then you have all your other typography wherever it may exist and letting it bleed through or overlap so that could be one of your layouts okay make sense all right let's look at the next one okay I'm not in love with this layout and you think there's a lot of issues going on with it whenever we're designing a layout we don't want to cut off the whole page but we don't want to use things that fill up the whole space because it just makes the page smaller and smaller and so what it winds up doing is it creates three separate things like this space this space and this typography on top so we want to get away from that okay so something like this it's much better if you were to break up this black box and maybe inset it so let me let me do a quick sketch about what that might look like alright so here's the page what you don't want to do is just cut it off like that so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna Incept the box so let's say something like that okay and instead of running it all the way up and down because then it trapped excuse me it traps this space and this face which isn't necessary great thing to do let's cut it off here I like to do it a little bit more than half way and we like to repeat elements okay so this element repeats up here so that dimension is being repeated then we can put the business design journal something like that then where you have the zero zero one summer 2016 I would look at doing the same thing there zero zero one summer slash 2016 and add that little graphic in there and then the rest of your copy which looks good you okay and then you could leave this space open so you see now this activates the whole page I'm not cutting anything off and now I put in some really big type in here it's gonna look good you can even try doing something where you you put the baseline and the cap height and you bite them together so you tighten the letting I'm gonna try that and see how it looks keeping what's a here in here and we have three lines of copy so I divide the space into thirds one two and just line across just so I have some guides here and the way you've designed it maybe it's like this so there's my tea maybe it was my age now I'm going to bump like as if we ran in a space here and just continued a line over here I and our okay and I don't like leaving just one letter at the bottom it feels very lonely so I'm going to drop the s down to here okay and the S could happen here could happen here and we just think about this I like the layouts to flow from right to left or right to left so putting it here will make it feel like that's a little separate so I think I want to do this right around let's say right on here so now I have some issues with this little space and if I were doing this computer I would just move this back a little bit so let's compare now that layout next to that layout so one has a symmetrical balance but it allows the layout to breathe a little bit more and so you don't feel like you have separate pieces to look at and that's the trick that's all it is okay all right let's go on to the next one oh this is quite nice I'm not sure I love the justified right rag left with the justified left rag right here I like the colors a lot and I like that you have a big dark area and orange and a pink area I think there's some issues here where this looks a little bit taller than this orange space and they should just be the same or they should be different like I said before if you're in no-man's land with the space it's not a good thing and you want to draw contrast contrast is king so this is a big space this is a lot smaller that's okay so I would make this pink line up here even smaller I shouldn't say pink it's like magenta right yes okay so let's let's keep going okay I see like these are variations of the same layout and you can see now when you when you have more of the space activated this is a much better layout it allows the thing to breathe however you've taken up this whole space again so I bet you if you took just type off played around with this photo like maybe it's not as tall and maybe it doesn't go all the way to the edge your lay it's going to look a lot better already and then you can work back in this typography so when when you're stuck with design you know quite sure why the layout doesn't work start stripping them away things as a little trick here let me hold up this piece of paper thank you if I was to cut off a little bit of that image it would allow the white to kind of move around it it'll look a lot better okay all right let's look at the next one I like the color treatment here I like this do its own thing you got going on there's some nice things working on working out here but I don't love that there's this negative space and there's these bars seem very heavy for what they are but I do like that they're calling emphasis to those two things the name of the are the subtitle and the the number what I don't love is having one word using two different point sizes I think this is the interesting it would be much more interesting if this word 300-point and that were the same point size I know that you're trying to fill a space but I don't think that's necessary or making the same point size and just scale them in here okay let's go on oh this is cool I like this a lot I like that you've cut off what is essentially a very straight typeset and treating the mass headed in this way it's almost not legible but it's it's it just needs a little help and that's it in a layout like this okay I noticed this thing here you're using the print registration marks you'd have to use that pretty heavily throughout so it doesn't feel random right now it feels quite random in there if we just take that off it would be a nice nicer layout and lastly I think we want to repeat elements so you have this strong angle and I think if you were to repeat that as a graphic element like a line if you repeat at the same angle a little line right here and then use the logo right there I think the I would make that connection and draw even our subconscious level it would work it's a similar one I don't I don't love this one I think this is too washed out does he gone okay there's some things that are working really well in this layout using a different font now I think it's din I loved in beautiful font and I like here that you're introducing this kind of over print effect where you're taking two photos and you're letting them print right on top of each other I think the thing that's killing you here is this large mass head on the side I think if you take that out imagine that without it and line it up here and did it kind of big but here I think your layout will look much much better you did a nice job with this I'm not a fan of centered but I think you did a good job here so if something you like centered layout this would be it I think the way you take this a little bit to refine it is to repeat some element here so that it's not just on the left side okay this one's quite nice I like the the breaking of the word thirst I like that that's really bold and up there and large headline copy and this is quite nice this treatment here I'm not sure I love this circular element that's printed on top I like the effect of it but maybe this could be a symbol a font or a word or a letter or a numeral so that has some meaning that's all I want it to do otherwise you have to repeat this so another thing you can do is take the circle take another circle do it here and then a little circle here and it would look really good so let me show you about proportion there you want to create small medium and large right so here's the layout that you have it's something like this okay right now you have the circle kind of right here and I like that maybe you have something like here like that and then something like this large medium small small medium large it'll help to tie it all together but it's strange to just have one element there and you could do also sort of effects it doesn't have to be a solid color it could be whatever you want I think that could look really nice okay let's keep going so you got an angle so we talked about this before having an angle randomly thrown in you need to repeat it somewhere so the way you do that is you cut off parts of the tee or you cut up part of the photograph which could look really good same angle so that it repeats it's important for you to use elements that repeat it's like in music and Composition you have to have like a beat and it repeats or a chorus that repeats so it doesn't sound like noise okay let's keep going one more okay same thing same layout essentially right just different treatment in it okay cool I think you have one more set but we're going to take a break right now and you can look at it in a little bit cool thanks so much okay this tells me a lot about who she is in terms of her desire to kind of figure out kind of almost every exploration that she can she's not gonna get stuck with one expression or one idea and that's a really good sign for a designer is it den that's horrible it looks like euro style yeah yeah I don't like it okay things like this is good things like this are good but I need to see a little bit more so I could read it simplistic and what interesting approach interactive so you just need to give me enough so I can read it okay that's that's beyond the love of legibility okay let's keep looking so you're you're applying shapes and it's dynamic grid it's fine I like this this could be a nice layout for something the typography here is not great I think you're much better taking the type off that I'm just leaving a red triangle and breaking the grid a little bit okay when I look at this page if this were the page it looks really good the only it's not looking good is this and the font that you're using better than that it looks good to me let me see the last page okay so it's that alright so the number one takeaway on this is for you to make sure first go back and look at the things I've already pinned about newspapers that I like that there's enough content and density because I'm not gonna print that many pages I'd rather have it to be full of stuff than to spread it out I'm not trying to do that we're gonna get submissions from different writers they're going to talk about their perspective on business or creative entrepreneurship and I want to I want that in here so we want to get a lot of content in here okay there may be one or two spreads world where it can be more expressive but it can't be the bulk of it when you look at a newspaper I don't have one here but it's gonna have lots and lots of things in it it's trying to get you a lot of information okay let me look at your other font now and that's the last thing that we're gonna do you got a you got to put this together in a way that I can see it I know it's convenient for you to design like that but then I need to see it spreads yeah I think you didn't make this view a spreads but I don't want to deal with that right now okay so here's what I want you to do I want you to go back and look at what we looked at in terms of the newspaper and things that we like and to make sure you design this content to reflect the amount of content we need to have I also don't want you to explore so much anymore we've done this exploration thing that I need to get into really showing me what this magazines gonna look like from cover to cover does that make sense so look at the covers that I liked take into consideration all the things we've talked about today and then go back and do some spreads match it up with a cover do whatever things you need to fix and I'm gonna give you end of day tomorrow what's the day in debate Thursday you show me something again all right it's that cool does that give you enough time it does are you sure because you can tell me no this is what we call allowing the person the designer to say no in case because they feel intimidated and they're gonna say yes and then come back tomorrow at the same time and she's not it there and she's panicked and stressed out so you got to give them permission to say no to you so I'm giving you permission to say no to me right now do you have enough time to do what we talked about perfect thank you very much man and I'll sneak up behind you one more time to scare you just for fun all right guys if you like this kind of video and you want to see more about what it is that we're doing here in terms of design and typography this is a very specific case in terms of designing editorial layout now you like to an editorial layout right not like my other friend editorial is not your weakness so you like doing this stuff you have practice at doing it and if you want to see more content like this let us know in the comments below thought you guys next time

34 Replies to “Graphic Design Tutorial: Typography Design & Art Direction pt. 1”

  1. This is very valuable, thank you for being so transparent about your process.
    I found a way to watch this more productively, by trying to analyze the examples myself first and then listening to Chris explain them, this way it feels like I'm getting critique for my own interpretation

  2. thank you so much for these videos!!! I kinda feel like I have a personal design mentor…which I need since my design teacher at school doesn't teach us anything at all…thanks again. 🙂

  3. recommend this to everyone. took each layout and designed it myself, then followed chris's direction. then made another one just to check what I've learned. Such great video!

  4. Had a feeling that I watched this before, but was so good that I had to re-watch it. I really love content like this, it helps me learn and is very inspiring.

  5. If the design gods have pulled this from the archives and deemed it fit for a second take, who am I, a mere mortal, not to consume again for better understanding?

  6. I like this! It shows me how to think about a design as well as how to critique another without being unstructured or even offensive. Also love to see Chris running around the office and actually sitting down next to a designer to give them feedback in front of the computer screen instead of staying in the studio.

  7. Amazing video, I fell in love with design again and have decided to pursue this field as a career, and since then I've been watching videos on youtube until when I found this channel. All the videos you guys post are a great source and inspiration. Thanks a lot for those rich content and congratulations.

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