Main image – one of our projects for Jaguar Heritage – using the tail fin of the D-type to form the 60 to graphically link them.

The art of layout and graphic design is as old as art itself – maybe even older. Daubs of paint or branches laid on the floor for way finding dates back thousands of years, and while techniques have changed, the basic premise is the same – to inform, visually.

And these days a digital graphic design agency encompasses many things – brand, marketing, online, UI and UX, motion – all joined together with principles of layout, colour and text to convey a message.

To design a poster you need to have a clear vision of what the message is, who it is aimed at and how you will compel the viewer to act on it, and the same can be said for any design medium, it is to generate an impulse – a ‘call to action’. It’s no good using an image of a fox to sell a car, unless the model is a Fox – context is one of the most important things to get right, but that said, sometimes something out of the ordinary is used to knock the target audience off-track, a technique in advertising called ‘relative abruption’. If you see a large red sign saying stop, you’ll likely act on it. Likely too, if you saw a huge orange sign saying ‘juice’ you might start feeling thirsty.

Once the audience is drawn in on your headline and hero image, the next step is hierarchy. What do they need to know text? Is a headline and a logo enough? Do you need more ‘conviction’ in the form of a qualifying message to secure the viewers interest? And a contact number? For some large brands, a compelling image and a their brand icon is enough. For less well know brands, a little more narrative is needed. Traditionally, adverts in particular follow the ‘curve of conviction’ – message top left, narrative in the middle and logo bottom right – the way a viewer tends to read a peace of communication, with the logo as the final piece to stick in their mind’s eye Although, Orange bucked that trend with a series of abstract adverts with large orange objects – which worked to great effect.

Great and simplistic use of bold headline, brand font, brand colours and the wavy 'brand device' to strike an engaging and amusing message.

Great and simplistic use of bold headline, brand font, brand colours and the wavy ‘brand device’ to strike an engaging and amusing message.

So we have message, context, hierarchy – we also need space. Lots of it. Less is definitely more when trying to communicate visually – think of road signs and other signage. There are theories around Fibonacci’s ‘golden ratio‘ which is used in all aspects of life – a magic ratio which determines composition, with some fascinating results. In fact, people have also drawn comparisons in nature. Which some 60 years earlier, Malcolm Sayer, designer of the E-type Jaguar, mathematician and artist also drew inspirations from nature, following aesthetic form in an organic fashion.

With all this in place, we need the design itself, the creative tailors dummy from which it sits elegantly – colours, shapes and typography, all arranged appealingly.

How do you do that? With years of graphic design agency experience and an eye for aesthetics. And truly great design often goes against the rules – but you have to know them to break them.

IBM-posters

Fantastic use of negative space in these adverts to give a double meaning.

 

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