APP2: Inspiring Design

For this blog post, I want to detail the designs that I find inspirational towards the book I am to design. Most of the inspiration here is from Behance and Pinterest, as I find a lot there that I can save to look at at the beginning of future projects.

I begin by highlighting the Range Rover Sport press pack by FP Creative. I admire their work, and was shocked when I did not like their Range Rover press pack. This design though really held my attention because of the excellent photography and grid system. While all good designs work on a grid system, here it is very visible, clearly dividing the page elements. Grids will be very important to underpin my book, whether they are visible or not.

Range Rover Sport press pack by FP Creative
Range Rover Sport press pack by FP Creative

The digital version is the same, with unequal sizing providing a sense of dynamism – something perfect to describe the most dynamic model in the Land Rover range. With similar tones in the different photographs however, the grid starts to blend in more so that it does not appear harsh or dominant.

While on the subject of Land Rover and FP Creative, their portfolio contains a book charting the Journey of Discovery adventure to raise money for the Red Cross. I have discussed this book previously, but since that blog post, I now own a copy of the book, so I thought I would discuss some elements with my new understanding. The images below are screenshots from the Issuu version of this book.

The large size works excellently here, with ample space for the exemplary photography contained within.

Land Rover - Journey of Discovery book by FP Creative
Land Rover – Journey of Discovery book by FP Creative

Something that can really only be appreciated seeing first-hand is the excellent reproduction of the colours, especially the orange which given its intensity must be a spot colour.

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 18.06.16

Information is laid out in this book in a style more commonly seen in information graphic posters,  with different types sizes and colours creating a concentrated hierarchy amidst all of the many impressive and fascinating facts that made up this expedition.

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 18.06.50
Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 18.07.20

Type is neatly packaged throughout the book, working around the photography and being in blocks that feature suitable line lengths, not being too short (breaking the reader’s flow) or too long (slowing down the reader excessively).

There is also a suitable contrast between the heading and body copy that is very important for me to get right when I design my book.

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 18.07.04

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 18.09.23

The next piece I want to look at was some typography I came across for a branding project on Behance. The contrast between sans-serif and serif is one that I will be exploring, as I will need a display typeface for headings and a body copy typeface for other text. Seeing that these are Google Fonts, I will explore Google’s range of free Web Fonts to ensure I open my eyes to typography for this project to give myself more options to ensure I find the correct ones.

Rubirosa Branding typeface selection
Rubirosa Branding typeface selection

When investigating into WordPress themes, as I was thinking about updating this blog’s theme, which has now been achieved, (thanks to WordPress’ 2014 theme) one theme I was inspired by was the premium Traveler theme.

The full width header and dark background provide an excellent template for photography to be showcased, while the grid system provided a sense of order to the page. A sense of order is something I feel I will need throughout my designs for this book, as I am aware of the amount of information that will need to be present.

Traveler premium theme on
Traveler premium theme on

The NASA Earth is Art book was a very interesting design, for many reasons. The grid is extremely visible here, and rather abstract in many ways with the photography mixed in with coloured blocks that I presume have picked out the most interesting swatches of colour from those photographs, showing the Earth’s diversity and beauty.

NASA 'Earth is Art' book
NASA ‘Earth is Art’ book

The use of negative space around the quote is noticeable as it places the entire focus of the reader on that quote. This allows the reader minimal distractions so they can take the time if they wish to really think about what the statement means. This is important for the book I am to produce about St. Luke’s Church as there are many interesting quotes that could be given special attention like this.

However, it is important that this technique is not overused within the book, as readers will take more time to investigate something that is different, over a ubiquitous element that readers will merely glance at when browsing through a book.

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 13.24.05

The minimal design throughout works well to remove visual clutter. While the page below looks sparse, the free PDF downloadable file only shows one page instead of a spread, these screenshots show a page, but in reality the reader would be seeing a spread, where the two pages would beautifully balance each other.

This page is a typographic example of a highly legible design that is very unassuming, but gets the job done, to communicate facts and information to the reader.
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 13.24.23

Roadbook is an example of a high-end design produced by Pentagram. I first became aware of it a few months ago when my tutor was kind enough to point it out to me, and I was very impressed with how premium it looked, thanks to minimal type, excellent photography and well judged design elements. While my audience is completely different, many of the design elements will carry over, such as the breathing space given to the photography inside.

The example spread below is very clever, as the pages work alone and as a spread, with the ‘F1’ type allowing more of the image to be seen beneath. The use of thin guidelines either side help to just make the grid visible, and provide a box for the typography to work within.

McLaren F1 article - Pentagram 'Roadbook' magazine
McLaren F1 article – Pentagram ‘Roadbook’ magazine

The next design piece I was inspired by was Dwell – Coastal Cities Revisited by Yi Xiang Lim, featured on the Book Design Blog. While much of the design actually does not appeal to me, there were a couple of points that really stood out.

The first was the element of the sky. The sky’s pale gradient and serene colours gives a sense of calm to the page, something I think could be reflected in the book I am designing, to balance the reader’s mind as they look through the book. Colours could be used to sum up the ambience of St. Luke’s Church.

Dwell - Coastal Cities Revisited by Yi Xiang Lim
Dwell – Coastal Cities Revisited by Yi Xiang Lim

The other element that stood out at me was the typography for major quotes that uses a sky as a backdrop, flooding the type with colour. This is something that I think could be used to good effect in my designs, although I would not use such a thick typeface as it will not create the desired effect. 

The final design I want to show, McLaren: 50 Years of Racing, also comes courtesy of being featured on the Book Design Blog, but being a Formula 1 fan, especially a McLaren one, I could not have failed to notice this book! A true coffee-table book, it features beautiful photography combined with informative text.

McLaren: 50 Years of Racing
McLaren: 50 Years of Racing

Body copy is set neatly, being placed into columns as can be seen on the left page. The grid is neat and formal here, with a small image on the left side fitting neatly into the column under the text.

To conclude this blog post, I feel I have better understood some of the design elements I will need to use for my book. The most noticeable elements include:

  • Using grids.
  • Creating powerful focal points (text and images).
  • Typography contrast (sans-serif/serif).
  • Colour psychology.

Now I will look further into these elements, and while doing so, I will start to experiment and create ideas that can be used to form the design of the book.