FMP: Other Inspiring Designs

This blog post follows on from the last one, which looked at inspiring designs on a space/astronomy theme, whereas this will cover designs from all other areas.


Infographics

Fume Leads to Death
Fume Leads to Death by Heng Chun, Liow
Fume Leads to Death by Heng Chun, Liow

The subject of smoking is highly controversial, with many anti-smoking adverts designed to shock with repulsive imagery, and while I’m sure they have been effective to some, I think more deliberately ignore them due to this. Therefore to see this clean, minimal, but very thought-provoking set of infographic posters is interesting.

Even as a non-smoker, I was especially surprised to see some of the facts, and I had no idea just how many chemicals are in cigarette smoke, and what else those chemicals are found in that you definitely would state was lethal such as paint stripper or rocket fuel.

Fume Leads to Death by Heng Chun, Liow
Fume Leads to Death by Heng Chun, Liow

Part of the campaign also included some conceptual posters, of which I thought the particular poster above was especially impactful as the use of cigarettes instead of bullets in the gun is built on the connotations people have connecting guns with death. The facts are kept subtle and discreet unlike the current trend of making everything large and bold to supposedly make the facts unavoidable.

Left vs. Right: The World
Left vs. Right by David McCandless & Stefanie Posavec
Left vs. Right by David McCandless & Stefanie Posavec

What inspired me with this infographic was how it was split into two symmetrical (connotations of an equal viewpoint rather than a bias) sections, both of which are incredibly detailed, but is ordered in a logical manner so that the audience can logically process what they see. I think it is great how the design makes it easy to compare the two sides unlike some less well thought out comparison infographics where the information is not comprehensive enough for comparisons to be drawn.

Scale of Devastation
Scale of Devastation by David McCandless & Miriam Quick
Scale of Devastation by David McCandless & Miriam Quick

This infographic I thought worked fantastically at explaining and presenting in proportion, how much land had been destroyed by certain disasters. Colour-coding according to popular connotations (blue = water) makes it easy to understand.

Something that is not pointed to in the infographic, but subliminally inferred to I think is the mismatch in size of disaster compared to the amount of media coverage it received, no doubt depending on the number of people affected and where they were. Then by comparing it to the surface area of the UK really brings it into perspective just how much land is destroyed by disasters.


Books & Magazines

Countrywide: Infographic Report
Countrywide: Infographic Report by The Design Surgery
Countrywide: Infographic Report by The Design Surgery

This infographic book is inspiring to me because of its format in particular. Up to this point in my mind I had been thinking of producing a very smart, perfect bound book. But here, I can see the potential of saddle stitching, which would allow for a smaller turn-in, which allows the book to be laid flat and be more flexible, something that would suit my audience well. I had not previously considered this due to the expected quality, but this design looks of a really professional high quality that would give me confidence to go in this direction for my book.

Countrywide: Infographic Report by The Design Surgery
Countrywide: Infographic Report by The Design Surgery

Looking inside the book, the infographics have a strong level of contrast (even if I am personally not keen on the dark purple background) that make it very clear to see what is being pointed to, which is very important for this type of design.

Countrywide: Infographic Report by The Design Surgery
Countrywide: Infographic Report by The Design Surgery

The final point I wanted to make about the design of this book is the grid that underpins it. I know I will need a good grid to underpin my book, and seeing this design split into three columns seems a really good use of the space to balance between text and images, while the vertical divisions make good use of guidelines and different type sizes to create a visual hierarchy that orders how the audience will view the page in a logical, ordered manner, perfect for their audience.

Road Book
RoadBook designed by Pentagram
Road Book designed by Pentagram

This up-market magazine places a great importance on imagery, hence why it inspired me as I see a similarity between that and the book I will be producing. By bleeding the image off the page and placing a stroke around the main ‘F1’ text with no fill, allows the image to remain visible with no hidden areas, but still stands out.

Chicane 
Chicane by Tim Bisschop
Chicane by Tim Bisschop
Chicane by Tim Bisschop
Chicane by Tim Bisschop

The book makes excellent use of a bright orange spot colour used on the spine and title on the front cover. It surprises me seeing just how it makes the book stand out, and really enhances the design, being such a contrast to the murky image. The other thing that makes this design interesting to me is the grainy texture of the image contrasted with the smoothness of the text and orange spine.

Astray Travel Co : Trip Book
Astray Travel Co : Trip Book by Rebecca Williams
Astray Travel Co : Trip Book by Rebecca Williams

I was first impressed by these travel books when I saw the front covers with the topographical design fitting into the images. It sets a scene that set an adventurous tone for the book’s contents.

Astray Travel Co : Trip Book by Rebecca Williams
Astray Travel Co : Trip Book by Rebecca Williams

With the map of South America above, it is interesting to see it is printed on translucent paper, which lets the image from the page below rise through to form a background. I think it’s a really clever great looking idea and I think could work well in the type of book I am producing to reveal sections as the reader progresses.

It could even be used to reveal constellations, so for example you could have an image of the night sky, and then have a cover sheet with the lines marking the constellations drawn onto them, as is visible in the below idea I have shown.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 16.28.42

The mock-up above (albeit rather quick and unrealistic in some areas) also highlights another interesting point, I immediately thought having an opacity as low as possible (25%) would be best, but actually a higher opacity (75%) is better as all the stars are still visible, but the brightest ones are now more noticeable than before.

Astray Travel Co : Trip Book by Rebecca Williams
Astray Travel Co : Trip Book by Rebecca Williams

What inspired me with this was how a little book looks to have been incorporated into the main book, a very clever idea that could have lots of potential for many different subjects as well as providing an intriguing surprise for the audience. Overall, it would be a great way of separating content from the main pages.


Illustration

PSB. Inside and Outside 
PSB. Inside and Outside by Vladimir Andreev
PSB. Inside and Outside by Vladimir Andreev

This illustration immediately attracted my attention being of a Formula 1 car, and upon closer inspection, I was very impressed at the level of detail in the cutaway drawing, certainly a more detailed look at the inside of an F1 car than is possible. Much in the same vein as the Space Shuttle illustration I spoke about in my last blog post, it shows how successful a detailed illustration can be at gaining and keeping the audience’s attention.

PSB. Inside and Outside by Vladimir Andreev
PSB. Inside and Outside by Vladimir Andreev

Scrolling down the page and seeing the other illustrations, I was really interested to see the one above of the train, where the cutaway drawing is reflected from the original illustration. I think this is a very clever way of illustrating it as well as showing its inner structure, which makes me wonder if it would work with a planet, something I will be experimenting with as the project progresses.

Canadian Olympic Committee Rebrand
Canadian Olympic Committee Rebrand by The Still Brandworks
Canadian Olympic Committee Rebrand by The Still Brandworks

The reason this design inspired me was because of its boldness through a combination of geometric shapes, and made me look at a design I would not otherwise have taken much interest in. It made me think how it can be possible, with the right design, to attract people who may not be actively interested, but could be potentially drawn in.


Conclusion – How will this inspire my designs?

After looking at these designs, there are a few points that stick out to me which I will summarise below and be thinking about when designing the solution to the brief. As many of the designs are inspirational for similar reasons to those in the last blog post, I’ll include the same summary below and then add to it.

  • Colour is a very important visual tool to identify elements.
  • The simpler, the better when it comes to explaining content.
  • Use simple illustrations when explaining content.
  • Use detailed illustrations to immerse the audience.
  • Unusual features can hold the audience’s interest. 
  • Including defining features can evoke connotations.
  • A different format can hold the reader’s interest if done well.
  • A colour scheme can also build a visual hierarchy.
  • Do something different to prevent a boring stereotypical design.
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