top of page


I truly believe that as a designer they key to success is to submerge yourself in the world of design and art. To look at what is going on around you, new technology, methods, designers appear all the time. This Blog is a method in which I can research and share with you all my idea of what is important in design.



Within design one thing people respond to straight away, even with an untrained eye is colour. Colour has a psychology around it and can immediately give a response to the viewer. We, just like any other animal have an instinctive reaction to certain colours, for example the yellow and black markings of a wasp strikes a warning sign in our brains to stay away. This instinctive reaction throughout human history has made us think certain ways about colour and what it stands for, the white of a wedding dress with connotations of purity and virginity, Black being used a symbol of mourning and respect and even down to how we dress our children due to their sex. We as human beings respond so instinctively to colour that it is no surprise of its importance in design.


According to “Black Bear Design” in a study of the world’s top 100 brands blue came out on top with 33% of brands using the colour as part of their brand identity, this was then followed by red at 29%, black or grayscale at 28% and finally yellow at 13%.


Let’s take a look at some of the most popular global brands and their associated colours.


Since 1886 Coca Cola have used a bold shocking red on their products giving them a bold presence on a store shelf. When looking for the soft drink it is easy to spot through the immense number of competitors with its bold instantly recognisable colour. The colour red has connotations of excitement, power and energy perfect qualities for the branding of a soft drink. In article written by the Daily Mail, researchers found that the colour red was the most effective at encouraging impulse buying.


The Parisian fashion house “Chanel” known for their luxurious timeless fashion and perfumes use black as a single colour within their logo all their marketing, campaign graphics and packaging feature black somewhere within the design. Black can be used in design to create a classic sophistication to a design. It can be used to create simple lines and silhouettes that tend to stay in style opposed to trend colours that change with the times. Its connotations of prestige, formality and glamour are prefect for a couture fashion house such as Chanel that promote this identity within the brand. 


5% of the 100 brands within the study use more than 2 colours within their brand identity. The global online marketplace “Ebay” used 4 colours within their logo and has been designed on the meanings of these colours represent.


We have already discussed the uses of red in design but arguably the most popular colour used is blue. The colour blue is thought to ease people with its relation to the sea and sky, it stands for trustworthiness and dependability. In the same article written by the daily mail the colour blue came out on top for a more thoughtful and budget conscious purchase response, a quality which an online retailer would not fail to promote. Yellow has always had warm connotations of hope, creativity and joy encouraging independent sellers to use trust and use Ebay as a place to sell their product. Green is the last colour Ebay use in their logo. Green is synonymous and popular with the idea of health, abundance and recycling.


The colours used within the design of the Ebay logo bring all these connotations of colour together cleverly to promote these values straight away without having to explain. This is the power that colour can have in design.

Screenshot 2021-05-20 at 15.09.40.png

Atlanta Graphic Design



Contempoary Typographers


One from of design that sets graphic designers out from other methods of design is the use and understanding of typography. Every day we are bombarded with typography, whether it’s from books, digital, shop fronts or packaging it is constantly around us.


The art form goes back to ancient times from Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese moveable typography prints from the 11th century to the invention of the Gutenberg's printing press in 1440. It is safe to say that typography has been an important staple in human history.


In the 21st century with technology been used ever more to create art a new wave of contemporary designers are making their mark on type. I’ve chosen 3 typographers work to compare; all have a different approach to type design.  


1.Ahn Sang-Soo

Ahn Sang-Soo uses a simplistic approach using the Hangul alphabet (Alphabet of South Korea) to create a beautiful typeface that really captivates Korean design.


At first glance at his work it may seem an easy approach to typography, however this is the beauty to his work. As you can see by this example the mathematical equations to produce the perfect amount of balance and weight show the amount of skill that typographers have.



2.Victoria Rushton

Trained as an illustrator before realising her love of type design. In Rushton’s typeface “Marcia” you can see the connection of the two art forms. There is a playful freeness to the type for example the use of beautiful simple curves that connect from the S to the ascender of the T give an almost whimsical feel. This is a prime example that type itself can bring across a message not just its content.



3.Stefan Sagmeister

Well known for his graphical art that uses typography heavily as inspiration. He uses a broad approach to his typography using different media from digital to body paint. The type is expressive, provocative and modern.

Picture 1.jpg

Ahn Sang-Soo

Picture 3.png

Victoria Rushton

Picture 2.jpg

Ahn Sang-Soo

Picture 4.gif

Stefan Sagmeister

FSC Paper


As a society we tend to think of paper as automatically recyclable, it’s an organic material, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case paper that is contaminated with things such as grease, food and plastics cannot be recycled and ends up adding to 26% of the worlds landfills every year. The amount of energy and resources needed is immense, “” states that “To print a Sunday edition of the New York Times requires 75,000 trees."


As Graphic Designer’s I feel we should be responsible and do our part to cut down this immense waste of natural resources however, there is a problem that stands in our way, printer ink is a contaminant. One way to make sure that the paper stock we buy in is from well managed forests that cut down the waste of trees is by using FSC paper.


The FSC mission statement is “Forests for all forever” they support this message by a certification system that awards forest management and the chain of custody a globally recognised certificate. This not only protects the forests themselves but the wildlife, indigenous people and the rights of workers.


So, what are the pros of using FSC certified paper within design? Not only can the designer know that they have used paper that is helping protect the environment, but the client can also know this. Environmentally friendly products have become more and more popular over the years with climate change being one of, if not the biggest problem the modern world faces. It is a selling point and a marketing statement to companies that the population will respond to.


There are some issues however, all FSC papers are from environmentally friendly managed forests however not all are recyclable paper. To print the FSC certified logo you need to allow space to show it at its proper dimensions, this would be an issue for smaller designs such as business cards.


I do believe that these issues are so small in comparison to the bigger issue of the environment and with new generations of designers coming into the industry it is up to us to carry on sustainable design for the future.



Pentagram, why is it one of the best?


There is no graphic design firm in the world as renowned as Pentagram but what has made the firm so successful and such a staple in the design world?


The first ideology that makes Pentagram stand out from others is their belief that all the company directors should be working designers in their own right. This means that the owners of the business actually create the work and are the primary contact for the client. It makes the commitment of design a very personal process that they believe is the trademark of great design.


Working so closely with clients they understand that design is so subjective, and clients can feel anxious or overwhelmed by the whole process. With design giants such as Paula Scher, Michael Beirut and Natasha Jen in contact with their clients they are able to make the client feel at ease and guide them through to the finished product with their immense experience. This allows the designers to take risks with their clients and produce innovative design.


The company started in 1972 and has Keept up with changing times and trends, this is another important factor that has brought the firm such success. It was only a few years ago that “unboxing” became a user journey for packaging where every step of opening a package had to be thoughtful and well designed.


The company directors all sit together in an area of the studio which allows a constant flow of support, creativity and different ideas bringing this whole idea of unity together. The firm also knows the importance of collaboration and this set up allows this to happen in a much more natural manner.


The company believes that design never stops, that it is not just a box to check off when the design is finished. That in mind they have a selection of work constantly on the walls to remind them of the process, mistakes and the ability to self-critique work which Natasha Jen states is one of the most important abilities in a good designer.


With all these ideologies of what makes good design so important to Pentagram and with the directors being designers from all different backgrounds, perspectives and sensibilities it creates a working environment which is unique to Pentagram.


If you were practising on your own, you wouldn't necessarily be provoking yourself to think in certain ways. That cyclical reinvention is happening for each partner. The formula, if there is a formula, is in that regeneration"

Pentagram directors Paula Scher and Natasha Jen discussing a project

- Michael Beirut


Michael Beirut (Pentagram) - Architectural League of New York’s annual Beaux Arts Ball


Paula Scher (Pentagram) - Shakespeare in the park

The Perfect Business Card


The business card, search on google if you dare… You’ll receive a bombardment of different designs and styles with online generators that will “help you and your standout!” or “Your business deserves the best!” If I’m being 100% honest, I myself, with 2 design degree’s still find the business card to be one of the most challenging aspects of Graphic Design. Firstly, it is so personal to the client, secondly you don’t want it to be boring, yet it needs to come across professional and legible in such a small space. So, how do we do this? How do we make the perfect business card? I personally believe that solid simplicity design is the best way to achieve this, let the business logo do the talking! Simplicity is no way has to be boring or generic but is the best way to keep a timeless and professional feel of design.


Firstly, let’s look at layout. This “GDE, Family Law” business card is a perfect example of the simplicity I was speaking about before. The logo on a bare white card with sharp square edges gives a clean, professional and sophisticated feel. The information on the reverse of the card has been well thought out on the grid making use of the availability space without over cluttering to confuse. Different weights of a sans serif typeface have been used to let the eye easily flow around the card.


What about something a little more playful? Not all your clients will be wanting something so serious, however it always needs to be professional. This card for “The Poke Story” used the playfulness of the logo for its inspiration. A playful trim of fish scales running across the bottom and the turquoise colour scheme taken through to the icons and website address. The curves of the card mirror the circular logo and add a nice touch of softness to the look.


Any special finishes? Printers offer a wide arrange of finishes and cuts that can make the card stand out while still keeping a professional and simplistic feel. Try a die cut to give an ultra-modern feel like this design for “STIR” the die cut sits perfectly with the strong sans serif type and has a minimal elegance that really speaks for the brand.


If we are looking at the essential’s the information you have on the card is of course your functional reason for designing it. All information should be clear and straight forward to read, there should be no hesitation about where to contact the person. The design is always inspired by the brand, so it is important you know who they are, research them, speak to the client and ask what kind of message they want to convey.

Picture 1.jpg

business card design by vanessarnaynard.

Picture 3.jpg

Business card by Rose for The Poke Story.

Picture 2.jpg

Business card by sashadesigns for STIR.

Classic Typeface Pairings


Pairing to typefaces together can be a difficult and sometimes stressful experience. As any designer knows the use of two fonts together can bring a whole new level to a design. The idea behind a classic pairing is to make it look seamless, pairing two typefaces together that are so opposite in styles can drag the eye away from the content you are trying to frame and cause disruption to the reader. With that being said you don’t want the typefaces to be so similar in style as to blend together, I feel this can sometimes be even worse that having two types fighting with each other – it just looks like a giant mistake!


One way to get a seamless pairing is to look at type families. I’m going to use “Franklin Gothic ATF” here as an example due to its large collection of fonts. The font family boasts a large array of different variations in weight and style. You can see in my portfolio I’ve used it a few times myself. This gives you a large variation of type to work with for example, using the “ULT” for a headline, regular for body content and perhaps thin for captions would give you a beautiful variation of type that will give depth to your design.


When it can get more difficult is trying to pair together serif and san serif fonts together, it can start to get messy and jarring. Helvetica, a sans serif font, one of the most used and popular fonts in the industry and can be a designer’s best friend. Easy to read, clean and is strong enough to take on a variety of different fonts without getting lost in the crossfire. In this example from they have paired it together the classic serif font Garamond. Helvetica helps frame the content bellow which has more traditional qualities, evoking a more sophisticated feel to the type. They work harmoniously together, no jarring or fighting between these fonts but and inviting appeal to the reader.


Let’s now take a look an opposite example, a serif font mixed with sans serif body content. This type the header feels a little more bold and has an air of fun to it with the curved tail of the Y and head of the F. A font such as Playfair Display with its playful style to it needs a strong bold font to hold it up on the page. A sans serif font such as source sans pro used in the example is perfect for this, It also adds the modern edge needed to keep the content looking cool and current which stops the page looking dowdy.


At the end of the day it is all about experimentation, but keeping these guidelines – Sans serif with serif and using font families you are bound to come up with some winning combinations which you can add to your design bible!


Franklin Gothic ATF typeface - Adobe fonts


Hand Drawn Lettering


With the world becoming more and more digital every year and technology becoming so ingrained in our society it is refreshing to see Hand drawn lettering coming back into style. There is something so free about the weight of line, the imperfections of the human hand drawing that screams creativity and design than any computerised typeface.


Darren Booth creates beautiful illustrations and typography that really show off the advantages of a hand drawn technique. The texture within his type is so unique to a hand painted effect that it would be impossible to create this in photoshop so naturally. It gives the type life and depth, a grit behind it that can tell a story. His work captures what typography design should really be about, that the design helps convey the message of the word. The traits that come with designing by hand can give an instant demand for attention on a page or a brand that leaves the reader wanting to know more.


The freeness of a line can add emotion and a vibe to a message. For example, Kyle Steeds illustration of the camper van. This play use of weights of line and the imperfections of curves, kerning and placement gives the appearance of a carefree attitude. It goes against how we are taught it typography – to have everything so mathematical and precise. Yet there is such beauty in this work that pushes the message written. Travelling the open road and finding yourself, not knowing where you will end up. Try conveying that on using the “correct” methods of typography as see if you can get the same effect. – You won’t.


Brands have been picking up the Hand drawn style for a while now, recognising the effects it can have on their business. It can have a comical and relaxed vibe that some companies want to convey. Stack and Still, a restaurant that’s concept is beer and pancakes with unusual flavours and ingredients have adopted this style of branding in their restaurants. Their list of different style pancakes gives the menu a quirky edge that goes well with their comical descriptions of them. All adding to the relaxed fun atmosphere that they bring to their service.


Artwork by Darren Booth

Picture 1.gif

Artwork by Kyle Steeds


Stack and Still, Braehead, Glasgow. Wallpaper

Type On The Highstreet


With the Highstreet these days ever changing with a new business appearing, shops re branding, there is a vast array of type everywhere you look. In fact, we are bombarded with typefaces every day and we become so normalised by this as part of daily life that do we even notice it? For example, Helvetica, one of the most famous typefaces. Used by BBC online and splattered all over New York as the typeface for the subway. It is also used closer to home in for the Superdry logo Pinned with the Japanese sans serif it transforms this type into a modern bold clean logo. American Apparel is another brand that uses the clean simple typeface to promote their brand identity Young, clean with and edge. It’s hard to believe these brands use Helvetica to appear modern when it was created in the 1950’s.


Next, we come to House of Frasers. The store front in Glasgow uses a serif font which has more of a feel of traditional, class and luxury qualities – A huge part of the brands identity. The colour black on a gold backdrop with overhead lighting really pumps up the idea of luxury within the store and is very welcoming.


It’s not all shops on the Highstreet, Restaurants seem to get away with using much more decorative and creative fonts that of stores. Bar Soba for example, an Asian style street food venue that boasts an array of cocktails, music and fun atmosphere uses a font heavily inspired by the futuristic Asian style design. It is bold, eye catching and well-designed, welcoming in people for an evening of drinks and food.


Lastly there is a style of type that has been stappled into Glasgow before these stores and restaurants appeared on our Highstreet, the street signs themselves. Serif style in design, they are on every corner of the city centre, leading down to the West End and beyond! Functional with use of Hierarchy, the font underneath telling you what are of the city you are in these signs are a staple of Glasgow.   


Superdry logo


Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire


House of Frasers


Bar soba, Manchester


Glasgow Times images

bottom of page