Tag Archives: graphic design

#231/365 Graphic Design


Milton Glaser

To me, there are two schools of thought when it comes to graphic design: the Conceptual and the Aesthetic.

I’m a firm believer in the former. I studied graphic design at Jacob Kramer College of Art in Leeds in the early to mid 80s. Before computers were even invented! Well, maybe not invented. But certainly not in use in the industry at the time. We had to create everything by hand.

It is only with a concept, an idea, that we can engage the viewer’s neural pathways – which helps them remember the message you are trying to convey. Whereas, the purely aesthetic, is superficial.


Herb Lubalin

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that conceptual design shouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing – it should have both. It’s just aesthetics alone are not enough. We need to create windows, not wallpaper.

Here are a few examples that contain the Smile in the Mind. Smile in the Mind is when the concept requires the viewer to complete the circle. To interact with the idea for it to have meaning for them.


Graeme Cooper Photography

Graeme Cooper Photography



Cycling poster
















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Andy Warhol in the soup again

Campbell’s Soup are celebrating fifty years since Andy Warhol immortalised their can of tomato soup by bringing out a range of limited edition labels.

If you’re in The States you can pick up one of these collectibles for a paltry 75 cents. (Bet they’ll be going for a damn sight more than on Ebay in years to come.)

Campbell’s own design team, in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, created the cans which will be on sale later this month.

50 years of Campbell’s.

The original Tomato Soup can, 1962. By Andy Warhol.

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I think pretty much everybody in the world will be familiar with the I ‘heart’ NY symbol. ‘Less you be trekking through the jungles of a remote pacific island unawares that WWII is actually over.

It was designed in 1976 for the New York tourist board by Milton Glaser, commissioned by ad agency Wells Rich Greene.

It has cemented its place in graphic design history having been copied and plagiarised ad infinitum.

I’ve even parodied it myself for a grab hire company in Doncaster. (A grab being a sort of digger on the back of a lorry that picks up muck.)

Now what has all this got to do with hating cheese I hear you squeak.

Well, it’s more to do with opposites: Yin & Yang, Black & White, Day & Night, Love & Hate…

Now, I don’t actually ‘hate’ anyone so I was finding it hard to decide who, or what, to use for my example of I Love NY’s antonym. But there is one thing that I hate and that thing is CHEESE.

Cheese makes me vomit. Literally. I detest the stuff. Even the smell makes me feel nauseous. Except for mozzarella for some reason. Maybe because it comes from buffalos, I don’t know.

I think my loathing for all things curdled stems from my primary school days when a rather buxom dinner lady forced me to stand on a chair in the dining hall and eat a bowl of apple pie and custard with a cube of crumbly cheddar semi-submerged within it.

I imagine most cheese lovers might find the combination repugnant, let alone a six-year old boy protesting that he didn’t like cheese.

Well, suffice it to say, after publicly humiliating me in front of my peers, I promptly threw up all over the table. And her.

I haven’t done any exhaustive research to see if this idea already exists. By that, I mean inverting the heart symbol to signify hate, not the idea of promoting cheese hating. If it does, I apologise for wasting your time.

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Book Cover Designs

Book cover designs for my own work. I am fascinated with fractals, how they are echoed in nature. Their intricacy, their colours, their self-replication [similarity]. And whilst they might not be pertinent to the content of the books, they are pertinent to me. And they do set a ‘house’ style, in the same way Penguin have always done.

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Filed under Art, Books, Design, Haiku, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, Poetry, Writing

But does it float?

But does it float is an interesting website where I found these gems. The cover designs link through to a German website which has a myriad of other examples for your delectation. I would have linked the covers directly to the German site but when I tried it was verboten. You can still access them by the But does it Float website. It’s worth the extra little bit of clicking.

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Herb Lubalin


Herb Lubalin

There are two schools of thought in graphic design. Ideas based and style based. No surprises for guessing which I prefer. This is a logo designed by the inimitable Herb Lubalin.

Pure genius. Genius.

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Maximum meaning, minimum means

Abram Games

Abram Games poster

Went to see an amazing exhibition of the work of graphic designer, Abram Games at the Williamson Art Gallery on the Wirral.

His mantra of: ‘Maximum meaning, minimum means’ resonates with me personally in the way I like to art direct my own communications. The idea is king and the art direction/design should only serve to amplify the idea. Create windows, not wallpaper would be my own mantra.

In this example, he has used the equation we take for granted these days: problem + solution = smile in the mind. If we create communications that make us complete the circle in our minds then we are exercising our neural pathways. This, in turn, allows the message to get a foothold in our short-term memory bank.

(Unlike a flat ‘Buy xxxxx for only £1.99’ message, which will only stick in the memory if it is forced in there with a media budget the size of Hannibal’s battering ram. There is no persuasion – only information.)

In the majority of Games’ work there is an idea. A simple idea that engages the consumer in a dialogue rather then a monologue.

The work is refreshing, beautiful and has transcended from advertising into art. If you can’t get the opportunity to visit the exhibition, you can see more of his work on the links below.




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