MD2 – Week 5

Written Communication

I like to read a good book or two on holiday, but I love to own non-fiction books, particularly about graphic design!

When I was young, I had two favourite books. One was a big hard back book full of all the classic fairy tales along with some beautiful illustrations. I remember being given it as a present by my parent’s friends and being so excited that it belonged just to me! I read it so much so, the spine got broken.

I have no recollection how the second book came into my possession, but I can vividly remember what it looked and how it felt. It was small and square and had a brown leather cover that I think was padded. It was a story about a boy who had adventures on his way to deliver a round loaf of bread. It had lovely illustrations which were printed in just brown ink on cream coloured paper.

I don’t know what happened to my copy of the book – it might still be in my parent’s loft, but I did a quick search online and was able to find some images of it. It was called ‘The Story of a Round Loaf.’

The Story of the Round Loaf

I loved this book because of the way it felt – I remember rubbing my hands over the cover because it felt different to other books. The boarder and text were debossed into the leather – it had texture.

Whenever I buy a new book today, I always run my hands over the cover to feel it and anticipate what the pages inside might contain! Some of my favourite books now, are ones that have texture or different printing techniques added to them that stand out from the others.

Futura & Alan Kitching

When I was starting my further education in design, we were sent a list of recommended books for my course. I still have these books which now seem very dated but at the time there weren’t many graphic design books around. I would visit Waterstones and browse the photography and art sections, but there would be hardly anything on graphic design or even typography. In the last 10 years or so this had changed dramatically and with the introduction of the internet and businesses like Amazon, finding and sourcing books online has become so easy. My personal collection has increased so much so that I am running out of space!

Bookcase

Of the design books that I have in my collection, the ones I enjoy reading the most are the ones with a story, ones that are beautifully printed or ones that are different and interesting.

GraphicDesign& is a publishing house that have produced quite a few books which looks at a certain topic and then collaborates with other designers to see how they view and ultimately visualise that topic.

For example, one of their books is called ‘Golden Meaning, Fifty-Five Graphic Experiments’, which asks designers, typographers and image makers to communicate, demonstrate or explore the maths concept, the golden mean.

It is great to see how different all the responses were to the brief but what I love most about the book is that it is quite small, it is the entirely printed using a gold-coloured ink, except on the cover where it uses a small amount of gold foil block for the title.

I own four of their books now and whilst the subject of each book is very different, they have maintained a similar size and are easily recognisable as a GraphicDesign& book.

GraphicDesign&

I really enjoy books which are stories about design by designers. A few years ago I was able to visit ‘Hatch Show Print’ which is a printing shop in Nashville, Tennessee. Famous for producing posters for entertainers from country musicians and magicians to wrestlers and rock stars! I was able to have a tour around the shop and also do some of my own letterpress printing. When leaving, I bought a book called ‘Hatch Show Print – The history of a Great American Poster Shop’, which is written by three people, one of whom has been the manager of the shop since 1984 – Jim Sherraden.

I met Jim when buying the book and while he was talking to us about where we were from, he signed the book along with a lovely illustration on the inside page. An ink pen design straight onto the page – all whilst talking to us!

Hatch Show Print

It is a book on the history of the print shop over the last hundred years or more but it is also filled with personal stories and memories of the people that have worked there over that time. I am very interested in letterpress printing and country music – so it’s the perfect book!

Storytelling is what I enjoy, in particular, finding out information and anecdotes about how something came to be. The book “The Untold Stories behind 29 Classic Logos” by Mark Sinclair does exactly this. It looks at some of the most recognisable logos and you find information about the company, who the designers were (along with some of their initial sketches) and what it was like working on the project.

The cover of this book has a lovely texture to it, it’s nice and thick and the main title is embossed.

The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos

For tone of voice, two books I like are ‘Why Fonts Matter’ by Sarah Hyndman and ‘Logo Design Love’ by David Airey. They take two different subjects that I am interested and write about them in depth but in a relaxed, easy to follow way, which allows you to learn but in an enjoyable way. You get a feel about the author whilst readding the books – especially how much knowledge and passion about the subject they are writing about. Breaking up the text with images to explain certain points helps with the flow of the book and is visually stimulating. Both are quite similar in their overall design, acting more like a reference book rather than a ‘coffee table’ style book.

Logo Design Love & Why Fonts Matter

Finally, another one of my favourite books is called “Ladies of Letterpress’ by Jessica C White and Kseniya Thomas. It is a book that looks at women in America that either work in letterpress printing for themselves or for a design studio. Each page has an interview with the designer, shows some of their work and then has one piece which is a removable poster. I love so many of the removeable pieces in this book and they would look great on my wall in my office but I have yet to remove any because I don’t want to ruin the book!!! I love the idea that you can remove the pages and that it’s not a traditional book in that sense but as a book, I think it should stay together as a whole!

Ladies of Letterpress

Whilst I have a few books about Graphic Design as a whole subject, the books that I am most interested in, are the ones that pick an area within design and focus in on it – revealing a new unique perspective. If they have a lovely texture on the front cover – then all the better!

 

Workshop Challenge

This week’s challenge is to pick a ‘tone of voice’ example and write 400 words to analyse the effectiveness of my chosen example. Sketch and create a rough design to visualise my 400 words.

I have a book on speeches at home which I picked up to find some inspiration. There was a section on Winston Churchill, and I decided that his speech “The Few”, would be a good example to analyse and write about.

The speech is about the RAF winning the Battle of Britain in August 1940 against the Nazi German Air Force – the Luftwaffe.

According to one of Churchill’s secretaries, ‘he was in the habit of dictating straight on to the typewriter, in order to save time’ but as can be seen on a copy of his most famous speech ‘We will fight on the beaches’, it was covered in handwritten annotations.

To visualise my analysis of the speech, I thought it would be good if I got my children to each type a paragraph of my text while I dictated it to them. They were to leave any mistakes and I would then go over their work and make any corrections by pen.

Workshop Challenge

I do own a typewriter and I would have got them use it but sadly it is out of action. I finished off the rest of the text and selected a typewriter font similar to what can be seen on Churchills speeches.

Because the speech is about ‘The Battle of Britain’ which was won by pilots flying Spitfires and Hurricanes, I did think about designing a poster that showed the text, an image of a Spitfire and then using a printing technique called Spot UV printing, which would have all the identity marks of the planes flown in the battle, across the poster. This would only be seen when reflected in the light. You would be able to feel the marks across the poster because the UV Spot would be raised.

 

Here is my analysis of the speech followed by my final visualisation: –

‘The Few’ – Speech by Winston Churchill

On the 20th August 1940, Winston Churchill gave a speech to the House of Commons paying tribute to all the airmen of the Royal Air Force (RAF) who fought in the Battle of Britain.

The speech included the now famous line “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

At this point during the war, large portions of Europe had been taken by the Germans and the UK was under a real threat of invasion. London in particular, went under a period of large-scale night-time bombing attacks, known as the Blitz. There would have been a sense that Britain was standing alone, that the odds were stacked against them and that there was little hope.

However, in the Battle of Britain, the RAF, The Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm were able to successfully defend Great Britain against the Nazi German Air Force or Luftwaffe.

Churchill wrote the speech after this victory.

According to one of Churchill’s secretaries, ‘he was in the habit of dictating straight on to the typewriter, in order to save time’ but as can be seen on a copy of his most famous speech ‘We will fight on the beaches’, it was covered in handwritten annotations.

Churchill’s speech would not have been recorded at the time in the House of Commons but would have been broadcasted to the public via the wireless by the BBC for the evening news. Sections of the speech would have also been printed in the press the following day.

Through the tone of voice and descriptive language used in this speech listeners and readers could imagine the bravery and courage the airmen gave to their cause and how, despite being under ‘the heaviest fire’, their persistence and skills could still ‘inflict shattering blows’ to the ‘Nazi power’.

It is a speech of gratitude and hope that would have been much needed at the time. It uses emotive language to appeal to the public – ‘the gratitude of every home’, ‘all hearts go out’ and ‘we must never forget’.

President John F Kennedy said of Churchill ‘In the dark days and darker nights when England stood alone – and most men save Englishmen despaired – and most men save Englishmen despaired of England’s life — he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.’

When writing, it is important to be authentic so that the reader or listener believes in what is being said. Churchill believed we could win the war with his vision of victory and even though the situation felt dark and hopeless at times, through his tone of voice and inspirational speeches, he inspired the people of Britain to fight on.

Final Outcome