Signs of the Times - May 2014 - (Page 48)

De s ign M a t te r s Jeff Russ is ST's Sr. Art Director, a freelance designer and an illustrator. By Jeff Russ Typographic Composition It's like dueling banjos, but with words. E very month, as I design the ST cover, one problem lurks; the featured sign's text inevitably competes with the magazine's masthead. Hopefully, you notice "Signs of the Times" before a "Coca-Cola". Typographic elements demand attention. That's why people notice, and read, billboards, transit advertisements and even ads on the back of park benches. We can't help it, and signmakers exploit this tendency. Sign designers can use scale, direction, color and numerous graphic devices, such as arrows or boxes, to lead the viewer's eyes around a particular sign. Letterforms aren't merely messages, they are also compositional elements, divorced from their literal meaning. This is mostly theoretical, of course, because it's almost impossible to separate a word from its meaning. Let me illustrate my point. While you're enjoying these vintage Japanese ads, pay attention to how your I often use the "Z" pattern on the ST cover. This visual trick eases the navigation process and allows the reader to quickly scan and absorb the information. eyes move around the composition, what gains your attention, first, and where your eyes go from there. Do we always scan a sign from left to right? Is the classic "Z" pattern (often used on our cover) really the path of least resistance? Notice also if your eyes hyper-focus on any English words in the ads. Of course, non-typographic elements, such as photos or illustrations, attract our attention as Nail Polish Yarn Bread Lightbulbs 48 SIGNS OF THE TIMES May 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - May 2014

Signs of the Times - May 2014
Columns & Departments
St Update
Technology Update
Typography Foe Wide-Format Design
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review: The Mutoh ValueJet 1617H printer
Technology Review: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7
Design Matters
New Products
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - May 2014