‘Pentagram Papers 32: No Waste’ | Book Design

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in the early 1990s, Cuba entered a period of severe economic crisis and deprivation. Homemade and handmade objects proliferated, cobbled together from whatever materials were available. Produced in collaboration with the Laboratorio de Creación Maldeojo, Pentagram Papers 32: No Waste documented these ingenious everyday items.

I like the simplicity of bold capitalised words and images accompanying each other and which creates a narrative throughout the book. The effective cutout book title on the cover, ‘NO WASTE’, imitates the stencil prints on council bins and rubbish skips adding emphasis to the narrative.

When Typography Speaks Louder Than Words by C. Knight, J. Glaser

Clever graphic designers love to use typography to explore the interaction between the look of type and what type actually says. In communicating a message, a balance has to be achieved between the visual and the verbal aspects of a design.

Sometimes, however, designers explore the visual aspect of type to a much greater extent than the verbal. In these cases, the visual language does all the talking. This article explores when the visual elements of typography speak louder than words.

Cal Swan, author of Language and Typography, makes this point well when he says, “These two distinct areas often come together in practice as there is clearly a very strong relationship between the conception of the words as a message and their transmission in visible form.”

To avoid any misunderstanding, let’s clarify what the terms “visual language” and “verbal language” mean. In professional graphic design, visual language refers to the meanings created by the visual appearance of both text and image. In this article, the term “visual language” refers to the character and significance created by carefully selected typography. Verbal language is the literal meaning of words, phrases and sentences.

In this first of a two-part series, we will look at the powerful effect that typography has in taking control of meaning. We will discuss a range of examples, from verbal language that inspires and shapes visual treatment to visual language that dominates verbal meaning. The implications of typographic choices in meaning and interpretation will also be examined. And we will show how the same message can be presented in a number of ways to convey and encourage a diversity of responses.


Patrick Thomas

PULP is the title of a new body of work made by Thomas in response to the reality of living in an age of “truth decay.”

Interacting with “randomly sourced daily newsprint – the traditionally respected source of factual information – he layers found, drawn and code-generated graphic forms in an aleatory way utilizing the mechanical process of silkscreen printing”.

“They are powerful graphic statements that document a moment in time whose aim is to ask more questions than provide answers, which, due to the unstable physical properties of the newsprint material, will continue to silently evolve over the years.”


I like Patrick Thomas’ experimentation with layering type onto newspaper spreads. His composition and large bold type gives a sense of disruption, empowerment over press but also complimentary to the gridded nature of the publication. I also like the idea of using found, ready made materials to work with and ‘reinvent’.

I’d like to take this idea further and experiment with local newspapers, I could create stencils where the letter is cut out and newsprint fills the type. I’ll handprint messages which relate to the article and news topic. I’d particularly look out for advertisements where I could create contradictory messages over the top.

David John King (born 1943, West London).

After leaving The Sunday Times Magazine, King designed many covers for Penguin Books and other publishers, such as Pluto Press, often based on left-wing and political themes.

In the late 1970s, outraged by the treatment of black people under the South African system of apartheid, he volunteered his services as a designer to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, producing many trenchant posters for the cause. Similarly alarmed by the racist language and actions of the National Front, he designed protest posters for the Anti-Nazi League, which was set up to confront the NF. King’s covers for the left-wing London listings magazine City Limits share the same ultra-bold manner of design, which became his signature style. King’s last major commissions as a graphic designer were the art direction of Crafts magazine, from 1984 to 1988, and book cover designs for Earthscan, a publisher of titles about sustainable development.

“I always saw things in terms of film: close-up, longshot, multi-pictures, giant picture bled off. Crop it harder than it’s ever been cropped before, if it works. Contrast it, use primary colours, wood letters, double-printing, triple-printing – fantastic!” David King, 1998


Vice News wins Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction

Winners of the News categories of the 42nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards were announced recently by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and Vice News was the winner of Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction.

The 2020 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum winning team was Ana Simões (Senior Creative Director and Graphic Designer), Kazuyuki Ishii (3D Designer), Kris Cave and Joyce N. Ho (Motion Designers).

I particularly enjoy the blunt cut outs – the speakers’ portraits with pointed hand gestures. The overall effect is it almost comedic. The bold graphic type, composition and colours – black, white, red – reminds me of Soviet propaganda graphics from the early 1900’s.


What the motion/trailer here.

Anthony Burrill

Anthony Burrill’s talk this week was really inspirational – he demonstrated that you can create powerful graphic posters with the use of short, witty phrases in simple bold black and white type. He explained that the work behind each poster is about the process rather than the finished piece and often uses traditional methods and techniques such as old letter press. One of Anthony’s projects, Oil & Water Do Not Mix, was a screen-printed poster made with oil collected from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Anthony’s career began in the advertising industry – I wonder if most of his phrases were inspired by media headlines and slogans? Something I am particularly interested in exploring more. Anthony was inspired by the posters used a lot during protests and political movements eg “Votes for Women” marches in the 1900’s.