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  • The Academy of British Cover Design’s best designs of the year


    Committed to making the awards as inclusive as possible The Academy of British Cover Design (ABCD) proved itself a fest of versatility in graphic design with the announcement of this year’s (and its fourth annual) cover design competition.

    Featuring work that traditionally gets overlooked by other competitions despite being highly original, well executed and relevant, the Academy’s ten judges  - Richard Bravery, Sinem Erkas, Greg Heinimann, James Jones, Johanna Neurath, David Pearson, Nick Stearn, Sophie Stericker, Jo Thomson and Clare Turner - shortlisted the numerous entries that are an inspiration to many.

    Final judging took place at the ABCD's awards night on March 2, with each person present able to vote for an overall winner in each category. A small prize was presented to each of the ten winners.

    Here’s who won what:

    Children’s: Dominica Clements, Anna Nillson and illustrator Oliver Jeffers —The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

    Young Adult: Sinem Erkas —The Memory Book by Lara Avery

    SciFi/Fantasy: Nathan Burton —Radiance by Catherine M Valence

    Mass Market: Jack Smyth —Girls on Fire by Robin Wassermann

    Literary Fiction: Suzanne Dean and illustrator Marion de Man —The Start of Something by Stuart Dybek

    Crime/Thriller: Blacksheep —Maestra by L.S. Hilton

    Non-fiction: Jack Smyth —The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

    Series Design: Suzanne Deane and illustrator Aino-Maija Metsola —books by Virginia Wolf

    Classic/Reissue: Jamie Keenan —The Birds and other stories by Daphne du Maurier

    Women’s Fiction: Kris Potter —Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

    The, free to enter, competition is now looking for next year’s entries. The shortlisted work in each category can be seen on the ABCD website here.



  • Introducing Solide Mirage, the world’s first open source font/album

    Here is a little inspiring story of music and graphic design. “In the begining, Frànçois asked Jérémy Landes to design a logo for his band. This band, Frànçois And The Atlas Mountains, needed a sign to be used in replacement of their long name tag. Bodoni faces appeared to be an obvious inspiration as it was used in several versions on all the band's medias” explains Velvetyne.

    “As the fonts always were set in caps, Jérémy decided to draw a unicase, allowing the band to mix different shape families by stirring lowercase and uppercase together. If the caps remain quite classical, the lowercase show a stronger temperament. All the lowercase that should have ascenders or descenders, as the b, d, p or q are the most surprising, with their compressed shapes and long serifs”.

    Solide Mirage “began as a squared monospaced typeface, for practical layout reasons, quickly followed by a proportional companion, a more narrow design to allow subtler text layouts. Both typefaces have ornamental alternates A, O and V inheriting the zig-zag spirit of the album cover created by the visual artist Tatiana Defraine. A small set of ornaments have been drawn too, widely used in the album leaflet. During the creation process, after a lot of talks, both Frànçois and Jérémy decided that the Solide Mirage fonts would be free and open-source”. The decision was meant to allow the typeface to have its own life while the band fans would be able to seize the sensible world conveyed by the album and the fonts altogether.

    Solide Mirage, the album, and Solide Mirage, the type family, was released on March 3rd.

  • From paper to digital, DIN Serif Arabic’s visual rhythm is enhanced

    Solid and simple, DIN Serif was originally designed as a low contrast typeface with functional and distinct novelties. This very nature of it directed the development of its Arabic counterpart away from the traditional calligraphic styles, towards a more simplified contemporary design mixing Naskh characteristics with early Kufi style. 

    DIN Serif ® Arabic  letterforms carry through the feel of the original design by using attributes of DIN Serif such as the tension and contrast without copying the curves of the Latin script in its entirety."Its Arabic letterforms carry through the feel of the original design whilst several basic characters originated on paper after many tedious trials with a traditional calligraphic bamboo pen. This provided a deeper understanding of its structure and visual rhythm, before converting the letterforms into a digital form” commented Parachute’s Panos Vassiliou.

    The descenders are short to match the proportions of the Latin version. The contrast between the thick and thin is maintained although inverted.Finally, it has carefully designed open counters that match the colour of the original. DIN Serif Arabic is fresh, clean, reliable and quite legible. Therefore, it is highly recommended for newspapers, magazines and other printed matter.

    This version takes into consideration the new Unicode standard and supports additional languages such as Persian, Tajik, Kurdish Sorani, Kurdish Kirmanji, Pashtu, Baluchi, Urdu, Punjabi, Azeri, Kazakh, Tatar, Uighu.Furthermore, each font style includes several Arabic practical symbols as well as swashes. All weights from Regular to Extra Black were meticulously hinted for excellent display performance on the web.

  • Enter Andreas Xenoulis’ TypoCreatures realm of demons

    “This is a type illustration project of numerous legendary demons that appear in religion, theology, Christian demonology and mythology” writes Corn Studio’s Andreas Xenoulis of his new TypoCreatures project.

    “Inspired by Christian demonology and the demons’ characteristics I illustrated eight demons/creatures just by using type. Considering letters as shapes each illustration was structured one by one with the usage of Pirate Ship font. The typographic illustration experiments reflect the appearance of each demon according to how they are described and depicted on books such as The Lesser Key of Solomon (also known as Clavicula Salomonis Regis or Lemegeton, an anonymous grimoire or spell book on demonology), Dictionnaire Infernal by Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy and on paintings of various anonymous or known painters combined with the designers’ fantasy” comments Xenoulis.

    Check his creatures here.

  • Trading Words is the new typographic installation at London Docks

    Weird words that used to ring around London’s docks in the trading heydays will be revived again for an art installation at a major waterside regeneration project, reports the Wharf.

    “Esparto Powder", “Sweep washers’ Dirt” and “Drugget” alongside dozens of other rich phrases, comprise the typographical installation at London Docks, the 1.800 home development at Wapping created by renowned artist Gordon Young, in conjunction with graphic designer Andy Altman of Why Not Associates.

    Trading Words is the first work in London for Young who is renowned for his large-scale installations, including The Comedy Carpet in Blackpool. The artist specializes in creating public art works which become part of daily life and reflect his passion for literature and poetry” writes the report.

    “The lists and inventories of items, which had crossed the site over the past centuries, are so lengthy that they seem to stretch into infinity and beyond. They came into existence because every word had a value attached. Andy and I distilled the words into a confection which made us curious and think of them as a poetic representation of this immense tide of things from all over the globe, which happened to accumulate in this spot in east London” said Young.

    Based on the historic rates and tariff-books which list goods imported and exported via London over the last 400 years, Trading Words brings the past to present through letters.

    Trading Words was  officially unveiled on Wednesday February 22, and will be accompanied by a pop-up exhibition that will runs until April.

    Explore it here.

    Images by Lee Mawdsley /