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Art comics Design Drawings graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 22: Comic Book Lettering, DC Edition

Alright. This is the DC comics edition. As I was looking these over, I thought what’s the purpose of comics lettering?

My theory is comic book cover lettering needs to “anchor” the cover. It will be the one piece of comic book graphic design that remains the same issue after issue.

The cover art will change, but the title lettering (typically) stays consistent. Comic covers are displayed cover out on spinner racks (R.I.P.) and comic book stores. Good title lettering should immediately reveal who the hero(s) are and what type of adventure you’re in for.

Let’s take a closer look.

Tales of the Teen Titans #63, 1986

Before they were a hit cartoon, The Teen Titans were a superhero group with an ongoing series. Think the mini version of the Justice League.

DC kept their wordmark recognizable for this special Tales of the Teen Titans series by keeping the same font from their 80’s title The New Teen Titans. They did switch the color from red to blue. But it remains a font that coveys strength of the team as a group.

All Star Squadron #28, 1983

The whack Justice League deserves it’s due. It follows a common trend of comic book title lettering, using red and 3D block letters. But it works in three pieces of contrast as well.

  1. ALL is flat and lifted forward with the a white star behind it.
  2. STAR is the largest of the font sizes and has the thickest stroke around the letters.
  3. SQUADRON is slightly smaller and has a star inside the A. Also, the stroke thins out.
Batman The 10 Cent Adventure, 2002

There’s hundreds of variations of Batman covering lettering. The lettering for the one-off, 10 cent adventure has tall, blood red, san-serif font. The design foreshadows the story of Bruce Wayne being framed for murder.

Starman #13, 1989

One of the cheesiest superheros of all time. Has the name your friend’s little brother would think up on the playground. The lettering follows a similar trend. Red, 3D block letters. Tight kearning. And replacing a letter with a shape. In this case, a star for the A.

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Art comics Design Drawings graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 21: Comic Book Lettering, Marvel Edition

This post was inspired by web designer Regan Ray‘s Marvel Superhero Lettering blog post (h/t Austin Kleon). It had me wondering, what awesome lettering was in my long box?

These are well executed examples of lettering. But it’s the feelings they evoke about the characters that makes them special.

Let’s take a closer look.

X-Men Grand Design #1, 2017

For Ed Piskor’s Grand Design, you can see the 90s influence of the X-Men cartoon show. Even though it’s paper, you can almost see the volt of electricity flowing through the letters.

Hawkeye #6, 1988

With Hawkeye’s lettering you get the feeling that this is a hero who’s all about one thing: hitting the target.

Excalibur #3, 1988

The British X-men? Probably too many swords on this one. But it does express a royal, knights of the round table feel.

Fantastic Four #356, 1991

Slapstick. Zany. Funny. Heroic.

The Fantastic Four lettering captures all the energy of what makes the Fantastic Four adventures so well, fantastic!

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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 18: Antioch Church

The handed painted sign of the Antioch Church in downtown Dallas is a beacon of leading craft.

The shapes, a cross and an arrow combined, are simple. But I stand in awe at how the designer/painter (I really hope they’re the same person) set the leading so precisely. The spacing between the letters is set to near perfection.

But remember, this is the side of a brick building. Not a collection of Photoshop layers.

There’s no control z. A mistake at this scale is a physical cost. A cost the designer/painter was willing to bear.

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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 17: Product of the North

It’s hard to believe, but Product of the North is a company that specializes in one thing: Diaper Bags. But looking at their wordmark and logo, it has the feel of a rugged wilderness brand, rather than a young millennial parent brand.

Their wordmark and fox logo are unified. The designer chose to establish the wordmark hierarchy by rounding the word Product over the rest of the design. He or she then halved the font size (eye balling that) for the less important of the. And then wrapped it up with a full sized North.

The fox in the logo below looks young, but isn’t cute. Which helps reinforce the brand’s mission, creating a diaper bag that men feel comfortable carrying around as much as women.

One word for this design? Unified.

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Art Design Football/Soccer graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 16: LAFC Crest

As the MLS season opens this weekend, I thought we should celebrate with the LAFC crest.

This is one of my favorite football crests, period. The Pitch Black (#000000), California Gold (#c39e6d) color scheme stands out amongst its MLS counterparts. And as I mentioned before, I can’t resist a logo with a well placed “wing”.

When tasked with designing the crest of Los Angeles’ new soccer team, designer Matthew Wolff dug into Los Angeles’ cultural past. What’s amazing is how much of her cultural past he fit into the mark.

The “wing” is a nod to the City of Angels, Aztec Eagles, and Art Deco symbolism. The gold and black palette gives off the air of L.A.’s grit and glamour. And the wordmark is inspired by L.A.’s Art Deco architecture.

A brilliant design, one worth reflecting on often.

Check out Matthew Wolff’s design inspirations for LAFC’s identity here.

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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 15: The Making of Prince of Persia

I didn’t know it at the time, but video games were one of my first exposures to graphic design. The characters, the symbols, the 8-bit graphics, the cover art, all exposed my 8-year old self to graphic design ideas before I even knew what the term graphic design meant.

Enter the book The Making of Prince of Persia. This book is a collection of Jordan Mechner‘s journal entries while he was creating the game Prince of Persia. This documented journey of bringing a video game to life is a masterclass on book design. We’ll focus on the cover only today.

The Making of Prince of Persia is an example of scale. The designer (not sure who), scaled up the 8-bit prince to fill most of the cover. Leaving enough white space (or blue space) to give the 8-bit prince room to “leap” off the cover. The designer then contrasts the large image with one small DOS font for the title and author name. The DOS font reinforces the books 80s coding theme.

This is a counterintuitive choice for a book cover, but one that works. Usually the title font is large and prominent. But the giant 8-bit leaping prince instills the feeling that this book is an adventure. A page-turning experience you’ve never had before.

The Making of Prince of Persia , and other books by Stripe Press, are designed so well I want them all. Not only for their content, but for their visual beauty.