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Architecture book critique

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  • Architecture book critique

    Hello GDF! I'm currently working on a university assignment and I'd like to know what you think about it.
    I'm an architecture student so beside a portfolio and A0/A1 panels I've never really focused on graphic design. Excuse me if I did something weird, hopefully you can tell me.
    The objective of the assignment is to make a book describing projects, there were no restrictions in terms of paper size or colors.
    My idea is to make a book that looks and feels like a notebook, a little size (A5 sheets) with few clear words: easy and fast to read. I've lowered the opacity of the images so that the text, spread like when you take fast notes, comes out.
    What do you think about it? Are images and texts still readable? Is the layout fine? Does it all work?
    The first page is the grid I'm using.


  • #2
    My first reaction is your layout looks as though it was designed by an architect.

    That's not a bad thing, it's just that most architects, I've noticed, tend to keep graphic design layouts very simple, well-proportioned, clean and logical. As a result, the layouts are almost always consistent with the Swiss or International Style, which is why, I suppose, architects gravitate toward that look.

    Modern graphic design, however, isn't necessarily constrained to monochromatic color schemes and sans-serif typography. There's absolutely nothing wrong with keeping to the Bauhaus-inspired look in graphic design, but graphic design provides more latitude for playfulness, color, excitement and experimentation.

    I'm not especially liking the typeface you've chosen. It's not a well balanced and proportioned sans-serif. I wouldn't head back to the all-too-often used Helvetica, but I would choose a typeface that's better designed.

    One other thing I've noticed about your layout is that it's portraying a structure on a beach made from wood. The subject matter is natural and organic, yet your layout is clean, sterile, and geometric. Your layout might be more appropriate depicting a structure made from concrete, steel and glass. If it were me, I'd create a layout that was more in keeping with the casual, organic and natural nature of the subject matter.


    • #3
      If the book is describing projects, which is more important...the project pictures or the words?


      • #4
        Thank you for your answers!

        B, When you write about playfulness and excitement do you mean changing text sizes? In which other ways could i achieve that?
        About the font, would you think Akzidenz Grotesk would be a better choice?

        PrintDriver, I know images are usually most important in an architecture book but I'm trying to give more importance to what I say about each project. The goal would be to make them both readable but trying to force a meaning upon them so that one can quickly understand why the image is there. I don't know if I've achieved that...


        • #5
          Originally posted by M_1 View Post
          When you write about playfulness and excitement do you mean changing text sizes? In which other ways could i achieve that?
          I'm referring to the emotional discordance between your layout at the subject matter. The subject matter is organic, casual, and outdoors on a sandy beach. Your text mentions it being a place to unwind. This sets the stage for warmth, sunshine blue skies and relaxation. Yet your treatment of the layout suggests something much more serious, distant, intellectual and somber.

          Some possible ways to achieve a more light-hearted emotional quality might involve, perhaps, using color instead of only grays. Focusing more on the human element (the people) and their enjoyment of the location.

          The single person next to the structures looks small, lonely, isolated and forlorn. The typeface you've chosen is cold, solemn and slightly awkward. Your text mentions masks, doubt, tension, and comes across as a bit ambiguous and foreboding. If you're deliberately attempting to evoke emotions of gloom and apprehension, you've succeeded.

          If this is what you intended, great. I would think, however, that wooden cabanas on a beach might be portrayed, instead, as a place of fun and relaxation.

          Originally posted by M_1 View Post
          About the font, would you think Akzidenz Grotesk would be a better choice?
          Akzidenz Grotesk is a precursor of Helvetica. It's not quite as refined as Helvetica, but it's not as commonplace or corporate either, which is good. If you want to stick with that kind of look, Akzidenz Grotesk, I think, is a better choice than the similar typeface you used. Personally, I'd probably choose something a lot softer and more inviting.






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