This then is the second and last in our series of ‘Design miscellany’ series, from M–Z. Nothing more than random comments, explanations and observations to inform and hopefully entertain.


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M

M is for monkey, or 'keyboard monkey' to be precise. A scenario when a client directs a designer at a miniscule level to get them to produce the design they want.

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B

N is for non-verbal communication (NVC). It includes the use of visual cues such as body language (kinesics), distance (proxemics) and physical environments/appearance, of voice (paralanguage) and of touch (haptics). That’s straight out of Wikipedia and I don’t think the image they use is very polite.

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O

O is for octothorpe. This term was made up by scientists at the Bell Laboratory in the 1960s. Almost never uttered these days, it is the real name for a, wait for it… #hashtag.

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P

P is for Paul Rand, one of the worlds greatest graphic designers (1914–1996). Perhaps most famous for his IBM and UPS logos. This American commercial artist was a genius.

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Q

Q is for QWERTY, the layout of the keys on an English language keyboard. The name comes from the first few letters on the top row, but its origins and layout come from the typewriter, where common keys were separated to stop the ‘hammer’ jamming. Although it is not the most efficient, we are stuck with it.

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R

R is for roundel. A roundel is any logo that is circular in shape – the most famous being the London Underground roundel designed by Frank Pick in 1913.

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G

S is for the smiley, designed in minutes by Harvey Ross for an insurance company in 1963. It has become a symbol in popular culture and with mixed meanings. It is licensed by the Smiley Company and turns over millions a year.

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H

T is for trapping. This is a setting where a minuscule enlargement of an area slightly overlaps a neighbouring area. This compensates for any misregistration during the printing process.

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I

U is for UV (ultra violet) varnish. A process carried out after the printing process where plastic coating is overlaid on an area to give it a gloss or matt finish, sometimes called 'spot UV'.

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J

V is for vector, a mathematical system using point and coordinates. In the world of design, the vector version of your logo can be scaled to any size (big as a house) and never lose quality. Which is why we always request them from you.

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K

W is for white space. Giving things room to breathe using white space can have much more impact that trying to cram all of your information in.

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L

X is for x-height, the height of an ‘x’ in any typeface and any font, which of course means it varies widely and has no real fixed measurement. In all my years I have never had to define one.

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Y

Y is for yellow, one of the oldest colours available to man. Created from yellow ochre, it has been found in cave paintings 17,000 years old. It can be used to depict freshness, spring, sunshine but also cowardice and was used by the Nazis to single out Jews with a yellow star.

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Z

Z is for Herman Zapf, he was a prodigious type designer. His fonts include Optima, Palatino, Melior, Zapf Chancery (use with caution) and Aldus. He has been widely copied and rarely matched, as is the modus operandi of Microsoft copying Palatino and calling it Book Antiqua.




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