Design Analysis: Typography


Contrast in Typography

Minneapolis-based Fallon created these outdoor boards for Chicago-based Nuveen Investments to promote its sponsorship of the baseball team. The work celebrates the deep loyalty, tradition and mystique that exists between the team and its fans. The boards are located inside Wrigley Field around the luxury boxes.

Fallon is a “fully-integrated creative, media and production agency, headquartered in Minneapolis with offices around the globe.” according to their website. They employ over 115 creatives between 5 locations. This Cubs ad is one of seven billboard ads commissioned by Nuveen. I found the ad on the Communication Arts gallery in advertising.

Headline Typeface

design analysis - type sansThis all caps, sans serif font is easily identified because there are no serifs attached to the ends of each letter. In fact, this font has so many characteristics apart from just sans, that it might even be considered decorative, owing a lot to the blocky geometry of each letter. Nonetheless, it functions as a sans serif typeface.

Script Typeface

design analysis - type script

The second typeface used is a script. The connected, fluid, cursive style of this type qualifies it to be a script, and it clearly contrasts the block style of the sans serif.

The two typefaces working together creates an interesting composition that is engaging. Because the types are so different, it causes a viewer to pause and read what is written in order to understand. It is both elegant and bold, sophisticated and athletic, as well as optimistic, which is an effect that Cubs fans hold tightly to!

Print Ad Design Analysis

Well executed design is all about using the principles wisely and effectively . This ad by Volkswagen illustrates each of the design principles subtly and with great success.













Volkswagen analysis - alignment










The ad uses a clever alignment trick with the strong diagonal line of each item. If the items were scattered randomly throughout the ad, there would be no connection to parking that the marketers are implying. The words on the page are aligned with a strong right alignment which mimics the same diagonal line mentioned previously. Finally, the Volkswagen logo, and the text line up perfectly with the bottom of the diagonal, giving the image implied margins and a road map for attention in the order it is intended.


Volkswagen analysis - contrast










The area of highest contrast always becomes the focal point in an image. Here, the porcupine is the area of greatest contrast in texture, size, and grouping. We can clearly see which of these is not like the other! Volkswagen also cleverly included their logo with a dash of color contrast, blue is found no where else in the ad, and it is a complement to the fish in an otherwise neutral environment.


Volkswagen analysis - proximity










In this case, the items that belong together (in spite of their contrast within the group) are placed near each other. The line of objects are mimicking a line of vehicles, and their close relationship to each other are effectively communicating that visually. The text on the ad are also grouped closely together to give unity to their message, and if that isn’t enough, this text is also grouped with the logo.


Volkswagen analysis- repetition










The repetition of the orange fish works elegantly to create the needed repetition in this ad. These little fish and the bags that contain them are the only repetition found in the image. It is enough to give the ad the needed element of this last principle. Imagine if each bag contained a different kind and color of fish! The ad would be completely lacking in repetition and fail to be an effective example of good design.

When each design principle is included, the strongest results occur. A little wit never hurt anything, either, but this ad would not visually communicate effectively if it were lacking in any one of the principles. Identifying them and learning them is great practice for remembering to use them in my own design.