Digital design is a precocious discipline, growing up faster than anyone could have imagined and not afraid to mix it with its more established peers. Now Andy McMillan of Fiction has created The Manual, a new printed publication looking at this ever-growing field of expertise, charting its progress and celebrating its successes. We caught up with Jez Burrows, It’s Nice That contributor and designer of The Manual to find out more.
“With regards to content, The Manual’s intentions differ noticeably from a lot of existing magazines and journals dealing with web design, so it was important that it should also be visually distinct. It needed to demand the time, reverence, and curiosity of the reader, and also feel less ephemeral than its often flimsy contemporaries.
“The idea was to play on web design being a relatively young discipline, by creating an identity for the journal that felt older than its time, with references to heraldry, freemasonry, and old book illustrations (among other things).”
“When thinking about the design and production, I looked at a great deal of antiquarian books (particularly those relating to the Freemasons, who evidently had some diligent designers among their ranks). Without fail they were modestly printed, and bound with simple materials – as a result, I decided to use a two colour palette throughout.
“I frequently work with very limited colour palettes, so this felt like second nature in some ways, but more importantly it would unify the illustrations (provided by Raymond Biesinger, Olimpia Zagnoli, Christopher Gray, Jessica Hische, Owen Gatley, Ping Zhu and Superbrothers), and also clearly distinguish each issue.
“I also opted for a traditional sewn binding, using letterpressed cloth and heavyweight, uncoated binder’s board to hold everything together. Typeface choices were also minimal – Monotype’s Plantin for copy, and a distinct calligraphic sans-serif by the name of Lydian for all headings and titles.”
“It’s tricky to keep a balance between a design that references antiquated visual sources, and one that simply uses them at face value. A lot of the toughest decisions made throughout designing The Manual revolved around this issue. Not to mention creating an identity for the journal that was rich and characterful, but ultimately engineered to exist in the background and serve the content in the best possible way.
“Finally, the knowledge that the first issue would serve as a template for future editions – and that the design choices made would need to be strong enough to accommodate new content – was something of a looming worry. But I’m confident to test it out with upcoming issues!”
“It will be published three times yearly, and work is already underway on the second and third issues. The first issue was funded by Kickstarter and copies have already been sent out to those who contributed, but it’ll go on general sale very soon. Keep an eye on alwaysreadthemanual.com or follow us @themanual for information. "
- Yayoi Kusama brings infinity and her iconic pumpkins to two stunning new London shows
- How I Got Here: Kim Gehrig, director
- Founder and creative director of ManvsMachine, Mike Alderson on his most-loved books
- From big cats to commuters, Reece Wykes creates characters using the subtlest of details
- Back to the Future: what today's creatives can learn from yesterday's design principles
- Moniker’s crisp and colourful laser cut posters for Designer Fund
- Anna Ginsburg explores sex and female orgasms in this hilarious animation (NSFW)
- Arne Svenson’s portraits of his New York neighbours taken through apartment windows
- The Co-op returns to its old “clover leaf” logo from the 1960s
- Don't Hug Me I'm Scared - an exclusive interview with Duck, Red Guy and Yellow Guy
- Ace new Laura Callaghan work calls BS on the idea that we can be "whatever we want to be"
- Strange posters and superb typography from Venetian studio Tankboys