James Brook / Design

Yale Representation Flyers

I was asked to design an A5 flyer for Yale Representation, specialists in selling books across the UK, to be inserted in the Yale Books Autumn Winter catalogue 2020, that would promote Yale Representation's services to bookshops and publishers. The flyer is double-sided with a photograph – taken by me – of a selection of books from publishers that Yale represent alongside text that I copy-edited from the Yale Representation website. I also came up with the straplines ‘Fantastic books from leading publishers’ and ‘Supporting Bookshops Promoting Publishers’. The flyer is set in the Yale typeface, an old style serif designed by Matthew Carter that was first released in 2004. The blue is adapted from the dark azure used in association with Yale University. The flyer was printed by 4-Print, a lithographic commercial printer in Surrey, on 100gsm uncoated paper – a nice contrast to the silk paper of the catalogue itself.


I have been collaborating with the Community Engagement team at Edinburgh Art Festival on DIY Art, a series of activity packs from EAF and selected artists, inviting people to get creative at home. The instructional creativity kits give insights into an artist’s practice, showing how to use their processes and techniques to create unique artworks. The packs were created by artist Alexa Hare and artist and illustrator Sofia Niazi and can be downloaded here.

For the series, I generated an identity that has a DIY/homemade aesthetic but is underpinned by a cool, pared-back rationality that reflects the previous work I have done with the Festival. The brief was to create a simple contemporary design that was flexible and could accommodate different types of information but that would still present a cohesive series appealing to children, teenagers and adults alike. A major consideration was that, although a number of packs were being printed and distributed by the Festival, most would be downloaded and printed at home so I took care to keep the artwork within standard  print margins and not to use areas of unnecessary flat colour that would drink up lots of ink!

The Festival gave me some examples of activity packs from other arts organisations to look at, which gave me some clues for the initial direction of the design, particularly the choice of typeface: a common feature of the packs was the use of simple, geometric sans serif typefaces. Having assembled a list of appropriate typefaces I then started to think about the DIY element and how this could be expressed in the design. I was thinking about rubber stamps, potato prints and other DIY printing techniques so I started to investigate display typefaces that carried this aesthetic. With an initial selection of typefaces I developed a series of logos, eventually settling on a circular motif, hopefully reminiscent of a potato print.  I presented a shortlist of iterations to the team at EAF and we finally settled on the typeface, Metallophile Sp8, designed by Mark Simonson, not only for the logo but also for the typesetting of the text inside, something that I had not initially considered, having selected other typefaces for this purpose.

I really like the feel of Metallophile Sp8, it is well-balanced and  carries some of the coolness of Futura but has lots of subtle quirks that are amplified when the type is scaled up – despite this, it remains very readable when set as text, particularly in the light version. In addition, Metallophile includes ligatures and a set of alternative glyphs for some letters, including a double-storey ‘a’ and a single-storey ‘a’ – as the activity packs are aimed primarily at children I think the single-storey ‘a’ , with its connotations of schoolbooks, is more fitting in this context. Mark Simonson’s website describes Metallophile Sp8 as a ‘facsimile of 8-point sans serif type as set on a hot metal typesetting machine. The effect is very different from modern digital renditions of its cousin, Futura, which are coldly precise in and look quite different at text sizes. Hot metal faces were designed for specific point sizes, while modern digital faces take a one-font-for-all-sizes approach. Metallophile Sp8 captures much of the characteristic warmth of hot metal, which is particularly refreshing in such a geometric design.’

In collaboration with the team at EAF, the design was refined to fit with the content from the two artists. The text and images for the activity instruction pages from each artists are quite different, requiring a slightly different approach for each but both packs have elements that are consistent, and are underpinned by the same grid, making a cohesive, connected series. Initially, for the cover, I had considered enclosing the artists’ work within circular boxes that echo the circular logo, and as a way of unifying the two packs but, as the design progressed, it became clear that this would not work as the final images selected by the artists for the cover didn’t work within a circle. I think that, in the end, the two different solutions for the artists’ work on the cover highlights the artists’ different practices while maintaining a sense of a series.

It’s been great fun working on this project and I hope that we have created a pack that will inspire children – and maybe some adults – to get creative during lockdown.


Rose Frain Book

Rose Frain

Published by Sissy Graffiti, Edinburgh, 2019

Edited by Jane Warrilow

Designed by James Brook

ISBN 978 1 9161555 0 3

Hard cover | 210 x 165 mm | 128 pages | Printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Munken Lynx Smooth 150 gsm with endpapers in Colorplan Smoke Grey 135 gsm and cover printed in metallic ink on GalerieArt Satin 150 gsm | Typeset in Gill Sans Nova

This survey publication documents the work of the visual artist Rose Frain. The book features 18 of the artist’s major projects, citing stylistic and conceptual developments; it includes critical essays, full chronology and bibliography. The book has been realised with an award from Creative Scotland and was published by Sissy Graffiti in September 2019, with launch events and related exhibitions at the Glasgow Women’s Library, Newcastle University, and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Rose Frain has a fascinating oeuvre that covers several decades. The project is extremely relevant in the context of significant women artists and apt too since the themes of her work are so acutely relevant today.
– Adele Patrick, Glasgow Womens' Library





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