James Brook / Design

Barry McGlashan Between The Dream And Waking Catalogue

Barry McGlashan is a painter based in Aberdeen, this is a catalogue that I have designed for his forthcoming exhibition, Between The Dream And Waking, at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, from 28 October to 27 November 2021.

McGlashan studied painting at Grays School of Art, graduating in 1996; in 1998 he returned to Grays where he taught in the drawing and painting department until 2005 when he left teaching to pursue painting full-time. Informed by his knowledge of literature and art history, his wonderful paintings create immersive worlds for the viewer to inhabit that range from the intimate to the monumental. 

The works themselves also vary in size, from works as small as 13 x 12 centimetres to works as large as 170 x 140 centimetres. For the catalogue, I devised a system of scaling that used the most common size of works in the exhibition, 30 x 21.5 centimetres, as a reference point for sizing the images in relation to each other; smaller images were scaled up and larger images were scaled down so that all are at a decent size on the page with no details lost but retaining a sense of the wide variety of sizes that the artist works with. 

The storytelling in the artist’s work suggested a serif typeface traditionally used for text in story books; I used Freight Text Pro throughout the main body of the book with its sans-serif partner, Freight Sans Pro for the secondary information at the front and back of the book. On the image pages, I used Freight Text Pro in various weights to create a hierarchy of information for the captions; the type was centred in short line lengths, with the caption centred on the page underneath the centred image creating a formal and traditional feel. Page numbers are also centred, giving a consistent baseline for the other elements to sit on. Elsewhere in the book, this centred layout is disrupted with ranged left typography and layouts based on the underlying grid, creating a tension in the design. 

The front cover features a full bleed detail of McGlashan’s painting, The Blue Hour, a small oil painting on canvas of 30 x 26 centimetres that I felt encapsulated the title of the exhibition; the title is set in Freight Text Pro and is centred, giving a taste of the layout inside. On the back cover, I placed a full bleed detail of another small painting, Wake, this time more abstract, which sits well with the cover image, continuing the dreamlike feel and showing some of the diversity of McGlashan’s practice. On the inside covers, I used details from Veil, adding an unexpected decorative element to the book and, at this scale, revealing some of the beautiful brushwork in the painting.

Public Faculty No 14 Poster and Leaflet

This is a poster and leaflet that I have designed for Public Faculty No 14, a project organised in partnership with Edinburgh Art Festival and WHALE Arts, by Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk. The artist creates long-term community-embedded projects, which engage communities in taking control of their own futures. Public Faculty is part of a series of events which have taken place around the world, working with communities to re-think, re-define and re-enter public space through collective cultural action. This event aims to shape the development of a commission for Edinburgh Art Festival 2022.

The poster (above) is A3, 297 x 420 mm, and the double-sided leaflet is A5, 148.5 x 210 mm, both have been printed by the Edinburgh Copyshop.


Moyna Flannigan MATTER Book Cover

Hot on the heels of the printed running sheets that I posted last week, here is a finished copy of MATTER, a publication that I have been working on with the brilliant artist Moyna Flannigan. MATTER forms part of the artist’s forthcoming exhibition, Moyna Flannigan MATTER, at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh from 2 October to 18 December 2021. It has been a pleasure working on the book with Moyna and we are both delighted with how it has turned out. 

The book is 48 pages, 155 x 210 mm with a soft cover and dust jacket and was printed and bound by Gomer in Wales. As well as featuring Moyna’s paintings and collages, the book features texts written especially for the publication by the artist, combining words and images to form a collage of interconnected ideas. Here you can see the front and back of the wraparound dustjacket as well as the cover of the book, which is printed in Pantone 226UP with reversed out lettering echoing the text on the front – this luscious pink is also printed in the inside cover – it looks great! 

You can find out more about the exhibition on the Ingleby Gallery website, here and more about Moyna’s practice on her own website, here.

Moyna Flannigan MATTER Running Sheets

These are the running sheets for a publication that I have been working on with the artist Moyna Flannigan. I have been a long-time admirer of Moyna’s work and it has been a pleasure to work with her on this artist’s book. MATTER forms part of the artist’s forthcoming exhibition, Moyna Flannigan MATTER, at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh from 2 October to 18 December 2021. 

I am very much looking forward to seeing Moyna’s work installed in the gallery and, having seen these printed running sheets, I am very excited to see the finished book.

The book is 48 pages, 155 x 210 mm with a soft cover and dust jacket and is being printed by Gomer in Wales; the photographs of Moyna’s work are by the brilliant John McKenzie, except one, which is by Peter Tijhuis. As well as featuring Moyna’s paintings and collages, the book features texts written especially for the publication by the artist.

You can find out more about the exhibition on the Ingleby Gallery website, here and more about Moyna’s practice on her own website, here.

DIY Art – Pester & Rossi

Here is the latest activity pack that I have designed for the Community Engagement team at Edinburgh Art Festival, this time with Nadia Rossi. Nadia is an artist based in Glasgow, and she collaborates with artist Ruby Pester under the collaborative artist name Pester & Rossi. As Pester & Rossi, their practice derives from visual art, and leads to creating live art, sculpture, installation and public interventions, in response to people and places. DIY Art is 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 other packs that I have designed were created by artist Alexa Hare, artist and illustrator Sofia Niazi, artist and educator Naomi Garriock, and artist Peter Liversidge. The packs can be downloaded here.

For this edition of DIY art, I have designed an envelope to house and protect the activity pack, printed with the DIY Art logo. Printed by the Edinburgh Copyshop, I had originally specified a white envelope but I was surprised and delighted to see that the finished packs were returned with a buff manilla envelope which somehow feels far more appropriate, carrying stronger connotations of the DIY office printing technologies that I love.

Bill Scott Book Cover

I am delighted to have designed this book about the work of the Scottish sculptor and past President of the Royal Scottish Academy, Bill Scott (1935-2012). Scott was a prominent and much respected Scottish sculptor who established and developed his practice in Edinburgh, whilst creating work for public spaces and exhibiting nationally and internationally. The book accompanies a major retrospective of Scott’s work at the Royal Scottish Academy, 1 August to 5 September 2021, that re-presents Scott’s work for contemporary audiences and explores its key themes and influences. Importantly, the exhibition is also an opportunity to fully explore Scott’s role as an educator, mentor and influence on the many artists he taught and supported. 

The bulk of the book was designed last year when the exhibition was originally scheduled for August 2020 but, because of the pandemic, the exhibition was postponed, and the book mothballed, which makes it even more of a pleasure to finally see finished copies of the book, beautifully printed by Gomer in Wales. I have been working on the book with Bill’s daughter, the arts consultant and Clore Fellow, Jeanie Scott. It has been a pleasure to work with Jeanie and fascinating to find out more about Bill’s practice and his legacy. Many of the photographs in the book are new images, taken by the brilliant John McKenzie, www.johnmckenziephotography.co.uk, that reveal Bill’s work in all its intricate detail. 

The cover image is a detail of Exploration / Mapping, 2010 and the title text is Scott’s own lettering, drawn and modelled by the artist for his 1986 memorial to the football player and manager, Jock Stein, commissioned by Dunfermline Athletic Football Club. Bill’s family were very keen to have this hand-drawn text on the cover as it carries much of the warmth and character of this much-loved Scottish artist. The inside cover (below) is a detail from an untitled collage from 1999, a nice contrast to the weightiness of the bronze sculpture on the outside.

Cover of Platform: 2021 Booklet

This is the cover of a booklet that I designed for Platform, Edinburgh Art Festival’s annual showcase for artists in the early stages of their careers, each year introducing audiences to a new generation of contemporary artists based in Scotland. Platform: 2021 has been selected from an open call by writer and producer Mason Leaver-Yap and artist Ciara Phillips working with festival director Sorcha Carey.

The four selected artists, Jessica Higgins, Danny Pagarani, Kirsty Russell and Isabella Widger will present new work as part of a group exhibition held at the Institut fran├žais d’Ecosse, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, from 29 July to 29 August.

The cover design is based on my 2019 refresh of the Platform identity (which I originally developed in 2015) with imagery selected from one of the four artists – in this instance,  a detail from a work by Isabella Widger. The leaflet is designed with two typefaces, Freight Sans Pro and Adelle Sans, selected for their character and readability. I used different weights of Adelle Sans to create the Platform logo which is centred on two circles (taken from the colon that punctuates Platform: 2021). The booklet is 210 x 165mm and was printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on UPM Fine Offset 170gsm. 


Edinburgh Art Festival Commissions Programme 2021 Covers

These are the covers that I have designed for the Edinburgh Art Festival Commissions Programme 2021 interpretation material. Each year Edinburgh Art Festival invites Scottish and international artists to make and present new projects specifically for the festival. This year, EAF has collaborated with a range of partners to support and present a programme of new commissions and UK premieres by artists working in Scotland, UK and internationally. The programme features the UK premiere of Isaac Julien’s Lessons of Hour, in partnership with National Galleries Scotland; a new project, Tak Tent O’ Time Ere Time Be Tint, by Sean Lynch, co-commissioned with Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop; a sound installation, Song of the Union by Emeka Ogboh, co-commissioned with Talbot Rice Gallery; and What happens to desire…, curated by EAF associate artist, Tako Taal. 

The series consists of one booklet and three leaflets, and has been designed to present a cohesive identity for the commissions programme that is distinct from the main EAF identity and also highlights the contributions of the partner organisations. Unlike previous EAF commissions, there is no over-riding theme to this year’s programme so my design does not reflect a theme, instead it presents a common typographic stye and layout that is adaptable to the different content of each piece of print. It has been tricky to find a design where the different logos from each partnership organisation (Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Talbot Rice Gallery and National Galleries Scotland) sit well with the new EAF logo and other typographic information – a balancing act, often with three different typefaces in play. 

I selected Proxima Nova as the typeface for this series as it has some similarities to the typeface that appears in the new EAF logo, but is sufficiently different that the designs are not solely linked to EAF but give equal weight to the partner commissioning organisations. I have used a pared back palette of colour and type and suggested a new commissioning credit line that helps brings the partner organisation to the fore. Different weights of Proxima Nova have been used to create a hierarchy of information and full bleed images from each commission have been used to create impact. The leaflets (for Isaac Julien, Sean Lynch, and Emeka Ogboh) are 8 page double-gatefolds, folded to 165mm x 210mm while the What happens to desire… booklet is 24 pages plus cover, trimmed to the same size – this is the size of the books, booklets, and leaflets that I have designed for EAF in previous years, building a connected set of print that documents the Edinburgh Art Festival’s growing series of artists’ commissions.

Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! Book

This is a the cover of the book that I designed for Dovecot Studio’s Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop!, an exhibition which tells the story of this much-loved Edinburgh native – a pop artist, weaver, and former Mr Scotland, who changed the course of modern weaving with his innovative approach to tapestry.

The cover of the book is based on the poster that forms the core of the identity I designed for the exhibition. The lead image of the identity – which appears in a circle so it can easily be adapted for use in lots of different formats – is a detail from Brennan’s 1973 tapestry, Muhammad Ali, one of many tapestries that he made featuring the famous boxer. A photograph of Archie Brennan (in Hawaii!) appears on the back cover, in a circle that echoes the one on the front cover.  

The colours that form the identity are sampled directly from the photograph of the Muhammad Ali tapestry: dark blue as the main colour, with a lighter blue used elsewhere for emphasis, alongside oranges and yellows, to give a zingy pop art feel. 

The title is set in Stencil, a typeface often associated with pop art, and the rest of the cover is set in Clarendon, a typeface that sits well with Stencil and also captures the nostalgic mood that appears in some of Brennan’s tapestries such as My Victorian Aunt from 1967. 

After some printed tests, I found Clarendon, particularly in its light version, to be surprisingly readable for extended bodies of text so the main body of the book is set in this typeface – for contrast, I used Adelle Sans light for captions and secondary information. 

The book is 210 mm x 240 mm, 48 pages, and was printed by Allander on Gallerie Art Matt, with a scuff-resistant matt laminate on the cover. It can be purchased directly from the Dovecot website or at the exhibition, which runs until 30 August. Don’t miss it, it’s a great exhibition with five star reviews from both The Scotsman and The Times.

Kate Downie: Between Seasons Catalogue

Between Seasons is a catalogue that accompanies Kate Downies exhibition at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh from 3-26 June 2021. At the heart of the exhibition is a series of ten paintings of trees painted throughout the seasons, during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. The paintings are all divided by a central horizon line with two representations of a tree in different seasons; the bare branches of winter contrasting with the full canopy of summer. Each painting can be turned through 180 degrees so that one of the the two representations is uppermost, changing the atmosphere of the painting completely – during the course of the exhibition, the paintings will be rotated periodically. In the catalogue, this problem of there being no right way up for the paintings has been solved by having a larger image of the painting on one page and a smaller image of the painting turned full circle on the facing page; some of these images are accompanied by a further photograph showing Kate working on the painting in her studio (often on a ladder) to give a sense of scale – they are vast! 

I have worked closely with the artist on the book along with Tommy Zyw, the director of The Scottish Gallery. Photographs in the catalogue are by Michael Wolchover and it includes an essay by Susan Mansfield. The book was printed by Gomer Press in Wales on Gallerie Art Matt paper. I have typeset the book in a combination of Freight Sans Pro and Freight Text Pro, a clear and understated typeface that, with its unified serif and san-serif versions and a wide range of weights and styles, offers a wide palette of contrasts to design with. The choice of typefaces, combined with the use of white space, has given a clean and contemporary feel to the book that gives the paintings room to breathe and allows them to shine. I have cut out some of the works on paper and given them a subtle drop shadow to amplify the sense of them being objects. The book has a strong physical presence, and, as the artist remarked: “It feels just great ‘in the hand’ as an object. The size is just right.” I’m very pleased with the design of the front cover: the combination of a detail from Kate’s painting and the arrangement of type that I devised for the title treatment works very well, I think, offering a hint of the typography and layout of the book as well as a teaser for Kate’s wonderful series of paintings.

You can find more about the Between Seasons exhibition here.




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