Airshow 2014 Programme

Airshow 2014 Programme

Designed by James Brook for National Museum of Flight Scotland, 2014.

Published by National Museums Scotland.

Book | 44 pages | 14.8 x 21 cm | Printed by Allander, Edinburgh on Hello Silk with gloss laminate cover

I was approached by National Museums Scotland to redesign the programme for the annual airshow at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune in East Lothian. My brief was to rationalise the design of the programme and make it feel more clean and contemporary with emphasis on the images, and to also make it feel more like a substantial, quality publication – more of a book/catalogue than a programme.

The programme had previously been designed at A4 so, with the agreement of the Museum, I designed the programme at A5 but with double the amount of pages, which immediately made the programme feel less flimsy but didn't increase the print costs. The programme was typeset in FS Albert, the NMS typeface, with simple and clear layouts and plenty of white space that displayed the images at their best. I removed any unnecessary elements that had been included in previous programme designs from the layouts, stripping them back to text and image. I usually work with images by artists so working with images of planes was slightly outside my area of expertise! But, applying the same approach to the images as I would images by artists, I created layouts where there was (I hope) a dialogue between the images and a sense of movement on the pages.

The programme opened on to a double-page spread of sky blue with the title repeated from the cover; the programme had to contain advertisements, which paid for some of the printing costs, so I grouped all the adverts together, at the back of the programme, separated from the main copy by two pages of sky blue, one with the Museum of Flight logo, that acted like endpapers in a book. The title page and endpapers carried connotations of a more traditional book and slowed down the reader's journey through the programme, creating, I think, a sense of anticipation for when the first images appear, on page 10, after pages of flight times, list of contents, introductions, acknowledgements and timetables, which were all laid out in a clear, rational and user-friendly design.

Other elements of the design included a map of the airfield which appeared on the back cover. I slightly rationalised the design of the map, removing some of the elements and changing the colours to make it more user-friendly. There was also a timetable of flight times which was originally planned a separate piece of print but, as the times were confirmed just before we went to print, we were able to include the timetable at the very last minute.

I was given a free ticket to the airshow, which turned out to be a great day out on a beautifully sunny day. I got to see and go inside Concorde! It was incredibly exciting to see the Red Arrows display roaring overhead and a delight to see the programme that I had designed being put to use – I don't usually get to see my designs being used, by so many people, in such a visible way. Afterwards, I found out that sales of the programme had increased substantially from previous years, which seemed to validate the design changes that we had introduced.

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