In this post we will analyze how to effectivly combine typography and photography by reverse engineering this magazine spread. This spread is from Lukasz Aksamit, he is the Creative Director at Glamour Poland and Unpolished Magazine. You can view his work by clicking here.
Lukasz has accomplished an aesthetic spread that pulls you in. The content has variation, it has a flow that keeps your eyes moving around the piece. The contrast makes it visually stunning, there is enough whitespace to keep all the elements balanced and it lets the viewer have breathing room. It’s laid out in a way that isn’t overwhelming even with the amount of text and various pictures.
So let’s break down this piece and analyze what makes it such a balanced piece between the typography and photography.
In the first picture we have two very obviously different fonts selected in red. The top one is a modern text, and the second highlighted word is in a script font. These two fonts work so well together because they are so different. It’s intriguing, it draws you in. The modern is sharp and bold, whereas the script is soft and runs into the faded background lines which helps keep your eyes moving throughout the page.
In the second picture, we dissect these fonts even more getting down to the nitty-gritty details of why these fonts are so compatible. In the modern font there is a dramatic difference in the weight of each word. You can see this in the “O” this characteristic is called the “stress.” The top and bottom of the font are skinnier than the outer edges of the “O.” Then if we analyze this same feature in the script font you will see I’ve circled the bottom of the first “P” the stress is horizontal (instead of vertical) and the tops and bottoms of the script letters have more weight to them.
Another difference in the two fonts are the edges. The modern font is a serif font, and the edges are flat. Whereas the script font flows, it has a single thick end at the beginning of the work and everything else in the font is soft, there aren’t any sharp points.
It’s because the fonts are so different that make them work so well together. If he were to have used fonts from the same family there would be too many similarities to make it look as visually stunning as the piece currently is.
Here is an example of what using a similar font would do:
It’s a little uncomfortable, especially for the script font. There are a lot of similarities but they’re not the exact same. It looks like two different people with two different ideas wrote the title in this example. The modern font isn’t as bad as the script font, and yet it is. The designer in me cannot handle the different weight of the lines.
Which is why fonts from different families pair best. I mean that’s just a good rule to have in design and life. Don’t marry in the same family, and don’t pair fonts from the same family! Just don’t.
This picture has so many great qualities of a good photograph. As illustrated above, the first image we see that the rules of thirds has been utilized. The fact that she isn’t centered in the photo makes it an interesting photo, the dancer aligns with the cross points in the grid to follow this specific rule.
There are great leading lines that lead to the depth of field. The dancer is the focal point as she is in the foreground of the photo. Then the background adds to the story the photographer was capturing.
Alternate Images for the Spread
Each of these photos that I took follow the same rules as the photograph we analyzed from the magazine spread. Well, there might be an exception for the rule of thirds on the picture of my daughter. As most toddlers she’s constantly on the move, so she is centered in the photo, but the other photography rules are applied in this photo along with the other ones. They all have leading lines, and depth of field.
How the photos relate to the spread
I did ballet back in the day and styled my old dance shoes on a book of music, both of these props are on top of a grand piano. The leading lines are enhanced by the temporary soundproof wall which actually encases another grand piano. For the photo of my daughter, she is dressed up in her favorite tutu, she loves to dance and spin she is definitely a mini ballerina. The final picture is my (almost twin) sister. She is posed similar to the dancer recreating the leading lines and the depth of field in the original photo.
In order to put a quality piece of work together like the magazine spread example, it’s important to have contrast. There’s contrast in the typography, all the images in the spread have a high contrast as they’re black and white surrounded with white space to really make the high contrast photos pop. The pictures are composed in a very professional manner including several principles of photography. Which in combination with the different fonts creates a very cohesive and interesting piece.