DESIGNING THE BROADSHEET
by Debra Bishop
Each year for eight weeks I run a class called ‘Designing Large.’ The title of the class is somewhat self-explanatory. Each student must design an eight-page classic-sized broadsheet around a theme of their choosing. The large size of these pages naturally becomes a powerful communication tool, not to mention a huge amount of space to work with, and therefore the theme they choose to convey is critical and also requires passion and conviction.
The first few weeks of the class are devoted to being an ‘editor’—they each present two or three pitches and we all help choose the best direction. This year and every year I am in awe of the ideas presented. In the last couple of years, in particular, the students chose themes relating to isolation, sleep, relationships, racism, and even death. This year there was a focus on ‘design’ as a subject which was fun!
Once the editorial direction is chosen comes the hardest part of the assignment. How to express their subject matter cohesively and concisely over eight pages using only typography—no imagery allowed— black and white and possibly one color. Creating a consistent, yet flexible, grid system and choosing just the right typeface are always the biggest challenges.
This is a lesson in type design and how to exploit ‘large scale’ to convey a powerful message, but I think that my students would agree that the class is also about editorial ‘packaging.’ How to use eight pages to communicate (through good design) their passions, and ideas into one cohesive and compelling thought. It’s not easy.
work by: Doga Bircan, Yongkang (Harry) Cen, Peixin (Peggy) Chen, Mingxin Cheng, Nicolette Francis, Soumya Gupta, Zhen (Vivian) Hou, Heedong Jeong, Tianyun (Gloria) Jiang, Ji Hoon (Jenny) Kim, Ji Young Kim, Jihyun Lee, Shanran (Raven) Mo, Natalia Ramirez, Devina Sarawgi
Student: Peixin Chen
Title: GENERAL PURPOSE ANSWER SHEET
See important marking instructions on your life experience.
Student: Ji Hoon Kim
Title: THE SILENT KILLERS
Comments: The level of detail in this broadsheet is amazing. The visual articulation of particles of sugar and salt all in typography is beautiful and also foreboding. As it should be. It makes me want to read about it for my health. But I’m scared.
Student: Ji Young Kim
Title: THE GRID
The paradox of structure.
Comments: This one is a good lesson in how to actually use a grid system. Kudos for showing us how not to be confined or bored by page architecture. I enjoy the design influence of crossword/game esthetic as a graphic hook both in the type design and patterning. She took a traditionally boring and rigid subject and made it inspiring and cool!
Student: Zhen Hou
About love. It’s time to confess!
Comments: The design of this is beautiful and poetic. I must confess that ‘love as a broadsheet
topic can often be unsophisticated but this is cheeky without being cheezy. I love the eclectic font choices.
A beautiful job of mixing old design iconography with a modern and fluid design.