September '21

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3 2 G R A P H I C S P R O S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G R A M B L I N G S F R O M T H E A T E L I E R If you're wondering what these two things are, I implore you to, a) proceed with caution or, b) forget about it. What I will tell you about these two very heady and mathematically intense design calcu- lations is this: both have been studied, investigated, and recreated in all sorts of media, while users have been celebrated or castigated. Some theories promote the magnitude and quantity of how these codes seem to be everywhere in the natu- ral world (nautilus seashell as one exam- ple) and used by all the great masters in their oeuvre (insert all the names of the greatest painters in history here). In brief, the Fibonacci Sequence (one of the most famous mathematical for- mulas) has been said to bring unity and balance into anything by using spatial re- lationships (as defined by the numerical sequence and used predominantly in rect- angles, squares, and spirals) for the struc- ture of one's two- or three-dimensional work. The Golden Ratio (also known as the Golden Number) has been quantita- tively analyzed by those in the fields of applied mathematics, science, astronomy, architecture, biology, and botany — and of course, the design and art world. Many designers that have created fa- mous logos have used one or the other of these methods (or the art was reverse-engineered by a math- fanboy to prove the Fibonacci or Golden Ratio was used) in the execution of the art. Is it happenstance, serendipity, or just a contrived myth? It all looks pretty cool and convincing if you are a fan of geometry, math, and have a lot of time on your hands. For the less-than-gifted in math crowd or if you're slightly interested, there are online templates to the most basic of these sequences you can download and try for your design layouts. As for me, I'll probably have more luck guessing Saturday night's lotto number sequence. THE QUEUE STARTS HERE Of all the uniquely strange things I've learned that pertain to graphic design, there is one tactic that I actually think about week after week. Every one of us that has dined at a restaurant has witnessed it in action. From the backlit menu board at McDonald's in Times Square to the embossed and foil-stamped menus of the Michelin-starred temples of utopian gastronomy, it's right there in front of your face, and it's colloquially called the sweet spot. I've had many conversations with other artists and gourmands alike about this psychologically brilliant (or is it dubious?) design placement of what the restaurant wants you to select (and buy). This area — the sweet spot — is said to inhabit the upper right of a menu. It's been said that our eyes travel to that two o'clock position on anything we're reading or reviewing. This seems to be the result of a lot of research, dialogue, and good old-fashioned gossip. Nevertheless, I've designed count- less menu boards for food and beverage franchises, menus for bistros and bars, and service lists for random industries that all insisted on one thing: to place the item that they would make the most profit on in the upper right quadrant — the sweet spot. Factually speaking, we tested this out with a few clients by printing two differ- ent menus for an Italian food franchise. In each case, the menu was identical, but the upper right item was different. The result? No matter what the item in that quadrant, sales for that specific item surged by 28% on average. Who knows? I know you'll never look at a menu the same way again. At the end of the day, all the math in the world probably won't save you (or make you as popular as Sir Isaac Newton), but studying the balance and assembly of your layout will give you a better idea of how others in the world see your design. Find your footing with any project by employing some of the tactics, as briefly discussed. Go online and read about how math and spatial relationships can enhance your workflow. Download templates and try a few. Ideally you, too, will find a sense of symmetry and equilibrium in everything you do. Once I discovered the aforementioned, I elected to try nearly all strategies and now keep a few as my go- to selections. Just don't ask me to define the Pythagorean theorem or that bane of my existence: the Touchard polynomial. Look that one up. GP MATT TOUCHARD won his first art contest at age 8. Since 1984, his design work has collected accolades across nine countries. Splitting time between New Orleans and Switzerland, Matt's in final production of a massive guitar book for the most important client of his career: himself. To talk guitars or vegan recipes, email matt. This attractive logo employs directives of both the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio togeth- er, in vertical and horizontal composition … quite the balancing act. (Image courtesy Matt Touchard) A brief window to get new marketing pieces in place meant no time for new photography. In this case, photography took the backseat to the new posi- tioning statement — with typography deftly placed over the support images — delivering the prominent message. (Image courtesy Matt Touchard)

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