Discovery of Swiss

Swiss Graphic DesignCharacterized by many, many lines

Swiss Graphic Design
Characterized by many, many lines

While reading through the chapters of Graphic Design School by Dabner, Calvert & Casey, I came to the realization that there were certain images that really jumped out at me while others I didn’t care for. Talking to a friend of mine who’s in school for graphic design, I learned that the images I liked the most were labeled as being swiss graphic design. It became a fascination that I could google “swiss graphic design” and find image after image that looked so clean, arranged and yet so simple.

An example where the design is made up of only text

An example where the design is made up of only text

Many of the images that I see use just a few colours and makes incredible use of lines, visible or not, over the imaginary grid. The arrangement of text aligned with the few lines or shapes always work powerfully for the image. Often times, the letters themselves make up the design, as with the image to the right. One of the aspects I don’t care for, however, is that it tends to have a very industrial early 20th century look. While it’s classic, I’d probably remedy this by fusing it with a more modern chic design. Use softer typeface, for example. Replace the helvetica with optima, perhaps, and pay close attention to the colours to keep it vibrant.

The Swiss graphic design style was developed in the 1950s

The most important thing I’ve noticed with swiss graphic design is the white space. There’s a lot of it. I’ve heard the phrase “white space is your friend” before but now I’ve seen it in action and believe it. Like Lisa Simpson once said about a performance, “You have to listen to the notes she’s not playing,” I’ll reiterate for design. You have to look for the space that’s not used.

Campbell’s Mm Mm Good

This photo follows all the four principles in the CRAP design. The first, Contrast, can be seen in the bright colours that this photo displays. The vibrant colours behind all the different cans are all bold colours that provide the contrast to make the cans and cause their designs to pop. The second, Repetition, is easily seen by the eight cans displayed in the image. There are two rows of Campbell’s cans showing us four in the top half of the photo, and four in the bottom half of the image. The third principle, Alignment, can also be easily seen by the rows and columns that this photo provides between the cans. The different coloured backgrounds align perfectly with one another causing the contrast to stand out even more. For example, in the first column in the photo the top background is a rusty oranges colour and the row beneath is it a mint green colour. The two colours, when placed side by side do not go together well, it is visually unappealing. However, when placed one colour on top of the other in the context of this photo (and the other colours provided in each column) the two, orange and green, go together. The final principle, Proximity, shows us that the image places ‘like’ with ‘like’. This can be seen with all the Campbell’s soup cans placed side by side, and one on top of the other. The rows and columns that this photo provides help with not only alignment but also the proximity of imagines. Since the cans are so evenly placed in the imagine the proximity of them next to each other is quite visually appealing.  

– Paige Image

Birthday Invitation


Birthday Invitation

My mother asked me to make a birthday invitation for my younger sister who is turning 13 next week, so I thought I could try using a couple simple things off of photo shop to create a kid friendly birthday invitation. It was simple to make, just 5 separate layers and using the magnetic lasso tool, the magic wand, the text tool and different fonts. I didn’t post the actual address information or number but once we get these printed we will put in the accurate information. My sister is a colorful and out going little girl so I knew this would be the perfect fit for her!

I know I could use this same type of format when sending out information for businesses ect.. I would just use a more formal approach by using business pictures or logos and using more toned down colors and simple fonts.

Using simple fonts for important events make it easier and clear for the audience to read important information so I certainly wouldn’t use this font for business use.

Trees in a cup


Trees in a cup

I was looking through some scenery photos on Flickr and stumbled across this photo. Not quite what I was expecting to find when doing a search for scenery. It’s quite interesting though. This photo is very monochromatic. They chose an interesting angle and camera focus. Capturing the reflection of the trees was a very interesting creative choice that the photographer made. This created an interesting texture to the photo, making around the reflection blurry. The neat thing they did as well, was making the foreground of the picture the background (the mug/pale/whatever it is), and what would be the “background” the foreground (tree’s reflection). Does that make sense? The artist chose to leave a bit of interpretation to the mind. Is this reflection in a bucket? a cup? a mug?

Another observation I made is the negative space of the image. The black on the photo would be the negative space (the reflection, edges of the pale, etc) and the positive space being the lighter purple/blue.

Overall, I think this is a rather interesting and well composed photograph. The concept of capturing the reflection of the trees rather than just taking a picture of the trees was neat.

– Kyle

Layers and Transparency


As I was searching through Google images I found this really cool picture. Once I looked at it for a few minutes, I realized that I would probably be able to do something like this using Photoshop. I think that the designer likely used three or four different pictures and put them together on Photoshop or something similar.

In order to get this picture to look the way that it does, the designer would have had to open each photo as a separate layer and edit each photo individually before putting them all together. Some key tools that they likely used were the magnetic lasso, blur and transparency.

I think that the main thing that drew me to this image was the cohesiveness of all of the images. Everything has a green tinge, creating an earthy vibe. This is probably created by flattening all of the images together then adding a hue. The analogous colours that are used create very minimal contract. Even though there is no colour contrast, the woman’s face is still the main focal point. This is because of the light radiating from above her.

This is a good photograph because, even though there are a lot of different  visual elements, there is only one main motif. The main motif is the woman’s face, the secondary motif is the butterfly and the rest of the forest acts as white space. The white space enhances the main motif instead of taking away from it.

See what photos you can put together to create a similar look!

Heineken’ Jammin Festival image


Heineken' Jammin Festival image

As I scrolled through a series of advertisements, what initially caught my attention with this image was the bright stage. It wasn’t until I looked at the image for a few moments that I realized what was going on. The advertisement is showing the Heineken’ Jammin Festival held in Venice. I like the angle they chose for the photo. The bird’s eye view creates a different perspective and shows the enormous crowd with their arms in the air. Seeing all these people creates repetition and shows the unity in the crowd, which I think promotes the festival well. I thought it was interesting that they used the lights and the stage to create positive space of what I’m assuming would be a glass of Heineken’ beer. They place this positive space in the dead centre, which makes the beer hard to miss. The negative space would be anything black in the image, like the back of the stage and the audience without light shining on them. I like this image because I think it promotes the festival and the beer well without using text. If you look closely in the bottom right hand corner it shows what the ad is for, but I think in order for people to know what the ad is about, the image has to capture the them first. I like this image and I think it says a lot without having to use much text.


Positive & Negative Space


As I flip through magazines, I breeze by this ad all the time without taking a second glance. But this time, the advertisement caught my eye immediately. I thought to myself, why all of a sudden am I noticing this ad? Normally, I always just think about messages when I see different print ads, except now, I’ve become visually involved.  I think to myself, what is the purpose of this layout and why is it important to me? Well, since we talked about the concept of positive and negative space, I’ve become attuned to various forms of advertising based on their visual appeal alone. As we discussed in class, this ad is a perfect display of positive and negative space since there are no features, just the silhouette that the black and pink make. The features of the women are laid out in black and my eye instantly goes to her hand. Although, not the main focus of the ad, the hand is the most detailed and it brings the eye back across the ad to the iPod.  Not only is space apparent here, but contrast as well. The pink and black complement each other very well and this allows for the white of the iPod to shine through. It is interesting to notice how I now notice different visuals rather than the message itself. It’s great to be able to think outside the box and really reflect on how various visuals affect me. Until next time….






When I saw this advertisment it caught my attention. That brought up another thought it my mind. What draws us to different advertisments over others. Well. It is often some of the same concepts talked about in class. In this case, colour contrast, alignment and repetition. The colours are definetely what grabbed my eye and made me intrested in what was being shown. The repetition of the cubes keeps your interest but also does something very unique. The cubes are aligned in a way that they lead your eye to the prouduct trying to be promoted, the phone. When these concepts are used together it can create not only a very visually apealing picture but also create a way to sell or promote something to a consumer.




I made this image in photoshop and thought it demonstrated many things we were learning in class. The obvious rule here would be repetition. Not only is there three heads, there is three sheep. I also used some of the tools from photoshop we were learning in class. Letters can be different colours by individually highlighting each letter and changing the font or colour. Try some different things to get the perfect look. I used the clone stamp to take away the shine on the bald mans head because it makes a smoother, faster difference then using spot healing. The magnetic lasso works better if you click the outline of what you want instead of just letting it do its own magic. Little Bo Peep was not just a simple image from google. Here is the image I took her from: vintage_little_bo_peep_mother_goose_nursery_rhyme_postcard-p239977495814646209enq37_216

There are many different tools in photoshop to make your picture stand out from others. Don’t forget to get creative and don’t be afraid to mess up, you could just end up making a unique picture that knowone else will have. I originally wrote use your imagination and decided just imagination was more visually appealing. Have some fun and enjoy.



We are a Winter 2013 Visual Design  and Communication class at Mount Saint Vincent University. Here, we will:

• Explore new ways of thinking
• Reflect on course content and apply it to real-world experiences or media artifacts
• Explore how the process of verbalizing our reflections can inform our own approaches to visual design

Welcome to our blog!