When Mrs Eaves met Agora

Jdallcaps-designfriday-thmn-storyFinally I designed a Design Friday card.

It had been on my mind and so far I had always given the opportunity to my colleagues, who after their daily tryst with brand manuals and exacting visual management systems needed a little ‘creative play’ or mucking about. The only constraints with the Design Friday card is the postcard size and some means of visibly integrating the speaker’s work in one of the two sides – or indeed both. The speaker for this Design Friday, on July 31st, was Gautam Rajadhyaksha – well known celebrity photographer who has been documenting the changing Bollywood starscape as well as other bigwigs from the world of business, cricket and politics.



Gautam’s photograph of JRD ‘Jeh’ Tata, eminent Indian industrialist, was what I chose for the card. For me, this was one image that perfectly matched my mental image of JRD – complete with the bright smile – reflected in his eyes (possibly this image was shot past JRD Tata’s 80th birthday). The first cut of the card had a grid running across both sides. I spent some time cropping Gautam’s name – I was looking through my imaginary grid defined by crosshairs, unlike Gautam looking through the viewfinder – but the process not entirely dissimilar.

The typeface of choice was Agora Slab (also known as Centro Slab – click here for an interesting post on the making of Agora/Centro) – the family has a brilliant mixed case series – perfect for publications. One problem: the card, and the type, didn’t somehow seem to suggest Gautam Rajadhyaksha the man – soft spoken, gentle and mild mannered; the brash, bold Agora Slab seemed to be the anti-thesis. The colours, derived from Bollywood’s love of this particularly bright palette, again didn’t quite match the man. The cropping of a perfect image also unnerves photographers, the imposition of the subtle, but visible, crosshairs possibly a sacrilege.

Thats when the mature, deeper colour palette was introduced, complemented with Mrs Eaves, Zuzano Licko’s revival of Baskerville created in 1996. Mrs. Eaves, the type family, is named after Sarah Eaves, Baskerville’s wife (formerly married to Mr Eaves of course). Mrs Eaves Petite Caps (clever nomenclature), seemed to be a good fit – elegant, measured and mature. Done under 60 minutes before time ran out for print, the last minute inclusion was masking JRD’s jacket pattern into the frame. And a the classical white frame for the pic at the back – strictly no cropping! And Agora – the Slab lost out to Mrs Eaves, but Agora Sans features in the card. A happy balance, might I add?



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