Thursday, 4 June 2009

Lurid covers 4: legs and other cliches

An Unreal Nature's post Covering anatomy, led me to the online edition of Print

a bimonthly magazine about visual culture and design. Founded in 1940 by William Edwin Rudge, Print is dedicated to showcasing the extraordinary in design on and off the page.

The back issues of Print have a nice selection of articles on books, culture, design and typography. See, for instance, The Law of the Letter (typography's role in shaping nations); Stereotypes (the role of "ethnic typography"); Extraordinary Meeples (design in post-WWII German boardgames); and Cover Girls (the ongoing rebranding of young-adult novels for new generations of readers). Anyhow ... the Unreal Nature link was to One Leg Leads to Another (Steven Heller, Print, June 2008) which documents a cliche of graphic design that Heller calls the "A-frame": covers and posters using the device of framing a scene with someone's spread legs. More discussion on this at She's Got Legs. (So Does He) in the Boston Globe's Brainiac column. Between My Legs, at the generally interesting TV Tropes (Television Tropes & Idioms) notes that it happens in TV format too.

The A-frame is one of many design viruses. See Swoosh! There It Is. In Fact, Swooshlike Logos Are Everywhere for another that many web designers for dotcoms were guilty of a few years back. The Papyrus font is yet another, current, one.
- Ray

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