Visual Design Review – Simple Things UK Magazine –

Design review for the simple life magazine

Simple Things is a lifestyle magazine it is published monthly and “is all about taking time to live well.”  It features a mix of interior design, gardening, cookery and lifestyle and crafts.  These are some of the visual and graphic design techniques that I enjoyed.

The Simple Things - front cover layout
The Simple Things – front cover layout

Simplicity of illustrations

  • A simple illustration of a flying black buzzard is simple and elegant whereas a photo may not work as well (Buzzards are not the most attractive looking birds.)
  • Drop Letter technique is used on the “W” it helps to frame and ground the paragraph of text and invites you to begin reading.
  • The heading “Magical Creatures” is a whimsical playful script and the subheading has been given a slight gently rolling wave.  Come fly with me.
  • The Author’s name has been placed in italics  at the end of the copy.  Italics work well to emphasise key text.

Simple thing page layout

Tea stains and polaroids

The article is about the ‘day in a life’ of printmaker – Lou Tonkin.

  • The designer has used a ‘tea stain’ on paper as a visual device to convey a friendly warmth.  This is an artist that we would like to know.
  • The photos have a large white border with a gentle drop shadow.  The images look like they might be polaroids.
  • Typography – the paragraph is a ‘serif’ typeface and the interviewers’ questions are in black bold ‘sanserif’ typeface.  The contrast of typography creates a hierarchy and structure to the paragraph.


Scandinavian iconography

This is an example of some lovely ‘Scandinavian’ icons.

  • They have been laid out in the same position on both pages.   I would be interested what the icons would look like if they placed as a mirror image ( I had a glimpse of them imploding.) Repetition of the icons is a visual technique that contains and holds the layout together.
  • The peach coloured skin tone with white oval centre helps to frame the composition.
Scandinavian iconography
Scandinavian iconography

Product Page

A product page that displays its different size items effectively.

  • Products have been deep etched or removed from their backgrounds.
  • The ‘thin arrow’ element has been used to indicate the relationship between the product and the description.  Only in those elements that differ significantly in size.
Simple Things Product Page
Simple Things Product Page

Give yourself a hug

This small little tutorial illustrates how four simple icons can be used to demonstrate a concept in a simple and effective manner.


teamSimon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown. Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses. Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like to read;

WooRank – I love this App

Necker cube and the problem of perception

Paragraph Spacing

The beauty of symmetry

Jan Tschichold – Typographer

Street art Newtown

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.