Photography and typography rules amidst decor rules.

I enjoy reading home decor and styling magazines to see interiors and the items people collect to decorate their homes. But I had never given thought to how a photographer may use rules or guidelines to produce those enjoyable images. Nor have I noticed the different typefaces used to make a point or to make some more prominent.

This magazine spread layout is from Romantic Country Magazine, Summer 2017. It was written by Sandra S. Soria, photography by Mark Lohman, and styling by Fifi O’Neill. The spread is showing a new house with older styled furniture and how the two can blend well together. Blending old and new is currently quite popular with house decor.


There are three distinct typefaces in this spread that emphasize the old and new blend. These typefaces are different enough from each other to be considered contrasting typefaces.

This first typeface is sans serif because these are simple letters with no serifs or strokes that transition from thick to thin. Each letter is the same thickness from start to finish.

A script typeface is used to write Old Soul. It has the appearance of being handwritten in cursive. The elegance and curviness of this typeface adds to the feeling that old soul brings to mind.

Lastly, Slab Serif typeface has been used to write the subheading of the article. This typeface is easily readable and has an orderly look. It is easy to confuse this typeface with Oldstyle since they are similar. But if you draw a line through the skinniest parts of the letters the stress (line) is vertical.

The first two fonts differ in style, but they could be similar sizes. However, the third font is obviously a much smaller font to show that it is a subheading.


This photo appears to use the rule of thirds. There are several different ways this rule can be used: position the main element at the four different intersections of the lines or the four lines. However, in this photo the weight-line of the chairs and sofa are along the bottom line.

My own photos using the rule of thirds similarly.

The weight-line of the furniture, bench and vehicle in the photos is along the bottom line. All three mimic the original photo spread. However, the outdoor furniture mimics it the most because the furniture is similarly placed. The bench line doesn’t go across the photo, but still has a distinct line. The vintage Porsche in the third photo also doesn’t go across, but the weight-line is still along the bottom line.

In conclusion, I found it interesting to dissect this magazine spread to get a peak into some of the choices that may have gone into the designing of it. The choices of typefaces were deliberate. From the slim, sleekness of NEW HOME to the graceful style of Old Soul to the functionality of the subheading. Additionally, the choice of where to stand to take the photograph was deliberate. If the photographer had positioned the chairs and sofa along the middle of the photo it would have given a different feel. It was like being behind the scenes as the magazine is being put together.

In the center of the hurricane there is always calm.

Discussion of design principles used in a Porsche ad for Brigham Young University – Idaho Com 130 class.

This ad was mentioned on by Markus Klimesc as one of his selection of “the best of” Porsche ads from 1952 to 2109. Even without knowing what the translation of the German words (the hurricane statement above) are, the analogous colors of the sky and car appear calming.


The contrast in this ad is the blue sky compared to the ground the Porsche is parked on, as well as the shadow of the car and the ground. This really makes the vehicle stand out even though the color is similar to the sky. The black words on the white background (salt flats?) also provide contrast. Contrast is also noticed in the scale of the Porsche compared to the mountain ranges as well as compared to the font size used in the words below.


The base line of the mountain range goes edge to edge on the photo, as does nearly the shadow and seemingly the Porsche. Both sets of words and the logo are inset just a bit, making them stand out from the lines of the photo but inline with the car.


Colors are a main source of repetition in this ad. The lovely shades of blue in the sky and on the mountain range blend along nicely with the Porsche which seems blue, but in reality is silver. The black shadow, the wheels and window outlines are repetitions of black, which is also repeated in the words below. Other than the blues, silvers, greys, white and black the only other color is a few bits of red. But that ties in with the Porsche logo below.


I find proximity interesting in this ad. The two lines of the statement are together, with the model of the car one extra space below. So the model is still connected to the statement, but not part of the statement. The mountain range in the background is obviously far away but appears closer in proximity due to the colors of the mountains, sky and the Porsche. But the Porsche is right up front and what we really want to focus on, the the background is far enough away to not overwhelm it. The Porsche logo is down by itself in the corner as a little reminder before you leave the page that this awesome vehicle is indeed a Porsche.

This ad used design elements simply but well in order to focus on the vehicle itself as fast and furious as a hurricane is, but also calming to drive. I appreciate that the ad doesn’t smother us with features about the Porsche. The beauty of the vehicle and reputation of it over the years speak more than what words they could have filled up the space with.

Create your website with
Get started