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Interview

Cover art

Never judge a book by its cover – unless it’s as good as Emma King and Andrew Taylor’s design for issue 17 of Champions Journal. Here, the creative duo explain the process behind their work

INTERVIEW Lizzie Coen

For Champions Journal 17, our cover design required a different approach from our usual photographic portraits. Two of our in-house designers, Emma King and Andrew Taylor, were tasked with producing an illustration to celebrate 50 iconic playmakers who have lit up the Champions League down the years. Their eye-catching end result features hand-drawn lettering surrounding a triumphant figure of a No10, raising his fist in celebration – a work of art worthy of those visionary schemers themselves. ­

What was the inspiration for the design?

Andrew: The concept of visually representing the creativity of the No10 and their differing styles of play came from our senior designer Ned Read. We wanted to design something which reflected that as soon as you saw it – we wanted it to feel creative, authentic and dynamic, so we immediately decided on an illustrative cover rather than a photographic one. We were briefed that the cover should have a figure of a player, with the names of all 50 players featured around it. Then it was up to us to interpret that and run with it.

How did you decide on the player image to use on the cover? 

Emma: There was some debate about whether we should use a recognisable player or not. Obviously, Messi looks like Messi. He’s so iconic that, even from the back, you’d immediately know it was him. We eventually decided not to use anyone recognisable because the whole point of the piece is about the number and the position, and not one individual player. In the end, the player we chose isn’t even on the list, and we spent a lot of time anonymising him anyway. It’s actually Jack Grealish – can you tell? We gave him a bit of a haircut! Luckily, his famous calves aren’t in view so they don’t give it away.

What was the process behind designing the cover?

Andrew: It was a very analogue process, with most of it done by hand. We tried out lots of different physical tools, like types of paper, brushes and pens – even tracing paper. All the lettering and brushstroke elements were done by hand by Emma. The player image on the cover is quite fuzzy and blurry, which isn’t a digital effect: I did that with a photocopier. I would cut out the figure and then photocopy it repeatedly, which blurs the details and you can play around with contrast and colour settings too. It picks out a nice grain in the image but it’s not over the top. We tried some digital filters but they looked artificial, whereas the photocopier gives it a really nice depth. 

The colours you used are quite unique – how did you choose them?

Emma: The colours were very considered. Because the design is quite painterly, we started thinking about primary colours, the foundational colours any painter would use, but we then chose muted versions of them. That works inside the magazine as well because it enhances the content but doesn’t detract from it. We got stuck on the colour of the player’s shirt for a while. We had spent a lot of time making the figure look anonymous but realised if we then gave him a red shirt, people would read certain things into that. In the end, we landed on having colours that don’t quite say anything team-wise. We have blue on the dark version of the cover, but it’s more muted; it’s not a Chelsea blue or Man City blue.

How did you decide on the style of lettering?

Emma: I used lots of different styles of lettering and calligraphy because the piece is about lots of different players and their individual playing styles. I made sure to use the same tool for all the writing – a double-ended pen that has a brush on one end and a marker pen on the other. That helped keep everything feeling varied but with a consistent style. 

How challenging was it to fit the names of 50 players on the cover?

Andrew: It was really daunting. Early on, I spent quite a bit of time trying out all 50 names around the player and ensuring they would be legible. That was a big turning point because once I’d got that down, we were reassured that the idea was going to work. Another consideration was ensuring that any similar names – like Möller and Müller, Mancini or Platini – weren’t next to each other so it wasn’t repetitive. It was a lot of playing around, figuring out what would work best where. For example, the longer names made a nice frame around the player; Sheringham under the left arm is long enough to curve around the figure. My favourite bit on the cover is how Emma wrote Platini’s name and how we fit it in around the figure. I love how that looks.

How did the cover feed into the design of the feature in the magazine?

Emma: The brushstroke concept pulled through really well into the design of the piece. We used the strokes to pick out different elements in the article. For example, there are small versions of them behind each player photo, and then larger versions used to illustrate the edges of the piece. Because they’re done by hand, the texture adds a really nice dimension on the page. That also meant the photos could all be in duotone – if they were in colour, there would have been lots of colours fighting with each other, so it worked out really nicely in that sense. 

How did you find the process of working together?

Andrew: Because her background is in publishing and editorial design, Emma is quite structured and breaks things down into steps, whereas I’m a recent arts graduate so I have a bit more of a free-flowing approach. I’d be off experimenting, trying out this and that, and Emma was more focused on getting elements right and in the right order. I think it worked really well that Emma would be quite carefully laying things out and thinking it through, and I’d be playing around with things like the treatment of the player and the colours. I think our different approaches and specialisms blended together really well. It’s been such a great project to work on and it’s so cool seeing our work in shops. Every time we spot the cover on a shelf somewhere, we take a photo!

For Champions Journal 17, our cover design required a different approach from our usual photographic portraits. Two of our in-house designers, Emma King and Andrew Taylor, were tasked with producing an illustration to celebrate 50 iconic playmakers who have lit up the Champions League down the years. Their eye-catching end result features hand-drawn lettering surrounding a triumphant figure of a No10, raising his fist in celebration – a work of art worthy of those visionary schemers themselves. ­

What was the inspiration for the design?

Andrew: The concept of visually representing the creativity of the No10 and their differing styles of play came from our senior designer Ned Read. We wanted to design something which reflected that as soon as you saw it – we wanted it to feel creative, authentic and dynamic, so we immediately decided on an illustrative cover rather than a photographic one. We were briefed that the cover should have a figure of a player, with the names of all 50 players featured around it. Then it was up to us to interpret that and run with it.

How did you decide on the player image to use on the cover? 

Emma: There was some debate about whether we should use a recognisable player or not. Obviously, Messi looks like Messi. He’s so iconic that, even from the back, you’d immediately know it was him. We eventually decided not to use anyone recognisable because the whole point of the piece is about the number and the position, and not one individual player. In the end, the player we chose isn’t even on the list, and we spent a lot of time anonymising him anyway. It’s actually Jack Grealish – can you tell? We gave him a bit of a haircut! Luckily, his famous calves aren’t in view so they don’t give it away.

What was the process behind designing the cover?

Andrew: It was a very analogue process, with most of it done by hand. We tried out lots of different physical tools, like types of paper, brushes and pens – even tracing paper. All the lettering and brushstroke elements were done by hand by Emma. The player image on the cover is quite fuzzy and blurry, which isn’t a digital effect: I did that with a photocopier. I would cut out the figure and then photocopy it repeatedly, which blurs the details and you can play around with contrast and colour settings too. It picks out a nice grain in the image but it’s not over the top. We tried some digital filters but they looked artificial, whereas the photocopier gives it a really nice depth. 

The colours you used are quite unique – how did you choose them?

Emma: The colours were very considered. Because the design is quite painterly, we started thinking about primary colours, the foundational colours any painter would use, but we then chose muted versions of them. That works inside the magazine as well because it enhances the content but doesn’t detract from it. We got stuck on the colour of the player’s shirt for a while. We had spent a lot of time making the figure look anonymous but realised if we then gave him a red shirt, people would read certain things into that. In the end, we landed on having colours that don’t quite say anything team-wise. We have blue on the dark version of the cover, but it’s more muted; it’s not a Chelsea blue or Man City blue.

How did you decide on the style of lettering?

Emma: I used lots of different styles of lettering and calligraphy because the piece is about lots of different players and their individual playing styles. I made sure to use the same tool for all the writing – a double-ended pen that has a brush on one end and a marker pen on the other. That helped keep everything feeling varied but with a consistent style. 

How challenging was it to fit the names of 50 players on the cover?

Andrew: It was really daunting. Early on, I spent quite a bit of time trying out all 50 names around the player and ensuring they would be legible. That was a big turning point because once I’d got that down, we were reassured that the idea was going to work. Another consideration was ensuring that any similar names – like Möller and Müller, Mancini or Platini – weren’t next to each other so it wasn’t repetitive. It was a lot of playing around, figuring out what would work best where. For example, the longer names made a nice frame around the player; Sheringham under the left arm is long enough to curve around the figure. My favourite bit on the cover is how Emma wrote Platini’s name and how we fit it in around the figure. I love how that looks.

How did the cover feed into the design of the feature in the magazine?

Emma: The brushstroke concept pulled through really well into the design of the piece. We used the strokes to pick out different elements in the article. For example, there are small versions of them behind each player photo, and then larger versions used to illustrate the edges of the piece. Because they’re done by hand, the texture adds a really nice dimension on the page. That also meant the photos could all be in duotone – if they were in colour, there would have been lots of colours fighting with each other, so it worked out really nicely in that sense. 

How did you find the process of working together?

Andrew: Because her background is in publishing and editorial design, Emma is quite structured and breaks things down into steps, whereas I’m a recent arts graduate so I have a bit more of a free-flowing approach. I’d be off experimenting, trying out this and that, and Emma was more focused on getting elements right and in the right order. I think it worked really well that Emma would be quite carefully laying things out and thinking it through, and I’d be playing around with things like the treatment of the player and the colours. I think our different approaches and specialisms blended together really well. It’s been such a great project to work on and it’s so cool seeing our work in shops. Every time we spot the cover on a shelf somewhere, we take a photo!

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

For Champions Journal 17, our cover design required a different approach from our usual photographic portraits. Two of our in-house designers, Emma King and Andrew Taylor, were tasked with producing an illustration to celebrate 50 iconic playmakers who have lit up the Champions League down the years. Their eye-catching end result features hand-drawn lettering surrounding a triumphant figure of a No10, raising his fist in celebration – a work of art worthy of those visionary schemers themselves. ­

What was the inspiration for the design?

Andrew: The concept of visually representing the creativity of the No10 and their differing styles of play came from our senior designer Ned Read. We wanted to design something which reflected that as soon as you saw it – we wanted it to feel creative, authentic and dynamic, so we immediately decided on an illustrative cover rather than a photographic one. We were briefed that the cover should have a figure of a player, with the names of all 50 players featured around it. Then it was up to us to interpret that and run with it.

How did you decide on the player image to use on the cover? 

Emma: There was some debate about whether we should use a recognisable player or not. Obviously, Messi looks like Messi. He’s so iconic that, even from the back, you’d immediately know it was him. We eventually decided not to use anyone recognisable because the whole point of the piece is about the number and the position, and not one individual player. In the end, the player we chose isn’t even on the list, and we spent a lot of time anonymising him anyway. It’s actually Jack Grealish – can you tell? We gave him a bit of a haircut! Luckily, his famous calves aren’t in view so they don’t give it away.

What was the process behind designing the cover?

Andrew: It was a very analogue process, with most of it done by hand. We tried out lots of different physical tools, like types of paper, brushes and pens – even tracing paper. All the lettering and brushstroke elements were done by hand by Emma. The player image on the cover is quite fuzzy and blurry, which isn’t a digital effect: I did that with a photocopier. I would cut out the figure and then photocopy it repeatedly, which blurs the details and you can play around with contrast and colour settings too. It picks out a nice grain in the image but it’s not over the top. We tried some digital filters but they looked artificial, whereas the photocopier gives it a really nice depth. 

The colours you used are quite unique – how did you choose them?

Emma: The colours were very considered. Because the design is quite painterly, we started thinking about primary colours, the foundational colours any painter would use, but we then chose muted versions of them. That works inside the magazine as well because it enhances the content but doesn’t detract from it. We got stuck on the colour of the player’s shirt for a while. We had spent a lot of time making the figure look anonymous but realised if we then gave him a red shirt, people would read certain things into that. In the end, we landed on having colours that don’t quite say anything team-wise. We have blue on the dark version of the cover, but it’s more muted; it’s not a Chelsea blue or Man City blue.

How did you decide on the style of lettering?

Emma: I used lots of different styles of lettering and calligraphy because the piece is about lots of different players and their individual playing styles. I made sure to use the same tool for all the writing – a double-ended pen that has a brush on one end and a marker pen on the other. That helped keep everything feeling varied but with a consistent style. 

How challenging was it to fit the names of 50 players on the cover?

Andrew: It was really daunting. Early on, I spent quite a bit of time trying out all 50 names around the player and ensuring they would be legible. That was a big turning point because once I’d got that down, we were reassured that the idea was going to work. Another consideration was ensuring that any similar names – like Möller and Müller, Mancini or Platini – weren’t next to each other so it wasn’t repetitive. It was a lot of playing around, figuring out what would work best where. For example, the longer names made a nice frame around the player; Sheringham under the left arm is long enough to curve around the figure. My favourite bit on the cover is how Emma wrote Platini’s name and how we fit it in around the figure. I love how that looks.

How did the cover feed into the design of the feature in the magazine?

Emma: The brushstroke concept pulled through really well into the design of the piece. We used the strokes to pick out different elements in the article. For example, there are small versions of them behind each player photo, and then larger versions used to illustrate the edges of the piece. Because they’re done by hand, the texture adds a really nice dimension on the page. That also meant the photos could all be in duotone – if they were in colour, there would have been lots of colours fighting with each other, so it worked out really nicely in that sense. 

How did you find the process of working together?

Andrew: Because her background is in publishing and editorial design, Emma is quite structured and breaks things down into steps, whereas I’m a recent arts graduate so I have a bit more of a free-flowing approach. I’d be off experimenting, trying out this and that, and Emma was more focused on getting elements right and in the right order. I think it worked really well that Emma would be quite carefully laying things out and thinking it through, and I’d be playing around with things like the treatment of the player and the colours. I think our different approaches and specialisms blended together really well. It’s been such a great project to work on and it’s so cool seeing our work in shops. Every time we spot the cover on a shelf somewhere, we take a photo!

Cover art
Interview

Cover art

Never judge a book by its cover – unless it’s as good as Emma King and Andrew Taylor’s design for issue 17 of Champions Journal. Here, the creative duo explain the process behind their work

INTERVIEW Lizzie Coen

For Champions Journal 17, our cover design required a different approach from our usual photographic portraits. Two of our in-house designers, Emma King and Andrew Taylor, were tasked with producing an illustration to celebrate 50 iconic playmakers who have lit up the Champions League down the years. Their eye-catching end result features hand-drawn lettering surrounding a triumphant figure of a No10, raising his fist in celebration – a work of art worthy of those visionary schemers themselves. ­

What was the inspiration for the design?

Andrew: The concept of visually representing the creativity of the No10 and their differing styles of play came from our senior designer Ned Read. We wanted to design something which reflected that as soon as you saw it – we wanted it to feel creative, authentic and dynamic, so we immediately decided on an illustrative cover rather than a photographic one. We were briefed that the cover should have a figure of a player, with the names of all 50 players featured around it. Then it was up to us to interpret that and run with it.

How did you decide on the player image to use on the cover? 

Emma: There was some debate about whether we should use a recognisable player or not. Obviously, Messi looks like Messi. He’s so iconic that, even from the back, you’d immediately know it was him. We eventually decided not to use anyone recognisable because the whole point of the piece is about the number and the position, and not one individual player. In the end, the player we chose isn’t even on the list, and we spent a lot of time anonymising him anyway. It’s actually Jack Grealish – can you tell? We gave him a bit of a haircut! Luckily, his famous calves aren’t in view so they don’t give it away.

What was the process behind designing the cover?

Andrew: It was a very analogue process, with most of it done by hand. We tried out lots of different physical tools, like types of paper, brushes and pens – even tracing paper. All the lettering and brushstroke elements were done by hand by Emma. The player image on the cover is quite fuzzy and blurry, which isn’t a digital effect: I did that with a photocopier. I would cut out the figure and then photocopy it repeatedly, which blurs the details and you can play around with contrast and colour settings too. It picks out a nice grain in the image but it’s not over the top. We tried some digital filters but they looked artificial, whereas the photocopier gives it a really nice depth. 

The colours you used are quite unique – how did you choose them?

Emma: The colours were very considered. Because the design is quite painterly, we started thinking about primary colours, the foundational colours any painter would use, but we then chose muted versions of them. That works inside the magazine as well because it enhances the content but doesn’t detract from it. We got stuck on the colour of the player’s shirt for a while. We had spent a lot of time making the figure look anonymous but realised if we then gave him a red shirt, people would read certain things into that. In the end, we landed on having colours that don’t quite say anything team-wise. We have blue on the dark version of the cover, but it’s more muted; it’s not a Chelsea blue or Man City blue.

How did you decide on the style of lettering?

Emma: I used lots of different styles of lettering and calligraphy because the piece is about lots of different players and their individual playing styles. I made sure to use the same tool for all the writing – a double-ended pen that has a brush on one end and a marker pen on the other. That helped keep everything feeling varied but with a consistent style. 

How challenging was it to fit the names of 50 players on the cover?

Andrew: It was really daunting. Early on, I spent quite a bit of time trying out all 50 names around the player and ensuring they would be legible. That was a big turning point because once I’d got that down, we were reassured that the idea was going to work. Another consideration was ensuring that any similar names – like Möller and Müller, Mancini or Platini – weren’t next to each other so it wasn’t repetitive. It was a lot of playing around, figuring out what would work best where. For example, the longer names made a nice frame around the player; Sheringham under the left arm is long enough to curve around the figure. My favourite bit on the cover is how Emma wrote Platini’s name and how we fit it in around the figure. I love how that looks.

How did the cover feed into the design of the feature in the magazine?

Emma: The brushstroke concept pulled through really well into the design of the piece. We used the strokes to pick out different elements in the article. For example, there are small versions of them behind each player photo, and then larger versions used to illustrate the edges of the piece. Because they’re done by hand, the texture adds a really nice dimension on the page. That also meant the photos could all be in duotone – if they were in colour, there would have been lots of colours fighting with each other, so it worked out really nicely in that sense. 

How did you find the process of working together?

Andrew: Because her background is in publishing and editorial design, Emma is quite structured and breaks things down into steps, whereas I’m a recent arts graduate so I have a bit more of a free-flowing approach. I’d be off experimenting, trying out this and that, and Emma was more focused on getting elements right and in the right order. I think it worked really well that Emma would be quite carefully laying things out and thinking it through, and I’d be playing around with things like the treatment of the player and the colours. I think our different approaches and specialisms blended together really well. It’s been such a great project to work on and it’s so cool seeing our work in shops. Every time we spot the cover on a shelf somewhere, we take a photo!

Penalty Pedigree

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For Champions Journal 17, our cover design required a different approach from our usual photographic portraits. Two of our in-house designers, Emma King and Andrew Taylor, were tasked with producing an illustration to celebrate 50 iconic playmakers who have lit up the Champions League down the years. Their eye-catching end result features hand-drawn lettering surrounding a triumphant figure of a No10, raising his fist in celebration – a work of art worthy of those visionary schemers themselves. ­

What was the inspiration for the design?

Andrew: The concept of visually representing the creativity of the No10 and their differing styles of play came from our senior designer Ned Read. We wanted to design something which reflected that as soon as you saw it – we wanted it to feel creative, authentic and dynamic, so we immediately decided on an illustrative cover rather than a photographic one. We were briefed that the cover should have a figure of a player, with the names of all 50 players featured around it. Then it was up to us to interpret that and run with it.

How did you decide on the player image to use on the cover? 

Emma: There was some debate about whether we should use a recognisable player or not. Obviously, Messi looks like Messi. He’s so iconic that, even from the back, you’d immediately know it was him. We eventually decided not to use anyone recognisable because the whole point of the piece is about the number and the position, and not one individual player. In the end, the player we chose isn’t even on the list, and we spent a lot of time anonymising him anyway. It’s actually Jack Grealish – can you tell? We gave him a bit of a haircut! Luckily, his famous calves aren’t in view so they don’t give it away.

What was the process behind designing the cover?

Andrew: It was a very analogue process, with most of it done by hand. We tried out lots of different physical tools, like types of paper, brushes and pens – even tracing paper. All the lettering and brushstroke elements were done by hand by Emma. The player image on the cover is quite fuzzy and blurry, which isn’t a digital effect: I did that with a photocopier. I would cut out the figure and then photocopy it repeatedly, which blurs the details and you can play around with contrast and colour settings too. It picks out a nice grain in the image but it’s not over the top. We tried some digital filters but they looked artificial, whereas the photocopier gives it a really nice depth. 

The colours you used are quite unique – how did you choose them?

Emma: The colours were very considered. Because the design is quite painterly, we started thinking about primary colours, the foundational colours any painter would use, but we then chose muted versions of them. That works inside the magazine as well because it enhances the content but doesn’t detract from it. We got stuck on the colour of the player’s shirt for a while. We had spent a lot of time making the figure look anonymous but realised if we then gave him a red shirt, people would read certain things into that. In the end, we landed on having colours that don’t quite say anything team-wise. We have blue on the dark version of the cover, but it’s more muted; it’s not a Chelsea blue or Man City blue.

How did you decide on the style of lettering?

Emma: I used lots of different styles of lettering and calligraphy because the piece is about lots of different players and their individual playing styles. I made sure to use the same tool for all the writing – a double-ended pen that has a brush on one end and a marker pen on the other. That helped keep everything feeling varied but with a consistent style. 

How challenging was it to fit the names of 50 players on the cover?

Andrew: It was really daunting. Early on, I spent quite a bit of time trying out all 50 names around the player and ensuring they would be legible. That was a big turning point because once I’d got that down, we were reassured that the idea was going to work. Another consideration was ensuring that any similar names – like Möller and Müller, Mancini or Platini – weren’t next to each other so it wasn’t repetitive. It was a lot of playing around, figuring out what would work best where. For example, the longer names made a nice frame around the player; Sheringham under the left arm is long enough to curve around the figure. My favourite bit on the cover is how Emma wrote Platini’s name and how we fit it in around the figure. I love how that looks.

How did the cover feed into the design of the feature in the magazine?

Emma: The brushstroke concept pulled through really well into the design of the piece. We used the strokes to pick out different elements in the article. For example, there are small versions of them behind each player photo, and then larger versions used to illustrate the edges of the piece. Because they’re done by hand, the texture adds a really nice dimension on the page. That also meant the photos could all be in duotone – if they were in colour, there would have been lots of colours fighting with each other, so it worked out really nicely in that sense. 

How did you find the process of working together?

Andrew: Because her background is in publishing and editorial design, Emma is quite structured and breaks things down into steps, whereas I’m a recent arts graduate so I have a bit more of a free-flowing approach. I’d be off experimenting, trying out this and that, and Emma was more focused on getting elements right and in the right order. I think it worked really well that Emma would be quite carefully laying things out and thinking it through, and I’d be playing around with things like the treatment of the player and the colours. I think our different approaches and specialisms blended together really well. It’s been such a great project to work on and it’s so cool seeing our work in shops. Every time we spot the cover on a shelf somewhere, we take a photo!

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

For Champions Journal 17, our cover design required a different approach from our usual photographic portraits. Two of our in-house designers, Emma King and Andrew Taylor, were tasked with producing an illustration to celebrate 50 iconic playmakers who have lit up the Champions League down the years. Their eye-catching end result features hand-drawn lettering surrounding a triumphant figure of a No10, raising his fist in celebration – a work of art worthy of those visionary schemers themselves. ­

What was the inspiration for the design?

Andrew: The concept of visually representing the creativity of the No10 and their differing styles of play came from our senior designer Ned Read. We wanted to design something which reflected that as soon as you saw it – we wanted it to feel creative, authentic and dynamic, so we immediately decided on an illustrative cover rather than a photographic one. We were briefed that the cover should have a figure of a player, with the names of all 50 players featured around it. Then it was up to us to interpret that and run with it.

How did you decide on the player image to use on the cover? 

Emma: There was some debate about whether we should use a recognisable player or not. Obviously, Messi looks like Messi. He’s so iconic that, even from the back, you’d immediately know it was him. We eventually decided not to use anyone recognisable because the whole point of the piece is about the number and the position, and not one individual player. In the end, the player we chose isn’t even on the list, and we spent a lot of time anonymising him anyway. It’s actually Jack Grealish – can you tell? We gave him a bit of a haircut! Luckily, his famous calves aren’t in view so they don’t give it away.

What was the process behind designing the cover?

Andrew: It was a very analogue process, with most of it done by hand. We tried out lots of different physical tools, like types of paper, brushes and pens – even tracing paper. All the lettering and brushstroke elements were done by hand by Emma. The player image on the cover is quite fuzzy and blurry, which isn’t a digital effect: I did that with a photocopier. I would cut out the figure and then photocopy it repeatedly, which blurs the details and you can play around with contrast and colour settings too. It picks out a nice grain in the image but it’s not over the top. We tried some digital filters but they looked artificial, whereas the photocopier gives it a really nice depth. 

The colours you used are quite unique – how did you choose them?

Emma: The colours were very considered. Because the design is quite painterly, we started thinking about primary colours, the foundational colours any painter would use, but we then chose muted versions of them. That works inside the magazine as well because it enhances the content but doesn’t detract from it. We got stuck on the colour of the player’s shirt for a while. We had spent a lot of time making the figure look anonymous but realised if we then gave him a red shirt, people would read certain things into that. In the end, we landed on having colours that don’t quite say anything team-wise. We have blue on the dark version of the cover, but it’s more muted; it’s not a Chelsea blue or Man City blue.

How did you decide on the style of lettering?

Emma: I used lots of different styles of lettering and calligraphy because the piece is about lots of different players and their individual playing styles. I made sure to use the same tool for all the writing – a double-ended pen that has a brush on one end and a marker pen on the other. That helped keep everything feeling varied but with a consistent style. 

How challenging was it to fit the names of 50 players on the cover?

Andrew: It was really daunting. Early on, I spent quite a bit of time trying out all 50 names around the player and ensuring they would be legible. That was a big turning point because once I’d got that down, we were reassured that the idea was going to work. Another consideration was ensuring that any similar names – like Möller and Müller, Mancini or Platini – weren’t next to each other so it wasn’t repetitive. It was a lot of playing around, figuring out what would work best where. For example, the longer names made a nice frame around the player; Sheringham under the left arm is long enough to curve around the figure. My favourite bit on the cover is how Emma wrote Platini’s name and how we fit it in around the figure. I love how that looks.

How did the cover feed into the design of the feature in the magazine?

Emma: The brushstroke concept pulled through really well into the design of the piece. We used the strokes to pick out different elements in the article. For example, there are small versions of them behind each player photo, and then larger versions used to illustrate the edges of the piece. Because they’re done by hand, the texture adds a really nice dimension on the page. That also meant the photos could all be in duotone – if they were in colour, there would have been lots of colours fighting with each other, so it worked out really nicely in that sense. 

How did you find the process of working together?

Andrew: Because her background is in publishing and editorial design, Emma is quite structured and breaks things down into steps, whereas I’m a recent arts graduate so I have a bit more of a free-flowing approach. I’d be off experimenting, trying out this and that, and Emma was more focused on getting elements right and in the right order. I think it worked really well that Emma would be quite carefully laying things out and thinking it through, and I’d be playing around with things like the treatment of the player and the colours. I think our different approaches and specialisms blended together really well. It’s been such a great project to work on and it’s so cool seeing our work in shops. Every time we spot the cover on a shelf somewhere, we take a photo!

Penalty Pedigree

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