Monsters exhibition catalogue


Andrew Mangham and Emma Aston from the Classics department at the University of Reading anranged for an exhibition presented in the Madjeski Gallery at the Reading Museum, showcasing works of painter Paul Reid and sculptor Eleanor Crook. This exhibition looks at the ‘the biological and artistic meaning of diversity and difference, and the vital role that history plays in our understandings of the dynamic working of natural history’.

Restated brief

The brief was to design a catalogue entitled In the Company of Monsters: New Visions, Ancient Myths for the exhibition presented in the Madjeski Gallery at the Reading Museum and to design and send this to print in time for their exhibition by the 25th August 2023 (dated decided on towards the end of the project). The catalogue will showcase feature short essays from experts in ancient history, literature, fine art, and gaming  as well as images of paintings and sculptures by artists, Paul Reid and Eleanor Crook.

  • Design of front/spine/back cover
    • Identify images by Paul Reid to create a front cover with presence.
  • Design of front matter including:
      • Title page
      • Table of contents
      • Acknowledgements
      • Foreword
      • Layout of 6 x 1000 word essays including provided

      • Illustrations for decoration and for essays as
        requested/suggested by client

      • Layout of catalogue of artworks on display, exact
        number of artworks and images thereof to be

        provided. Details are: title/date/medium

Design process


In our initial meeting with the client we found that the aim of the catalogue was to create a catalogue that will effectively showcase the the paintings and short essays. The layout should assist the reader in way-finding in the exhibition.We began by looking at Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing,  a previous exhibition book as our client said they would like the catalogue to have a similar design and format. 

Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Exhibition Catalogue
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Cover art
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Exhibition Catalogue
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Inside page
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Exhibition Catalogue
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Catalogue pages


inside pages

We began by researching what similar catalogue books had done for their page composition. After looking at  ‘Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing’ we kept our book in a square format as well and kept some of the same composition like keeping all text on the left with a wide margin for references. 

Basic catalogue layout

After meeting with our client we learnt that would like to have the painintg ‘The Cyclops’ by artist Paul Reid who is an artist featured in the catalogue and the exhibition.

The Cyclops, 2021
Digital Painting

We designed two possible cover ideas, proposal 1 following the themes of the inside pages where it used the same typefaces and alignment and proposal two was a little more experimental using a a more gothic typeface to link more with the topic of the catalogue. After the meeting the feedback was:

  • Proposal 1:
    Likes the serif typeface as it gives a professional quality to catalogue
Proposal 1
  • Proposal 2:
    Likes that the original image wasn’t edited and kept to the correct brightness
Proposal 2









  • Overall:
    Wants the cover to match the seriousness of the pages inside the catalogue.

We decided to continue with proposal one as it was the most liked by the client as it still kept elements from the inside of the book and seemed like it was all part of the same catalogue.

Design development


Meta Pro
Arno Pro


At this stage, Richard had graduated and left and I worked on continuing with this project. I had continued with proposal one but following feedback, the typography and alignment of the inside pages had changed and so I changed the text on the cover to match the inside pages.

Developed cover

Inside pages – Essay

Following feedback, I worked on  two different page compositions for the essay portion of the catalogue. Layout one still continued with the long text block on the right side of the page with a wide margin and with the facing page image left aligned. This layout  had a lot of white space and made the pages look asymmetrical and a little empty.  Layout two used the margin space for the essay author’s biography which helped to fill the space and had a reduced line length for the body copy. The facing page image was now smaller and aligned with the author name on the following page. This layout had better flow and so I chose to continue working on this design.

Layout one
Layout two

Inside pages – Catalogue images

I received the images towards the end of the project but as I had a basic page layout plan, I placed the imaged according to it. I quickly realised my planned layout wouldn’t work as my layout had squared images. I changed my layout so that bigger images would have their own page and grouped smaller images where I could so that the images weren’t too spread out.  I felt that layout two had better flow to the pages and continued with designing this version.

Layout one
Layout two

Final stages

I received an unexpected and sudden deadline of a week left to complete the catalogue. During this week, I had to work on completing the catalogue images section. This was a little difficult as I didn’t have all the images till halfway through the week but once receiving them I was able to place them into my planned layout. Through this week I also worked on finalised the cover of the catalogue and carried the decisions I made on the cover through to the title page.

Final cover

Final essay pages

Final catalogue pages


We regularly communicated with a clients through teams calls once every fortnight and  received relatively quick responses which was helpful during the designing stage as we weren’t waiting on the clients response. However, we had been brought into the project long before we were needed as when we had joined in March, the client didn’t have finalised copy until September and the images for the catalogue images till towards the end of the project.  We received a lot of positive feedback after the catalogue was printed and it was well received.

Movie time!

Project Brief

Design the programme flyer for Reading Film Theatre, listing their Autumn programme of films. Design TWO variants, based on some kind of underlying different approach (eg different users)

For this project, we were asked to design the Autumn 2017 cinema listings. We were given a document with all the information with typos and we had to correct them and then order and design the information so that it would be easy to understand. We also had to choose two types of users to design our cinema listings.

I chose:

  • Parent with two children under 10
  • Retired doctor and her husband, both of them who have a passion for old Hollywood


I started off by sketching out ideas on how each listing might look, keeping in mind which features of the listings would be more important for each user.I began with the design for the parent with two children under 10. For this design I thought that the title, age rating and the running time would be the most important for the parent as it would be key for them to know the age rating of the movie to see if the movie would be appropriate for their children and the running time as a parent might not want to sit through a long childrens movie. Due to this, I chose the middle sketch to base my cinema listings on as it had the title and age rating at the top and the running time directly under it.


For the retired doctor and her husband who have a passion for old Hollywood, I thought the key features for them was year of films, country the movie was made in, as well as being able to know which movies had extras such as subtitles or audio description. This is because old Hollywood is specific genre and to be able to see the year and country of the movie would be useful for the couple to find the movies they like the most. Therefore, I chose the last sketch to base my design on as it has the country and year of the movie towards the top of the listing.


I began by reading through the document and edited the text so that all necessary information was there such as the running time for every movie and correcting any typos in the movie informations. I decided to use the RTF’s logo colors for my color theme. As the logo had multiple colors and we were only allowed two, I used red and black as my colors, red as the accent color and black for the main body. I had originally planned to put the synopsis of each movie into my listings but I did not have any space to do this as we only had little space and already quite a lot of information to organise into the space. The two typefaces I chose was Gill Sans and Rockwell for both designs as they looked appropriate and has quite a lot of styles within the font such as italics, bold etc, and this was very useful in differentiating and highlighting certain information even without a range of fonts or colors.

First Draft and Feedback

In the feedback session, it was suggested to check that our listing have the correct hyphens and to have a full name on one line or movie title on one line as well as having correct spacing between hyphens, check spaces between numbers e.g., 8, 4 etc. I also decided to change the position of the title and information to make it more prominent.


This project really helped me understand to know the importance of knowing how the finished project will be viewed as looking as the printed version of my listings helped me see some of the issues I could not see on screen such as the size of the body text. As well as this, this project showed me how important of using paragraph styles as with so much information, anytime I wanted to make a change to a section such as the running time, I didn’t have to individually go through every bit.

The Great Gatsby

For this, we followed James’ video on using Indesign, in which we recreated a penguin classic book cover. I found this very useful as I had never used Indesign before and it was very easy to follow. This task of recreating the cover was very helpful in getting to grips with the InDesign design program whilst also being able to understanding professional design.

I found recreating the text pretty straightforward. However the most confusing part was the recreation of Penguin Books logo as making the shape was very complicated and it took me the most time to do.

PDF :Penguin cover James tutorial

The Voyage of Argo

As a part of this project, we were also asked to create our own book cover using our template of ‘The Great Gatsby’ book cover and to interpret this into our own concept whether it be a book or movie as our inspiration. For this, I chose ‘The Voyage of Argo’ as my book.

I wanted to include the Greek flag into my book cover so initially I put two white rectangles in the blue boxes so that each stripe was equal in weight however this made the cover look too busy and very white heavy with the text. As well as this, the text at the bottom and top could not be easily read with the strips of white and blue. To improve on this, I made the white stripes thinner to frame the text and images on the top and bottom of the book cover. This was successful because it is more visually appealing.

I made the decision to remove the cartouche at the top as I felt it was did made the cover too white-heavy. However, I now feel as though this was not the best idea as it does not reflect the original poster.

For the text, I used Superclarendon as I felt it was the most similar to the original cover. I then put a boat at the bottom instead of the penguin to relate to the story and I put the penguin at the top with ‘Penguin Books’ beside it.

PDF: The voyage of argo 01

Gemini Designs

For this project, we were asked to brand ourselves. I had chosen 70s retro style as my theme for my brand and I started by creating a moodboard of images from this theme that inspired me. I decided to name my brand after my own horoscope, which is gemini and this led to me find images of horoscopes designed in the 70s art style as well as horoscope designs from the 70s. I was especially inspired by the circular logos and the horoscopes in the circular drawings.

My first version was inspired by the abstract images from the moodboard and I made an oval shape with two alternating colors with my logo in the middle. However, as much as I liked the shape and text of the logo, I did not like the colors as I felt they did not fit the theme even though they were from the moodboard so I went back to look for more 70s color schemes and decided that brighter colors would fit my logo better.

I changed the colors to blue and pink in the logo shape instead of the muted tan colors and this both looked better and fit the theme better. This was successful because the the logo was more vibrant and stood out more.

i also made another version of my logo but in a circle shape however, I felt this was not funky enough for the 70s retro theme.

For the text, I used Marker Felt as my font as it fit the theme. I added multiple outlines to my text as it was common in 70s text. For this,  I used the same colors from the logo shape.

Serifs and Texture


For Eric’s project we were tasked with finding Lettering in the environment with a theme in mind. At first I started taking pictures of all lettering that interested me and I started in the typography building. As I was taking pictures, I realised that most lettering were serifs so I decided to make serifs my theme. However, as I was taking the pictures, I realised there was a variety in the serifs as some letters had clear and traditional serifs and others were less clear but still had decorate ends.

As I continued taking pictures, both inside and out the department, I started to take pictures more focused on textured lettering, specifically, texture that had been a result of wear and age. This lead to taking pictures outside because I had found that text was more worn out there due to weather.

We then had to group our pictures into our themes and placed the smooth textured serifs at the top of my page as it was my first theme/idea and moved to textured serifs to textured lettering down the page to mimic the evolution of themes from just serif to textured lettering.


Our task

For this project, we were given the brief of designing a book in relation to the story. I chose labyrinth as my theme.

Labyrinth: a family moves into a house with unexpected spatial characteristics. The rooms keep shifting position every time a door is opened. The family members are trapped inside the house and start a journey to find the front door. While they keep moving from one room to the next, they discover that they are not the only ones lost in the impossibly infinite labyrinth of the house.

My initial idea was to cut each page into a different maze as a labyrinth is an elaborate, confusing structure designed to make a person lost as the character is in the brief. However, I realised that would be too time-consuming as we only had two hours and would also make the book loose its structure so I then simplified the maze, so that the maze is only on the front page but cut through multiple pages to make some parts of the pages very deep and others quite shallow to add depth and interest to the reader but also to relate to the trapped feeling the character would be feeling.

I also decided to cut the book into the shape of an arched door and painted the front cover as a front door as the character struggles to find the front door. The reason for the whole book being in the same arched door shape, is that the character keeps opening door and moving from one room to another so every-time the reader turns the page they will essentially be in a different room.

When I cut the maze, I attempted to cut it so that, the book would still be readable through the maze but would still confuse the reader. I wanted it like this because I wanted the content of the book to be confusing and lost to the reader as the character feels when the go through each room.

Finally, I added distress to the front page of the book with my nails to relate to traumatic experience the character would be going through.

Toy dog diving game

Our task

For our first project, we were tasked to give our partners three interesting facts about ourselves that can be used to create a perfect gift. My partner’s facts were that she likes animals (her pet dog), she used to dive and her family is from Australia. From this, I brainstormed and came up with two initial ideas.

My first idea was a wood statue of her dog but this was a little basic. However, this idea evolved into a little toy dog that could dive off a spring board, as my partner used to do spring board diving, into a mini pool. I added a pattern of whales around the pool as a link to the fact that her family is from Australia and whales are native to north Australia.

My random word was magnet which inspired me to add a magnet to the bottom of the springboard to allow for better stability so that the diving board will not fall when the toy dogs are placed on it to ‘jump’ into the pool as a diver would.