New in this week... cover design for a new beauty directory

The very lovely and ever-enthusiastic Sarah approached Ditto to help put together the design for her brand new beauty directory. The directory will be advertising space for salons within Kent, punctuated with editorials and reviews. Sarah's goal is to produce the best directory that there is, and we were very much up for the challenge! For me, this was an exciting project - the chance to combine my passion for beautiful design and stunning typography with all things girlie! Sarah and I had a planning session with Dan to discuss the target demographic for her directory, focussing on the age group and gender she was primarily aiming to attract (it may sound obvious, but it always pays to go over the basics!). Once we'd established that, we moved on to talking about the sort of look we wanted to achieve. Although the directory will be free, we certainly didn't want it to look cheap, so a stylish, high-end design was in order. Sarah had brought press clippings from beauty publications and adverts which had caught her eye, which were really helpful - by going through these we could look at what we liked, what we didn't and what we might do differently for her directory to make it unique but consistent with the feel of the beauty industry. Next, we looked at the logo, colour palettes and talked about how the branding would work not only on the cover, but inside the directory too. We agreed that the fonts used needed to be contemporary, fun and full of energy. Getting the typography right can so often be the difference between stunning and mediocre, so we set about trying different concepts to see what worked.

With all the excitement of choosing sumptuous colour palettes and gorgeous fonts aside, we looked at the sort of image we wanted to use for the cover. The directory will encompass salons who do hair, nails, beauty, tanning and more, so it was important that the cover image didn't lean too heavily on any one of these categories. We didn't want a cliched or over-used image - something unique and eye catching. This cover design will set the tone for every issue in the future, so it was crucial to make a strong choice. I love the image we chose! Have a look at the first mock-up:

I love the juxtaposition of the traditional serif font used for the 'g', full of character and uber-cool combined with the baroque inspired frame and sanserif, stylish font used beneath it. It's fun, fashionable and glamorous. Combined with the Vivienne Westwood inspired image, it just fits. Take a look at the second of the two concepts we showed Sarah:

The font is fun and playful, but somehow lacks the gravity of the first concept. I really like the movement in the font and its rounded, hand-drawn feel, but somehow it didn't quite fit. I'd love to hear your thoughts - what do you think?

Next up: the page layout for the rest of the directory!