Feedback please? Design of Obituary/Memorial

dinazina's picture

Hi all,
This was quite a complex project for me, though short. I designed an obituary/memorial annoucement for a friend who died recently.

Someone sent me the piece she had designed in Word, which you see reproduced below (smaller than the original 8.5 X 11). She asked me for a better photo. I said: I think I better do the whole thing. She quickly agreed to that.

It's all in Arial except for the odd brush-like title font.

Here is my redesigned piece:

The display font is "Serena," which I bought a while ago, but never had the occasion to use. It seems to work. What do you think?

I decided on colors to harmonize with the photo: green and brown.

I struggled with the text font. It has to display well both onscreen and print, cause this is being sent out as an e-invitation to the wake/memorial.

Of the sans text fonts, none had the dignified, elegant look I wanted, even Optima.

Of the serif text fonts, of course I wanted something more elegant than Times or Georgia. I tried ACaslon, AGaramond, AJenson - none looked very clear onscreen. The slab serif fonts were more clear, but did not harmonize with Serena at all. I ended up using Warnock Pro. This comes with Adobe products, but I've never used it before. To my surprise it was clear onscreen (at full doc size), maybe because of the strong wedge-like serifs.

I revised the copy as well.

Feedback please?

dinazina's picture

Tomi, does that mean you like it? I can't tell.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Sorry, but I do not like it.

It is propably my Lutheran upbringing, but one should not embellish death, and so I would recommend Caslon (or other font with small caps and numerals) or similar to use instead of your proposial.

In effect, I would suggest using just one typeface.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

If you are using InDesign, I would advise you to go with Adobe Caslon Pro. That worked well for the burial of my grangfather.

aluminum's picture

Keeping it simple is always good advice. I'd introduce some more white space as well. You also have a bit of dissonance in that it's a mostly centered composition, but then the title is cramped into the top and made into a split-level.

And sorry for the loss of your friend.

dinazina's picture

Are you saying you would use the text font (whether Caslon or other) as a display font? Using small caps?

Tomi from Suomi's picture

That was the way I used Caslon for my grandfathers funeral.

dinazina's picture

How does this look? It's all in Caslon except the Rest In Peace, which I still love.

oprion's picture

Personally, I'd go with a picture that shows the person relaxed and peaceful, rather then brimming with happiness, less of a contrast then.
A solid black frame might also be worth considering in stead of the decorative one.
Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov

Tomi from Suomi's picture

It is an American way, but I would drop those capitals on top. Othterwise, it is your funeral.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Small caps was my intention to tell you.

dinazina's picture

Tomi, "drop those capitalS on top?" I'm not sure what that means. Do you mean the line is placed too high? Or delete the line "In Memorium"?

As for the picture, Cherisse was an intense person. All the pictures we have are either a big grin, a quizzical frown, with her mouth wide open, or just bored and spacing out. This is the best.

akos.polgardi's picture

Isn't it 'IN MEMORIAM'?

dinazina's picture

I have a reason for the green border too. My friend wanted a wake in her favorite Irish pub, she did not want a funeral or a gloomy occasion. The border is dignified but looks a bit Irish too - I think she'd like that.

dinazina's picture

You are right about the misspelling, I was copying the original. Thanks! I will correct it.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

I meant: in memoriam. Without capitals. And for Irish, go all the way! I've lived in Ireland for two years, and Ireland is good.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Who are you?

dinazina's picture

Me? I'm Dina. I'm not a type designer.

James Random's picture

Personally I'd use Trajan Pro for the header and footer with Times (not New Roman) for the body text.

I'd also use Trajan Pro for the name of the womn too, however. space each letter (by adjusting the character tracking) so that it's equal in length to your title. I'd also advise putting a border around the title and name too. Something like this is the result I got.

dinazina's picture

James, that is beautiful and classic, especially for something to appear in a publication, but it, overly formal for someone like Cherisse.

Her best friend came over and looked at the two designs I printed, the one with Serena and the traditional one with Caslon [revised as Tomi suggested], and said "They're both lovely, but Cherisse would like this one [the first]." It's very subjective, isn't it?

It's to be viewed onscreen by her hundreds of friends and acquaintances, not printed in a newspaper, so I think it'll be fine that it's not so traditional.

I did use suggestions from you all for improving the spacing though, and it does look better proportioned.

James Random's picture

Try looking into brush script typefaces, in that case. Less formal, but still intelligent.

Apart from that the best advice I can give you is to step back from something and say to yourself: 'What would Cherissa think?' If you knew her well, you can't go far wrong :)

dinazina's picture

If the graphics for my own wake don't have rhinestones on them somewhere, I'll be disappointed. I've told my husband.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

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