All posts by Messrs. Dash & Dare

Messrs. Dash & Dare is a creative studio based near Bath, UK, providing brand & marketing, graphic design & illustration and publishing solutions to clients large and small.

The World in Reading

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The World in Reading is a thematic introduction to the rich and diverse collection at Reading Museum. The brief for this museum guide was to conveys the sense of inspiration and enjoyment that can be derived from studying and handling real objects, whether they relate to Reading’s local historical and natural environment or other cultures around the world.

The design combines a contemporary palette, clean sans serif and flexible grid to show off the collection at Reading. Juxtaposition of different image treatments provides variety of colour, texture, shape, and scale.

The cover illustrates the breadth of the Museum collection and provides ‘teasers’ which hint at the treasures to be discovered.

Colour, collage and constructions

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Design work for this exhibition of the joyful and vibrant work of British abstract artist Terry Frost at the Museum of Reading included an advertisement in the Royal Academy Magazine, exhibition poster, events programme, private view invitation card, catalogue and gallery interpretation panel.

Close liaision with museum staff, photographers, and printers was essential to ensure a high-quality finish and accurate colour reproduction of the works in print.

The epic scale of the works on show is reflected in the catalogue, where each work takes up a whole page, while relative sizes are maintained as much as possible. The square format of the catalogue caters for both portrait and landscape images.

Historical Thesaurus

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Based on the Oxford English Dictionary, the Historical Thesaurus is the largest thesaurus in the world. Over forty years in the making, it contains almost every word in the English language from Old English to the present, allowing readers to explore words connected in meaning throughout the history of the language.

The Historical Thesaurus is divided into two volumes: a browsable main text thesaurus, and an index to find words that through the ages have been similar to it. It contains over 800,000 meanings organised into more than 236,000 semantic categories and subcategories in a descending hierarchy indicated by a numeric classification system.

The Irish European

Client: Reading Museum & University of Reading (2006)

Design work for this exhibition about the life and work of Irish playwright Samuel Beckett comprised an exhibition poster, events programme, and private view invitation cards, as well as gallery panels, wall lettering, and object labels.

A hierarchy of information caters for different audiences and provides multiple access points to the exhibition :

  • punchy introductory quotations to set the scene for Beckett’s life at the time
  • strong chronological headings to structure the space and guide visitors through the exhibition, followed by limited introductory text and illustrations
  • more extensive text panels which deliberately gave more in-depth information and allowed for more sustained reading
  • object labels with levels of information as appropriate to the objects.

I worked very closely with 3D designer Martin Andrews to ensure the text was integrated in a thearical and visually exciting way. This was particularly so with large panels with carefully selected quotations from Beckett’s plays which became an integral part of the stage reconstruction on a central scaffolding structure.