Our friends at Bay-area consultancy Celery Design Collaborative tossed us this one. They were a bit short-staffed, so rang us up for creative assist on the semiannual environmental, health and safety report for their client, semiconductor behemoth Applied Materials.

For a project with such narrow scope (client management was handled by Celery partner Rod Deweese, turnaround was quick-quick-quick, and Applied has a strong house style which had to be observed carefully), we managed to have a pretty good time, and ended up with a strong, clear piece of typography, loaded with carefully-presented numbers.

Cover.

Turnaround was tight, as we mentioned. No time or, for that matter, budget for new photography. We probably could have rolled some stock, but when you come right down to it, what the hell does a dude wearing a suit standing in an open green field have to do with any manufacturer? What we did have was some strong words from Applied’s CEO, which we hammered into the book’s centerpiece, and excerpted for the cover.

Numbers.

Much of the report was made of numbers, tied into Applied’s four main manufacturing locations. This is a good time to talk a bit about color: this spread seems festive enough, but the color is used (as it is in all of our work) to separate and define information groups first. The neutral ground allows easy reading on both black (for the running text) and white type (the reverses keep us from having to use too many different weights to establish hierarchy). On these pages, we defined a key color for each of these locations, which we deployed on subsequent pages in both tables and graphs. Colors are drawn entirely from Applied’s corporate standards, although they may have been used in ways not expressly intended by the standards’ creators.

More numbers.

Much of the report was made of numbers, tied into Applied’s four main manufacturing locations. This is a good time to talk a bit about color: this spread seems festive enough, but the color is used (as it is in all of our work) to separate and define information groups first. The neutral ground allows easy reading on both black (for the running text) and white type (the reverses keep us from having to use too many different weights to establish hierarchy. On these pages, we defined a key color for each of these locations, which we deployed on subsequent pages in both tables and graphs. Colors are drawn entirely from Applied’s corporate standards, although they may have been used in ways not expressly intended by the standards’ creators.

Narrative.

Pages showing typical narrative sections: on left, the tail of Applied’s position on climate change; at right, the opening of performance highlights. We used color to help control overall document flow as well. You’ll remember from previous pages that we set aggregated facts and figures on a sober, gray ground; we developed a color movement scheme for the book to help keep the pages fresh and reader moving in the absence of compelling photography or illustration.