Baby's room is meaningless without (animal) pictures.
February 10, 2009 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Mrs. Frogs wants to decorate the baby room. We've come up with an idea using National Geographic covers as a starting point. Specifically, covers featuring animals. I'm looking for a little help and some suggestions.

Despite our plan not to run with any kind of a theme, the kid's room is decked with critters. (Blame me I guess, I was a zoology major.) My wife (former art major) wants to use some of her hand-made paper to create animal shapes as decorations. My idea was to use National Geographic as a jumping-off point, re-creating covers that have animals on them.

We have six yellow 8.5" x 11" picture frames. What I want to do is to print the National Geographic typeface on plain paper, and put the handmade cutouts on top. Even better, I'd love to include the date and issue info for the covers we are re-creating. (Mrs. Frogs works in a library, so the bibliographic info makes her smile.)

So, a little help: Where can I get a template to create the covers, short of scanning a magazine into Illustrator and doing it by hand? I'm not trying to infringe on a copyright here, I'm doing this for our own private use.

And, some suggestions: Any ideas for specific covers? We're looking for single animals, mostly, and I'm kind of biased towards mammals. If you can save me several hours of digging through library archives I'd appreciate it.
posted by caution live frogs to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You must use the image of Koko the gorilla and her pet kitten. Supposedly one of the most popular covers ever.
posted by Ostara at 2:29 PM on February 10, 2009

Best answer: FWIW, Yahoo Answers discusses the font for the magazine's title: "They have a custom designed font called NatGeo SemiBold which they use for the logo and also inside the magazine. Although the custom font is not available to download it is based on a more common font: Stone Sans SemiBold. See" suggests Times New Roman Condensed.

You can look through NG covers here (I picked a random page; scout around).

Got kittens?
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:58 PM on February 10, 2009

Best answer: I'd say that scanning and vectoring is your best bet, (but then again I'm a graphic designer.) Times New Roman Condensed is the typeface of "National Geographic" and their cut lines seem to vary issue to issue.

However, instead of printing the masthead on plain paper, and sticking the cutouts on top of that, I'd think about painting the glass, with the cutouts underneath. National Geographic does white text on top of their dramatic images. As you can't print white, you're not going to get the same effect with your printer. Hand painted lettering has a special place in my heart, but if you wanted a more precise rendering there are a few options I can think of

-Letraset rub on letters, or it maybe easier to find a scrapbooking equivalent.

-You could make a stencil out of contact paper, printed outlines, an exacto, and patience. Then paint thin even white acrylic, spray some glass spray paint, or frost with an etching cream.

-Also an option, though I don't know how much it would cost, would be to get custom vinyl cutouts made. A good sign shop should be able to do it. I've gotten a few vinyl stickers printed for very reasonable prices, like $10 for a 6 inch circle, (but that included a full color print and you just want the vinyl.) Most print shop guys are friendly, assuming you never never never go to a kinkos/fedex.
posted by fontophilic at 3:13 PM on February 10, 2009

Just to play around, you could play with this Magazine Cover Maker at

I like this Cheetah cover .

You could also do a nice black mat around the cover to make it stand out and look more "arty."
posted by CoralAmber at 5:29 PM on February 10, 2009

Maybe do some Moms and their babies.
posted by JujuB at 8:06 PM on February 10, 2009

Response by poster: Times Condensed (with some futzing over character spacing, kerning, and the like) looks to be as close as I'm going to get short of having a Nat Geo staffer email me a cover layout on the fly. Thanks all, and thanks for the animal photo suggestions - I had planned on only using cover photos but I think the moms + babies might be a winner. Hooray!
posted by caution live frogs at 8:05 PM on February 11, 2009

Response by poster: In case anyone is still reading, here's how it turned out: We're pretty pleased! In the end I went with a simple design - one critter per sheet - to cut down on the complexity and keep it relatively easy to make. (First of 6 images starts with that link, keep going forward for the other critters)
posted by caution live frogs at 1:31 PM on February 17, 2009

Sweet! Love the hippo.
posted by fontophilic at 9:11 PM on March 5, 2009

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