'Pea Soup Instructions'
Originally a school project, and recently turned into a poster, this is a totally non-verbal instruction manual for making pea soup! Inspired by product instructions and how-to diagrams, I worked in a ~45 degree perspective with detailed, yet clear and simple imagery. 3D stair-steps replace 2D instruction panels to move your attention through the process, with light use of icons and directional arrows to add just the right amount of action detail. To balance the intricacy in the panels, I chose a black background with large sans-serif font introducing the objective of the poster, with a nod to the industrial type styles common in how-to manuals. The original project was a hardcore introduction to vector illustration and communication without words for us students of design, and converted into a poster became something that I just found pleasing for it's clinical industrial aesthetic. Revising can be very surprising sometimes.
A poster for the 2006 film adaptation of the musical 'Dreamgirls' which is a fun, dramatic and vibrant film with a very clearly chosen color palette of yellows, oranges, reds and blues. I was happily overwhelmed by the level of artistry of sets, costumes, and even hair in the film, but what were the underlying themes? I realized the glory of being on-stage in the spotlight was the central joy and drama of the film. Since the lead singer role in the group was a primary focal point, I represented that with a centralized microphone. The 3 backup singers are represented by spotlights behind the microphone. Offering contrasting thrust to the downward-facing spotlights, I represented the musicality pouring out of the group as upward-facing radial beams, with a mirror ball further conveying the glitz and glory of being in the spotlight and increasing movement for the eyes. A flat black bottom 1/4 is purely informational and easy to parse, providing rest for the viewers attention.
A real Craigslist ad for a "vibrating fat-shaker" was assigned and I had to create a poster to visualize it. This was done two weeks in a row, producing 2 posters in vastly different styles, the 1st variation shown way down on this page. This variation became my favorite of the two, because the character made me smile, shaking and jiggling himself into an exercise hysteria. Starting with a simple circle to represent the "victim" of this strange weight-loss device, I imagined the vibrations becoming so strong that his body began to separate like the ground during an earthquake, and I used different vibrant colors to accentuate this movement for the eye. The arms wriggle and point up and off the page to offer even more energetic dynamism. I experimented with the sparse sans-serif type of a postage stamp to see how it would work on a poster, and found the simplicity worked surprisingly well.
'5 Essential Espresso Drinks'
A poster series was needed to illustrate the 5 essential espresso drinks, and also required an intro cover poster. We were studying the ITS (International Typographic Style) Swiss poster movement of the 1950s and 60s, and this was an exercise to utilize that style in our own way. This style uses bold imagery (often photography), both very large and very small sans-serif font (classically Helvetica), and the use of a geometric grid for layout of elements (grid layout is up to the designer). Many designers find the Swiss poster to be the classic example of minimal yet powerful communication. I personally love the style. After iterating on many concepts, I chose an infographic style construction of the drinks, with angular stylized steam. Instead of Helvetica, I prefer the Acumin family of fonts. Once the layout of the cover poster was flushed out, the following posters came together very quickly. I wanted to allow the bold infographic nature of the imagery and typography to carry the message, with a background color inspired by the golden yellow of espresso crema.
Back in my home town in Illinois, a poster was needed to advertise a hand-bell choir (example) to attract new members. Members normally work with 2-4 bells each and participate with 8-20 other people to play gorgeous resonant music in front of the church congregation. I wanted to keep it very simple, iconic and vibrant to draw peoples' eye from everything else around it. Deciding upon the simple tagline "music inspires!" and pursuing a theme of bell resonance, I experimented until settling on a series of expanding spheres of color to illustrate sound waves emanating from the silhouette of a hand-bell. Inspiration drawn from old movie posters and musical albums from the 50s and 60s, I kept a good amount of off-white space to offset the vibrant imagery, and used an energetic sans-serif type combination aligned to a fairly balanced grid. A subtle weathered paper texture rounds out the vintage feel.
'Love is a Flame'
This was a personal project to illustrate a quote by the spiritual teacher Adyashanti, and was created for my mother. "Love is a flame that burns everything other than itself." I chose a flat, geometric, cut-paper style to illustrate a burning fire, and kept the eye centralized on that, with the smoke leading the eye upward towards the typographic quote, which colors I chose to command less attention than the imagery. To keep with the geometric theme in the flames, the word LOVE was crafted from triangle, circle, and square. The blue starry night sky serves as a passive backdrop that lovingly contains the warm visual content.
Rocket League is a popular video game from 2015 with an addictive combination of boost-powered flying cars in a speedy soccer format. The car you choose to drive is highly customizable down to the paint, boost, antenna, and even silly toppers like a top hat. The combinations can be highly refined to highly egregious. Veterans of the game tend to opt toward streamlined minimal car designs however, so I used that veteran sensibility of minimalism in creating this fan poster. The bold logotype was kept as the only words on the page, accompanied by one of the beloved cars of the game "Dominus" drifting into the frame with style. The lack of ornamentation keeps the cars simple form sacred, with the shadow and tire marks adding interest through implied depth and dynamic movement. At the heart of the game, it's just you and your car, and this poster focused on that simple relationship.
We all received a randomized band to create a poster for and was pleased to receive The Doors, an old favorite from my high school days, so I went into the project with quite a bit of knowledge of the band already. They're rooted in the poetic, mystical storytelling of Jim Morrison and the psychedelic colorful era of the 1960s, so I researched mystical symbology, 1960s poster aesthetics, and eastern imagery to draw from. "The Doors" refers to the Aldous Huxley book "The Doors of Perception," so I used that theme for symbolic imagery, iterating on door and window imagery in both minimal and stylized ways. The all-seeing eye and keys added onto the theme of unlocking inner potential through awareness, a warm color palette keeps with the 1960's tone, with black lettering echoing the deep mysterious spaces the doors reveal.
'Capitol Hill Block Party'
The Capitol Hill Block Party is a yearly summer festival that attracts a huge variety of large and small musical acts, and absolutely takes over the Capitol Hill neighborhood for the 3 day period. For this poster, I decided to personify Capitol Hill as a party monster with a big personality, enjoying the festival like any other ticket-holder. I decided to use hand-drawn type filling the monster character in a flowing manner to keep the band list segmented and contrasted for easy readability, with the festival name flowing from the monster's straw for additional dynamic energy. Trying various bold color themes, I concluded that the shapes and type were creating so much movement and the contrast was so good that color was just adding a bit too much chaos, so to keep that harmony of contrast and dynamism clear, I went monochromatic in the end.
Our team created "Wipe, Wash, Walk!" as a memorable slogan for a campaign to increase bathroom sanitation at the school, and were tasked individually to create a poster using that slogan in the Russian Constructivist style. I started with an old sink as the core simplified visual, chose several powerful geometric fonts to be extremely eye-catching, emphasizing the slogan, then placed additional communication copy scaled much smaller to communicate the finer details of the overall message. The tone was intentionally kept industrial and authoritative to reflect the Russian authority of the time, along with the red, white and black color palette. A texture that mimics a poster plastered to a wall was added to further the vintage affect.
B.R.M.C. (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) is a brooding, leather-clad American rock band with strong UK rock, psychedelic, beat poet, blues and biker gang influences. They're aesthetic is grungy, black, moody, and aged like an old vinyl sleeve or leather jacket, so in creating a fan poster for them I took all of that in mind. I started by creating a mysterious glyph that might be found on the cover of an old found leather journal and created a grid of type surrounding it to keep it prominent. Their recent album title 'Wrong Creatures' is spelled out clockwise linearly between the main typography as a subtle easter egg for those that study the details, and a heavily affected texture was used to mimic a bad photocopy to add a high-contrast grungy feel.
'Fat Shaker' redux
A real Craigslist ad for a "vibrating fat-shaker" was assigned and I had to create a poster to visualize it. This was done two weeks in a row, producing 2 posters in vastly different styles, the 2nd variation shown way above on this page. Taking type and color inspiration from vintage packaging from the era the "Fat-Shaker" exercise device came from, I used wording from the ad to pick and choose the language of the poster. Warm red and yellow tones pops forward in contrast to deep blue, with a prominent central "FAT" surrounded by supporting informational and descriptor words. A super scratchy texture was used to round out the feel of aged retro packaging and for additional visual interest.
'Not Afraid of Death'
Tasked with creating a typographic poster in 60 minutes that illustrated a quote, I chose a funny one from Woody Allen surrounding death. I decided to showcase the figure of Death as the dominant subject, utilize a Middle Ages illuminated manuscript illustration centrally, with a harmonious blend of old-style typography surrounding the figure to showcase the quote. To further pull the eye to the central figure, I used the letters in "death" as bright ornamentation, offering an exciting visual contrast to the monochromatic theme.
A poster in honor of the annual cherry blossom season in Washington and Japan, among other places. A striking image of a modern building at just the right angle evokes the steep-pitched style of a Japanese temple as a nod towards the Eastern cherry viewing traditions. Swirls of illustrated soft pink shapes lace the sky to replicate the color and movement of the falling blossoms, and a delicate earthy palette feels grounded and vintage, honoring the past in the present. Bold modern typefaces spell out "cherry blossom" in English and Japanese Hiragana.