Too Much or Not Enough Information

I have been asked to design two posters to promote a local event. The first poster should include as much description and details as possible and the second should apply the principle of Occam’s Razor to pare back the information to a bare minimum.

The event that I chose was my town’s Christmas Gala Night. A few years ago I did some work experience with a local graphic design company and I produced posters for two similar events.

From my experience I knew that the Gala Night would be a good example to experiment with Occam’s razor as there are a lot of details that could be included or discarded depending on the design choices.

I visited the local council website and gathered as much information about the Gala Night as I could. My list was quite long:

Date: 1st dec 2016

Location: Dorking Town Centre

Time: 6pm-8.30pm

Late Night Shopping event with a ‘traditional Christmas’ theme

Live Music

Dancing

Street Entertainers

Choirs

Christmas Stalls

Nativity Scene

Real Friendly Reindeer

Free car parks from 3pm

For my first poster I decided to try and include all the above information. I then thought about what information I could discard. I initially decided that on my second poster I could get away with only the title of the event, the date, and the time but on second thoughts felt that without the location and a bit about what the event was the poster might fail to be fit for purpose. In the end my list of essential information was:

Title, Date, Location, Time and one sentence promoting the event

Before doing some initial sketches of possible design ideas for my posters I had a look on the internet for examples of posters promoting local events and also images related to the theme of ‘traditional’ Christmas. I created a digital mood board for my project…. this was the first time I had used a mood board and I found it to be a really good tool for drawing together my thoughts, developing colour palettes and conveying the overall style I would be trying to create with my design.

traditional-christmas-mood-board

Taking all the information I had gathered from my research I did several very rough sketches of posters. I find that this really focusses my creative thinking and helps me to identify which layouts work and are worth trying in further detail.

poster-sketches

I chose to work with two very different designs and created the following as my initial two posters. My images were from freepik.com and shutterstock.

 

I made some notes on my own reflections of what I had created:

  • I wasn’t too happy with the title on poster 1… the bunting didn’t quite feel right and my eye was pulled too much between the flags and the baubles.
  • I couldn’t settle on a font for poster 1 and felt that the text on poster 2 was more readable.
  • I really liked the border on poster 2 but felt that the outline of the Christmas tree was a bit flat and made the title too small.
  • Poster 1 gives a much better idea of what to expect from the event which I think is important but the details could perhaps be condensed.
  • I preferred the overall feel of poster 1 but wasn’t happy with some of the individual components.

My friends also really liked the border on poster 2 but felt that they wouldn’t go to the event based on the poster alone as the information given was a bit ambiguous… one even said she would need to go home and google the event to find out if it was worth going. This was really useful as it indicated that the poster really wasn’t fit for purpose in its current form.

Everyone decided that it was a little difficult to read the white lettering on the gold baubles in poster 1 and readability of the fonts in general was identified as a problem. The feedback for the design of the title for poster 2 was positive.

My friends felt mixed about Poster 2 in terms of how effectively it conveyed the mood of the event. One friend said that the bold outline of the Christmas tree allowed you to easily identify the theme of the poster from a single glance or a distance. Another, however, felt that it was a bit more mysterious and had a distant air about it. The tone and colours of poster 1 gave a more cheerier and warm feeling…. this is probably what the organisers would want the mood of the event to be.

It was felt that poster 2 didn’t give enough information generally to easily identify if it was advertising a shopping event or a Christmas show.

The feedback was very useful. I hadn’t realised that the text on the baubles in poster 1 was so difficult to read and immediately wanted to change this. It was good to identify which elements worked from each design as I was then able to consider merging some of them into the final design. It was interesting to see what information/impression my friends were able to get from each poster…. because I knew all the information it made it more difficult for me to see how important what was missing from poster 2 was to making it successful.

For my final design I decided to work with the basic design of poster 1 but use the title from poster 2. I also pared back a little of the details about the event to create a happy medium between the amount of information on the two initial posters. I was happy with my final design.

gala-night-revised2

Shortly after I had finished this exercise I saw the actual poster for the event in a local magazine. I noticed that they had placed importance on social media information which I hadn’t considered at all but overall I thought that my final design contained a similar level of detail.

img058

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