Before starting to sketch and visualise a few ideas my next task was to think about some of the design principles and considerations for producing printed promotional materials.
Publicity posters need to deliver information quickly and from a distance and need to be clear and easy to understand. It is important to make decisions about what information to include before starting the design as this will affect the layout options. Leaflets will provide more information than a poster but both should take into account the target audience for design choices such as colour, images and font.
The title of the event will often be the main focus of a publicity poster and should be highly legible. It should be placed in the biggest font and be at least 3 times bigger than other text. It is important to remember that people might be moving when they see the poster or be at quite a distance from it.
Posters should stand out and be eye-catching. It is often good practice to pick one idea and execute it with a minimal number of design elements so that there is not too much competing visually in the composition. One high quality and relevant image or illustration is often more effective than several different ones. In an similar way using a maximum of only three different fonts helps to balance the overall design. The fonts and colour scheme should reflect the theme and mood of the event.
The majority of my designs will be in print rather than online and I need to remember some of the following key points for designing for print:
- Visualise where the poster will be displayed and how the surrounding environment could affect design choices such as colour, font, layout
- Use CMYK colour
- Choose fonts that are easy to read from a distance
- Make sure the resolution of the design and in particular any images are appropriate for the printing size
- Remember to set document bleed and consider margin size so that information and design elements do not end up too close to the edge of the printed design.
This article by Shaun Cleary offers clear guidelines for designing for print and offers useful knowledge about colour, margins, resolutions and the optimum document set up for adobe applications.
I also referred back to some of the work I had carried out earlier in the unit for the Poster and Flyer exercise. These notes from my blog are helpful for this assignment.
When designing for a publicity campaign that incorporates several sizes/configurations of printed material it is crucial to develop a strong and unified visual relationship between all the designs. There needs to be visual similarities across all formats but the design must be flexible in order to most effectively utilise the individual layouts.
Matching design elements throughout the designs can really serve to build cohesion. This can be effectively achieved using consistent colour palettes and typefaces. Developing a hierarchy for the information which is emphasised by colour and font can create a visual road map for the eye to follow and if used consistently across several designs will link them in the mind of the audience. A selection of specific images or a particular illustrative theme will link designs and such elements can be manipulated in their size, placement and emphasis depending on the layout.
Reading through my blog also reminded me that it could be useful to establish a hierarchy for the information that I want to include in my designs for the Abigail’s Party promotional materials. I did this next:
- Abigail’s Party (the name of the play)
- The name of the youth theatre club
- A tagline or short description of the play which attracts readers attention and entices them to attend
- Details of the play’s writer and director
- Date, Time and Location of the performances
- Information about how to book tickets
For the double sided flyer and newspaper article I would also include a short synopsis of the play and possibly more detailed cast information. The programme front cover would need to include the least amount of information.
I also made a mood board to reference for inspiration as I sketched some ideas.
I don’t usually find it too difficult to get started with coming up with some initial ideas for my designs. After I have researched a brief I then give myself a couple of days to just digest all of the different visual information and allow ideas to pop into my head organically as I am carrying on with other things. I realise that this luxury of time is not something that would be commonly available in the workplace but it is a process that generally kickstarts a lot of creativity for me. This project was a slightly different story. Even after a few days of contemplation I was still having trouble with inspiration for my designs. I think I was finding it difficult to communicate the more conceptual themes of the play such as the satire of middle class aspirations in a visual way. I was confident I could design something visually appealing with images of wine glasses and party themes but was concerned that it wouldn’t really give people an idea of what to expect from the play or entice them to buy a ticket. I worried a poster of this sort could easily be mistaken for a party night or 1970’s themed evening at a bar or social club. I started to try and think about ways I could incorporate the characters of the play into the poster design.
My first sketches were on pen and paper
In all of my sketches I was relying quite heavily on patterns and geometric shapes to give the designs the 1970’s feel that was requested in the brief. I was also planning to do this with the typography for the title. My first sketch was based on the idea of illustrating the characters of the play in a pyramid shape (reflecting Maslov’s hierarchy of social needs) with Beverly and Laurence on the top level and the other three on the bottom. This layout didn’t give me a lot of room for the title though which wasn’t ideal and I also wondered if the idea of a social hierarchy was too subtle and wouldn’t come across. I really liked my idea of the characters forming part of the letters of the title and would definitely like to use this concept in a design at some point but decided against it for this brief as I think the 1970’s typography is so iconic and the impact of it might be lost if I interfered with it. The explosion of coloured lines which would be the background of sketch four was intended to represent the volatile and explosive atmosphere that develops between the characters throughout the play. I think visually this design would have worked well but probably would have been most at risk of appearing like it was advertising a party event and not a theatre production. The idea I chose to take forward was based on a ladder which I was using to represent the themes of social aspirations and climbing – both up and over other people.
I took this basic concept and sketched two further layout ideas incorporating the ladder theme.