Digital Development and Poster Evaluation

I decided to go for a more graphic approach for my poster designs, making use of silhouettes of iconic London architecture and strong value relationships. The introduction of colour later on using various colour schemes and harmonies adds an extra layer of depth and intrigue to the images.

After multiple development and ideation sketches in my sketchbook I moved into the digital medium to start creating the silhouettes for my posters. I gathered reference images that were front on for the most part to make the silhouette creation process easier.

I initially tried to create the silhouettes with a combination of basic shapes such as squares, triangles and rectangles but that proved to be difficult to manage in regards to layers and overlapping. I then tried to use the pen tool aided by rulers to trace the outlines of the buildings. Once the major silhouette had been created, I then worked on the inner complexity of some of the buildings. I manipulated various basic shapes to create the inner details and used circles to cut into the silhouettes themselves. The way I achieved this was via a technique we were taught earlier in the year where a shape on a layer above another shape is grouped with the lower one. You then navigate to the pathfinder tool and choose the Minus-Front option to cut into the lower shape on the layer stack.

This preparation allowed me to quickly ideate, thumbnail and create layouts and designs quickly and efficiently through the use of modular elements. My direction being graphic and bold for these poster designs, I decided to juxtapose the strong verticals and horizontals of the buildings with circular elements to create higher contrast, not only in value and colour but in shape as well.

Some of the silhouettes were scrapped early for being confusing or not working with my desired composition, two of these were the London Bridge and Cathedral/Abbey silhouettes.

Using the layer stack and overlapping, I situated the main circle behind the front silhouettes of the buildings to create depth and take advantage of relative colour, value and contrast. Having the front silhouette dark, the circle bright and the background a mid tone forces the viewer to look at the area where the silhouette and circle overlap, captivating the viewer. Once their attention has been held, they are free to look around the rest of the poster and are guided by the verticals and diagonals towards the heading ‘London Festival of Architecture’ and logo.

The logo itself is quite bright and saturated, this means that it easily distracts from the rest of the poster if proper value and colour harmony, as well as compositional layout, is not achieved. To help combat the effect this logo has, I used value, colour and composition to help minimise its distracting qualities. For the silhouette based graphical designs I experimented with placement and size, eventually settling on a small logo in one of the far corners and payed close attention to visual balance and weight so as not to tip the image to favour one side.

To help move the eyes of the viewer around and show them what I intend to show, I made use of various compositional rules such as the rule of thirds, leading/directional lines, implied lines, the golden spiral, and value, colour and shape contrast.

As I progressed, I tried out different combinations of silhouettes and shapes to see if multiple silhouettes could work in the same composition together. Ultimately it proved to be confusing, too busy and would require a large amount of value separation to bring clarity to the image. I also experimented with the placement of the logo, attempting to place it into the negative space of the silhouettes and onto the silhouettes themselves. This proved to be visually uncomfortable and moved quickly away from this approach.

I used several architectural landmarks from London to form the basis of my designs and used abstracted silhouettes to communicate my message. The triangle, being the most abstract and least direct, represents the Shard while the others are more obvious in regards to their intended real life counterparts. For the Shard posters I directed the viewer’s gaze throughout the poster with the use of directional lines and pointing in regards to the way the triangles aim and guide the eye towards the intended focal point.

I experimented with the placement and value of the text quite a bit, trying to find a good hierarchy and balance without making the text disappear or overpower the image. For the most part the visual hierarchy was established through value and composition, as well as sizing and proportion. The silhouettes were used to capture the viewer’s attention with their high contrast and juxtaposition and they are then directed towards the text that makes use of bright white and dark black to show what is important and what is not immediately of importance to view. This is supplemented by the text size, with the large white text of ‘London Festival of Architecture’ overpowering the small ‘1st – 30th June 2017’ text below it. The viewer will also note the smaller logo in the corner but not linger long on it, it being away from the rest of the more interesting visual stimuli and being harsh on the eyes with its bright saturated colours. A way that I minimised the intensity of the logo was by making the background around it both light and similar in colour, as to distract from it by lowering the contrast.

Keeping the main visual elements and the value transitions on the rule of thirds help push forward the focal point and detract from the less important logo that lies in the corner of the image.

After I had developed the first two posters, the graphical ones, I moved on the digital development of the perspective poster.

Information regarding the specific development of that layout can be found here: https://kcimgdryannothard.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/digital-development-of-architecture-poster-design-perspective/

This one proved to be more challenging and time consuming, required the meticulous manipulation of angle, grids and line weight to ensure a pleasing and balanced composition using black, white and pink as the only colour information. The process was sped up however once I had discovered the Perspective Tool in Illustrator, only after I had manually set up the grids for the tower. However, I still kept some of these initial grids and perspective lines in, editing them throughout to help aid the layout. Once I had everything blocked in, it was only a matter of refinement and polish before the poster was ready to be printed along with the other two.

While the first two graphical posters aimed for a more stylised, graphical and atmospheric approach to help evoke a mood and sense of time, the perspective layout was more of a nod to architects with the exposed perspective grid lines and technical line work, supplemented by the bold line weight to help push that depth created by the perspective. All three posters are designed to communicate the ‘London Festival of Architecture’, but each one adds a bit more nuance in their own unique ways. The Shard inspired one evokes a sense of time and nostalgia with its cool background and retro burning sun, aided by the graphic triangles the viewer is guided throughout the layout as if on a journey towards the main text; London Festival of Architecture.

For the Strata (The Razor) Tower poster I was more concerned with creating the feeling of power and solidity that is oh-so-important in architectural design. The strong verticals anchor the design in place, with the spreading diagonals sending the eyes towards the high contrast circle behind the main silhouette. The arc and sharp points at the top of the silhouette send the eyes up and into the text above, once read the viewer most likely returns to the high contrast silhouette, or perhaps is sent down towards the logo and date in the bottom left and right corners. The gradient from dark to light, as well as bluish-purple to warmer and softer pinks and yellows gives a sense of mood, the curvature of the earth and the feeling of a cool misty morning warmed by the suns first rays of light before the rest of the day begins.

As mentioned earlier, the more perspective heavy poster was in the direction of creating a dynamic feeling of structure and purpose, aiming to communicate the regal nature, solidity and power of the Elizabeth Tower through the use of line and perspective. It stretches and towers above and past the viewer, appearing to go on further, if not forever. The only colour in the image is from the logo, which has been repeated in two ways; the repetition of the logo itself and the main colour of the logo being used in the title, ‘London Festival of Architecture’. This creates powerful focal points, with the only areas of colour being bold, saturated and mainly on the middle and right of the page, it balances out the visual weight of the tower on the left hand side of the layout.

In comparison to the researched poster designs I analysed earlier in this assignment, I believe that I achieved good quality work. I was definitely inspired by both the contemporary and modernist way of creating bold a graphical designs using a few colours and values, aided by the placement of text and the use of font. The modernist poster I analysed helped to inspire the perspective orientated layout I did, using the grid lines in a similar way to help direct the viewer towards the focal point. That same poster also served to help with the creation of the more graphical posters, especially because of the simple to complex nature in regards to the construction of the shapes used in the head of the main subject matter. I found the interplay between dark and light text and background quite interesting in both the modernist and contemporary posters, with the inspiration of the graphical shapes stemming from the contemporary posters I researched as well.

I found that while the modernist layouts aimed for a more graphical approach to communicate the message in the least complicated yet most elegant way, the contemporary ones attempted to emulate this while adding a busier, abstract and more visually complex series of design choices. The modernist’s seemed to value graphical simplicity and clear messages above the wow factor of complexity that the contemporary’s displayed.

My work, especially the graphical designs of The Shard and The Strata (The Razor) Tower posters, aimed to create a sense of simplified elegance similar to that of the bold, silhouetted designs that the modernist posters communicated.

 

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Digital Development of Architecture Poster Design (Perspective)

For this poster I decided to go with a two point perspective grid that was influenced by the rule of thirds. The main subject matter for this is going to be the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) and the London Festival of Architecture Logo being projected from it. I began with a rule of thirds grid I found online, established the two vanishing points and began constructing a cube. Once I was happy with the placement of this cube I began to experiment with the particular placement of the vanishing points and the angles of said cube:

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Further vanishing point experimentation, trying out different placement:

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Here I used rulers and guides to math the placement of the vertices of the cube. I made use of triangles to math the angles of the cube to help mirror it so as to lessen the distorting effects of the perspective. I also tried out a different placement of the vanishing points:

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More experimentation with the placement of the vanishing points as well as exploring the rest of the tower and how the angles and placement of the details later on will work:

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Further exploration, trying to find the most visually pleasing placement of the vanishing points and angles with the aid of guides/rulers:

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I settled on the green version of the vanishing points and began to construct the rest of the tower. I used an X on the two faces of the cube that we can see to find the centre points, this will help with the placement of the ellipses/circles later on:

 

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Placing the circles/ellipses in perspective proved to  be difficult. I experimented with various tools, such as the shear tool, distort tool and free transform etc. I did some searching through the tools and options in illustrator and found the perspective tool. After some research I began to set it up and put the ellipses/circles in perspective onto the cube (Explanation of this process and the tool further along).:

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After I set up the ellipses I moved onto the logo projection and the mapping of the details for the rest of the tower. For the logo I created lines emanating from the centre of one of the ellipses and cube faces. I then put the logo into perspective using the perspective tool, of which is rather tricky to use and manipulate shapes with. I had to convert the logo (which was an image) to a vector using Control Panel -> Image Trace -> High Fidelity Photo, this allowed me to manipulate the logo as if it were a complicated vector shape:

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Here I removed/hid a lot of the clutter and began to create the clean lines for the tower, paying attention to line weight to help create more depth. I made the lines closer to the viewer thicker, as well as important borders. I made the lines further away, as well as the finer details, smaller to push them further back into space:

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Here is where I began to organise where the details will go on the rest of the tower with the help of the perspective grid:

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Fitting the text onto the tower was quite difficult to do when it was in a text format, even if I typed the text onto the line itself. Doing it that way did not help fit it into the same perspective as the rest of the image. I instead had to use Type -> Create Outlines to convert the text into vector shapes. This allowed me to use the perspective tool to conform it into the right perspective. This required a large amount of re-corrections and accuracy and was quite time consuming. I also typed London Festival of Architecture onto the projection lines for the logo, however this seemed quite unprofessional and lacklustre so I later on I decided to go with the text on the top right with the smaller logo on the bottom right to help balance out the left hand side heavy composition. I have also increased the line weight of the ellipses, giving them more visual weight and importance:

 

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Here I cleaned up the lines a bit more and added detail to the tower with the help of rulers/guides:

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The placement of the text on the top right and smaller logo on the bottom as I mentioned earlier is shown here, as well as experimentation with the font. I also added more detail to the tower, which I may or may not keep as it creates an area of concentrated detail, detracting from the rest of the image:

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Here I edited the text using Window -> Type -> Character. I also changed the colour to match the logo. I decided to make the text stand out more using, as I mentioned, the colour of the logo as well as making parts of the text bold. I also increased the size of the text and faded out the projection lines, allowing it to stand out more:

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Perspective Grid Tool:

Shift + P brings up the perspective grid tool, this allows you to conform vectors into perspective. There are multiple handles on the grid that you can use to manipulate and move the grid itself with. In the menus there are options for 1, 2 and 3 point perspective, allowing a wide range of complicated scenes to be created:

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To be able to put the vector in perspective, we need to attach it to the active plane. The active plane is indicated by the highlighted face on the cube at the top left of the document:

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Once attached to the active plane you can then use the Perspective Selection Tool (Shift + V) to put the vector into perspective, manipulating it using the handles on the bounding box:

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Digital Development of Poster Designs and Layouts (Graphical)

Here are some images of the development and thumbnails for my graphical poster designs and layouts. More information about the process of creating these posters can be found in my evaluations.

Here I created modular silhouettes and shapes to help the experimentation and development process.

(reference images found online)

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I began creating various layouts using the shapes created previously, experimenting with the placement of the text and logo.

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Further experimentation.

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I decided to use the juxtaposition of circle and triangle to help create interesting and dynamic compositions. The triangle represents the Shard, while the circle represents either the sun or moon. I used the golden spiral to help establish a composition that worked, flowing from the bottom of the image, through or around the triangle and then landing on either the text or circle of which creates a focal point. This was further aided by the use of the rule of thirds, where I attempted to position the top of the triangle and/or the circle itself onto one of the main rule of thirds intersections.

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Here I experimented with a different building. I made use of the circles I cut into the silhouette to show the larger circle behind. The interplay of overlapping shapes allowed me to experiment with a more complicated value hierarchy than what I was working with previously. I attempted to establish visual weight using value, trying to find the hierarchy between the silhouette, text, logo and circle.

With the circle being surrounded by different values and areas at different points in the image, it allowed for an interesting effect with the use of relative values, something that we have been learning about in our Visual Studies class recently. Having a light value surrounded by a dark value causes it to appear lighter. Having the same value surrounded by a slightly less dark value causes the effect to be lessened, although it does still remain to a certain degree. The manipulation of this effect, which works either way with dark and light, allowed me to experiment with the value hierarchy in the image.

A major challenge was the logo, as well as the text, and their place within the image and layout. The logo itself is quite bright and saturated, this draws the viewer’s attention away from the main subject matter and to the corner of the page. This is not desirable in regards to composition so I took several steps to lessen the negative affect it had on the image. I scaled down the logo and moved it to a corner further away from the main body of text. The logo with its bright saturated colour has a large amount of visual weight, to counterbalance this I placed the date on the bottom right.

With the logo being bright and surrounded by a light value, this downplayed the contrast causing it to be less of a focal point. I made the text on the bottom right dark, in combination with the light background this caused the contrast in this area to rise sharply, proving more visual weight on the right side of the image helping visual balance to be achieved.

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Here I moved onto colour comps, where I take some of the layouts and designs I am happy with and begin experimenting with colour schemes.

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More colour comps, this time with the Shard graphical designs and layouts.

I experimented with various colour schemes; complimentary and analogous etc. I attempted to downplay the logo by making the colour of the background near it the same colour, therefore turning into essentially just white text.

Further along during these colour development thumbnails I tried to push more of a mood with the colours of the background and sun/moon. The gradients in the sun pushed forward a setting sun/evening mood and atmosphere that is quite eye catching yet gentle on the eyes with the way its gradient fades into the background.

Green, being the complimentary colour to pink, allowed me to create an interesting interplay between the logo and the background.

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Screenshots of development:

The use of rulers and layers allowed me to create accurate silhouettes that could be used in a modular way to efficiently create multiple thumbnails.

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Digital Development of Elements for Poster Assignment

(reference images found online)

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The images of the rule of thirds and golden spiral were .png images that I found online. These composition grids helped to inform my layouts.

I initially used the pen tool with a series of rulers to help replicate the silhouettes that I desired for my posters. I experimented with the use of various individual shapes combined and grouped together for some of the more complicated silhouettes. In conjunction with cutting into the silhouette itself using other shapes, that method proved to be useful.

Using the Pathfinder tool’s Minus Front option allowed me to cut into the silhouettes with other shapes. The method is thus: Select both silhouette and shape above the silhouette (this shape being the one you want to cut with)-> group them together -> click Minus Front in the Pathfinder Tool menu. Creating the circular holes in the silhouettes enabled me to further develop my graphical approach to these designs.

I managed to created a series of modular shapes and silhouettes for later use in the development of my poster designs and layouts. I also included the required text, as well as the logo for the festival on this sheet. This helped enable efficient ideation and allowed me to create multiple designs rather quickly.