The assignment was to design a poster for a music event.
Keywords from the brief:
- A3 size
- Provide your working drawings – the thumbnails and visuals
- Include the title of the event, the date, time, place and any other information
- Start by brainstorming and create a moodboard
- Range of alternative thumbnails
- Consider viewpoints
- Create two line visuals
- Create a colour visual
- Use your mood board to help you to establish a colour range
- Produce your final artwork
I used the brief as an opportunity to go through the design process with a real ‘client’ in order learn lessons and produce output with a more specific brief and real audience.
Through a personal acquaintance, I contacted and subsequently worked with Kymara Jap Ngie, a young Dutch singer currently in music college who is just starting out in her career.
I used our first meeting to establish more about who she is, the type of music she sings, her influences, likes, dislikes and any specific requirements.
Here is a summary of information from that meeting that I used to extend the brief.
- Q: What kind of music do you perform? Can you place it in a specific genre?
- A: It’s difficult to say because I love lots of different genres. But I think blues, jazz and soul suits me the most.
- Q: Are you a solo artist or in a band? Do you write your own material? Do you play any instruments – if yes what?
- A: I moved to England to work on my own songs/ideas. A couple of months ago I started writing and next week I have my first song writing session with a guitarist… So, I’m an artist in the making, my goal is to find a band and travel the world.
- Q: Why do you do what you do?
- A: Because I know that I can give something, a story, a feeling… music!
- Q: What/who do you listen to for inspiration?
- A: Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, D’Angelo, Louis Armstrong, Marvin Gaye, Alabama Shakes, Melody Gardot, Lizz Wright, Al Green… I could go on for days…. For me they all have something pure and real… That’s what I love.
- Q: Can you give me examples (or links to examples) of your work/of you performing?
- This is a song I sang last year. It’s not a original (it’s from one of my favourite artists: Jeff Buckley) but I gave it my own twist: https://m.soundcloud.com/kymarajapngie/mama-youve-been-on-my-mind-good-one. Also I idolize you (on my SoundCloud page) is a good example.
- Q: Do you know how you’d like you/your music should be portrayed? Do you have a specific image in mind?
- A: Not a specific image, but I like colours and making a statement. I don’t mind if it’s a bit different… haha that’s not very clear. I think we have to talk about this one.
- Q: How do you want your audience to see you?
- A: I went to lots of concerts with my mom so I know how it feels to be the audience. What I love the most is when a performer is enjoying his/her moment on stage and experiments with that moment.
I also asked for examples of examples of other artist’s publicity material that she admired.
As well as the poster, she had two additional requirements:
- An illustration for a Facebook profile picture and cover photo
- An illustration for a SoundCloud profile picture and profile banner
I used the information gathered from our initial conversation to brainstorm ideas and create several moodboards.
One of the things that struck about what Kymara told me was that she characterised the music she listened to and performed as being ‘pure and real’. This was one key starting point for my research and thinking.
Given the stage of her career, the most important thing a poster or social media banners would need to communicate was simply who she is and the kind of music she performs. The illustration(s) should also be eye catching and distinctive to attract attention and interest.
Kymara also had some ideas that she wanted me to incorporate into the Facebook and SoundCloud banners.
Thumbnails and sketches
I explored several different approaches.
I developed these two approaches in colour.
I worked out a basic colour layout that included the key visual components in the poster.
I then applied this to the Facebook layouts.
The final outputs were:
- A3 poster – Packaged as a Photoshop PSD, 300dpi with CMYK colour ready for printing
- Various sized banners output as JPEGs, 72dpi, RGB colour ready for upload
The visuals were created in Illustrator and the layouts were done in Photoshop.
What I learned from the exercise
What went well
- Working with a ‘client’ brought the whole assignment to life. I had to think carefully about how to explain the process, what inputs I needed, how much to show and at what point.
- Following the process, particularly the ideas development, challenged me consider different approaches and finally settle on a more rounded and interesting solution.
- Designing for print and online formats needed careful thinking. The visual components needed to be flexible enough to work in different formats/contexts.
- I liked that the process forced me to make most of the layout decisions in advance of creating the artwork. It meant that the process of making the artwork was clear, focused and quick.
What I could have done differently/better
- I didn’t have the time to gather much source material and had to rely heavily on existing photographs. I guess in the real world this could also be a constraint.
- I had intended to create a soft pastels version of the portrait but ran out of time. I’ll probably explore this medium in subsequent exercises.