Assignment 3

(Part 3/Working it out/Assignment 3/Design a poster)

Design a Poster



Before I started, I had a good look around at a variety of posters and adverts for possible inspiration or general ideas.

Sometimes the information on a poster does not make it clear what is really happening or there is an assumption that the viewer recognises the conventions of ‘reading’ an illustrated piece of information.

The above adverts/posters would not be clear to anyone not recognising the style in which they are presented. The ‘Phantom’ and ‘ET’ ones have to be read at very close quarters to glean that these are films. I assume they are designed purely for use in or on the cinema building. The Cunard one presupposes that the viewer is familiar with the company and their business or it could be for the sale of a ship!

The 3 below are a little clearer as advertisements although a second look is required for all three to be clear.



Looking carefully for the ‘what where and when’ of posters in general I came up with the ones above and to the sides.

These are all referencing an event, therefore details should be evident. The top three and left all refer to non-specific time in the sense of hours but are referring to ‘ now is the moment’.

The other three posters which use drawings rather than photos, give all the information.

Right centre, the poster shows the ‘where’ in its image with the ‘what’ and ‘when’ in the text.

The image in the lower left shows the ‘what’ (flowers) while the ‘when’ and ‘where’ are delivered in the text.

Lower right shows ‘what’ in the image and gives almost as much space to the ‘where’ and ‘when’ although there are no specific times added.




Assignment Three

A Poster

The brief was very brief – design an A3 poster. From the alternative events, I chose An Evening of Jazz.

I design quite a lot of posters. As noted earlier, I consider the three important questions are:

What? Where? and When? If I miss any of these out phone calls come in quickly.

Each one of these or any combination of the three can feature as the main  focus of the image. If it is an event advertising a famous person/band/group then they would normally be the main focus.
If it is an event at a particularly interesting/famous/prestigious place then the place can take the foreground (eg Glastonbury), Buckingham Palace Gardens etc.
If the ‘When’ is significant then that may be the focus, for example, Christmas Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, Graduation Day.

Before doing and sketches I have several days during which thinking is more important than drawing. During the time I decide where I will put the focus. In this instance I was free to invent a place and time for the event. I decided to date it in December so maybe a wintry theme could evolve. I then decided that I would use a local venue in Settle. Using these same parameters for all my  ideas would help to take a proper focus on the subject. It also meant that ideas
could be further developed along a particular theme. This slightly altered the brief but that is how it is in reality.

What? – An evening of Jazz
Where – At the Victoria Hall in Settle in the Yorkshire Dales
When – During winter on 05 December

I did a spider diagram with Jazz Evening at it centre (left).

This helped to highlight my thoughts about the subject. It also gave me some ideas about how to approach a mood board.

The moodboard was important to me as it illuminated what colours I see when I think of Jazz. I remember one of my first CD’s was Jazz around Midnight and that is where it has stayed in my head – a late night occupation. It was not a surprise then that black and white and dark blue dominated my colour theme. In addition I felt gold was very important to me as brass instruments usually shine out from any kind of jazz band.

For What? I have the sheet music – ragtime, modern jazz and traditional jazz.
There is also the gold card.
For Where? I have pictures of the Dales and
For When?, I have both the time of year – winter, with snow, and also night time with lights and the moon.

Black and White were also influential in this mixture. I added a black and white image when I remembered a previous exercise to create a minimal picture using monochrome which I liked.

At this point I felt some ideas were beginning to form.


I felt flowing and interlocking lines remind me of jazz – like making a plait with sound and instruments.
I started with the shape of a saxophone and then almost immediately decided that is such a cliché I should think of another approach.

The Dales scenery is known for flowing interlocking shapes so that seemed like a good place to start.

I thought of hills with black walls and wondered if I could turn the walls into strips of music.

Then I looked at the moodboard and remembered the black and white approach. A black sky with snow and black Dales stone walls would look good.


Below are various experimental thumbnails.
I have stuck with the portrait format. Apart from the fact that it is fairly traditional for posters, there are places in and around Settle and neighbouring villages where posters can be displayed. It is generally expected that these will be in the portrait format, so, best to stick to local tradition in this instance.

I have aired various ideas here with the sweeping lines of the Dales making the sort of interwoven strands that I associate with jazz music. I did like the idea on the left hand set bottom right which was a night sky with stars and musical notes flowing in it with a moon. I did explore that one a bit further with a line visual and a quick colour version. It’s very basic but it does have the dark blue and gold colours with flowing lines suggesting movement and vitality.

I rejected that idea and went back to the Dales (where?) as the subject rather than the jazz (what).

I did these line visuals, first in pencil and then in ink.

I was pleased with the flow and intertwining of lines as in the jazz music.
I gave the band a title, ‘Here and There’, and invented a ‘quote’ for the poster.

Having thought black and white would be good for the subject I filled in the spaces digitally. I checked out the fonts used in the thirties and found they were generally very simple apart from the ‘cinema’ fonts.

Here (left) is the background picture filled in with black and white.

I think there is a good balance of shape and colour with minimal but sufficient detail to show the location and the nature of the road, walls, hills etc. The monochrome effect does make it look very crisp and overall quite pleasing. The sweep of the road from the bottom left to the top of the bottom third creates movement and contrast with the centrally placed rigid mountain in the background.

The wall tops give just a hint of texture and form to the walls. However, it occurred to me that it would be fun to add further texture to the walls by overprinting some music in white to emphasise the nature of the advertised event.

To do this, I photocopied a sheet of jazz music (a Scott Joplin rag) then digitally cut it up and bent it into the wall. It looks like snow at first glance.

Finally, I added the text for which the large sky was provided.

To maintain the feeling of curves and flowing lines I created arcs of lettering with the necessary information included. I tried a plain font but in the end went with the thirties cinema look. The printing is mainly white and I have preserved the off white shade on the hills to give an impression of snow. I have considered replacing the black with dark blue but not pursued it further.

Jazz has many connotations, it can be the wild, free-flowing, colourful swirling images of trad jazz, New Orleans , it can be the quiet sophistication of the Modern Jazz Quartet or or the sinewy, elegant , melee as portrayed in the Parisian cafe night-life of the inter-war years.

Having just watched a tv series about Paris when The Nazi’s were taking over, I was very interested in the style of the times, the dresses, the décor, the music, the musicians. The salons and cafes where the jazz was played in those days were sumptuous with gilding on the walls and décor. Colours were rich and deep.
I referenced my moodboard again and concentrated in the gold card, originally representing the brass instruments.
I decided to create an alternative poster for a charity event on the same date and at the same venue. This time the tickets would be much more expensive and be aimed at the different clientele.
I wanted a feeling of elegance but was also keen to incorporate the interweaving idea I had in the first place. I started by thinking I could ‘weave’ some music (literally) for the background.
I returned to my strip of sheet music used on the black wall. I made five more of them and wove them together.

This made an interesting feature especially with the new blue background. However, I really wanted gold to be in it so tried a further variety of alterations. Here is one of the gold versions with a more solid look to it – I was thinking gold bars (wealth and priviledge) at the time.

This still wasn’t inspiring me although I still liked the idea of ‘weaving’ the music.

So. I tried a different approach. I unfastened my woven mat and joined all the strips of music together and made enough to stick another set along the back so I had a 2 sided long ribbon.

Then I set about folding curving, winding curling to see what happened.  Suddenly I had the idea of creating a G clef with the music itself, that sort of ticked all the boxes.

This is what I came up with. I am particularly pleased with the reflection in the gold card. It was very difficult to take the photo with light reflections from various unwanted sources. However, I managed to manoeuvre it round so the camera was not reflected in the card neither were the lights or windows!

This then was the background for my ‘improved’ poster.

I chose a very simple font to look like part of the metal and set about deciding on the placing of the text. There were a dozen different options of which the one right was the first.

I gradually altered it until the final version was satisfactory.

I didn’t want a lot of text to hide my background but obviously the required information has to be included and a balanced design created at the same time. It is included below. It would be borderless in reality but I have left a border as it appears in this booklet.

In the end, because I had to slightly adjust the size to fit A3, I decided on a 3D ‘gold bar’ to run up the side of the poster with the essential details.  Remembering the posters I looked at before I started, the ‘what’ and ‘where’ often have priority over the ‘when’.

I am pleased with the finished work. I feel I have answered the brief giving the details of the event and creating an interesting and eye-catching poster which reflects the nature of the event I have visualised and breathing life into it. I  know a G Clef could be representative of any kind of music so I have placed an exclamation mark after the word Jazz. This is very important as it highlights the word and makes a kind of joyful shout drawing the viewers eye to the specific of the genre and the fact that it is being presented in a formal (black tie), gilded, exclusive, venue reminiscent of those pre-war Paris clubs full of affluent people. It has also become a charity event which felt appropriate.

It is, in fact, very simple as a visual but went through quite a lengthy process of development. I appreciate it is not a ‘drawn’ background but there was plenty of manual activity went into it.


My review of Assignment 3


Posters are to disseminate information. Usually, they say pr show, what , where and when. More or less weight to each of these concepts can be given in the poster as long as all are included.

This assignment gave me lots of opportunity for use of imagination and creativity. I tried to approach it from a multimedia direction which is what I normally use. I have demonstrated sketching, and drawing skills as well as technical use of computing skills to enhance and/or alter the work in progress. I have found it very rewarding to able able to swap and change from drawing to real cutting and sticking and using the computer all in the same piece of work. This combining of techniques is proving very useful.

Research and ideas development

I spent some time looking at posters and adverts before I started. I have recently entered several photographic competitions and there the current trend is simplicity, complicated presentations are of no interest, people want simple visuals. Getting a message out can be difficult to do in a minimalist way but this is what I have tried to do in this assignment.
There was welcome freedom to set the context of the required poster so I created a situation which I could work within – time and place – then used these to inform the design.

Visual and technical skills

There was ample opportunity to be able to demonstrate my visual and technical skills all the way through this assignment. Creating a poster requires the same artistic skills as producing a painting or drawing. I demonstrated use of hand-drawn thumbnails with the black and white poster. However, as I was producing the gold poster digitally, rather than drawn thumbnails I have presented 5 digital versions of how my poster might appear depending on the composition and particularly the setting of the text. This was much simpler than experimenting with hand drawn graphics. There needs to be balance, movement, careful composition etc and, in addition, choice and execution of text/lettering/fonts. There must also be a clear message, a poster needs to inform as well as please its viewer.


I ended up doing two finished posters for this assignment because I had an evolving idea which was screaming to be further developed into the second. Had I not completed the first poster with the music set into the wall, I would not have had the inspiration to develop the gold poster. So, although the end work was not planned from the outset, it grew from the poster which was. This is why it has been necessary for me to include the whole ‘journey’ in my assignment.


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