This exercise required us to work in two different spaces to create an A3 Poster and double sided A6 flyer to promote a singing course run by a group called SingOut.
The point of the exercise is to work with a tight/limited budget – printing in black and white (no colour), and using a photocopier.
This required a design which grabbed attention and kept clarity after photocopying rather than distorting. The information for the poster and flyer was included in the brief.
In terms of design ideas, I had a couple of themes in mind when creating content. Given that my research for the overall project involved looking at Mid Century modern or retro posters I decided to create something with in a similar vein. I drew inspiration from some images I’d pinned on pinterest, particularly looking at illustrations to get an idea of styles to try and emulate when creating my own illustrations for the flyer and poster.
Here’s my reference or research images:
I knew I needed to think about the layout out of the information and the making the most important parts clear. I drew some rough sketches in my sketchbook for ideas:
In the image above you can just make out an illustration of singers which I tried to do in a similar style to Mid-Century modern drawings of people. I wanted to use this in a design so started by cleaning it up in Photoshop:
I then began to change that into more block areas of black and white shapes in illustrator and sought to build the rest of the poster and flyer around it.
In some Mid-Century Modern invitations or posters there seems to be a heavy use of shapes as frames for content. I liked the idea of have boxed area’s for text, but also to try and lead the eye across the page left to right, top to bottom. I also wanted to use the contrast of some boxes being lined with a stroke and clear for text to sit in and others being black with text sitting on top of in a transparent manner so that the colour of the paper shines through those areas.
In my first version of the poster (see image above), I tried to tie together retro feeling images and text boxes with a slab serif for high impact/visibility from a distance. I felt like it didn’t really work well, confusing the theme or style of the poster. But I did like the general idea of the slightly angled boxes for content. So I looked for more retro/mid century style fonts to use from a site called FontSquirrel (see link below):
I then incorporated these new fonts into the design:
I played around with where I wanted area of contrast to be, having the big boxes blacked out and the white space behind/around it as the contrast. But I felt like having the smaller text in those big black boxes would get confusing for the eye, and draw the eye to the detail rather than the bigger headline info.
So I made those large boxes clear with an outline and kept only the date and the title of the company clear. I wanted the company name to be quite prominent, as I think it’s important, for people to get an strong visual in mind with a name (for remembering). I used a serif font (Bodoni MT) for the smaller/body text as I felt like it contrasted the headline font enough to be interesting but kept a sense of retro/professional feel.
I was unsure about how clear the headline was in v.2b so I decided to highlight it with a big black box, and move the company title to the bottom right hand corner of the page. I think the company name is still visible there but the change allows the headline to draw people in.
I only worked on one version of the front and back of the flyer for the sake of time. So I’m aware this is an area I could revisit and allow to evolve through trying different designs. I tried to link it visually with the poster by keeping the same fonts for the title and main text. I also used the same box shapes and the choir illustration. I think it effectively ties the two together without having the exact same layout.
If I’m perfectly honest I prefer the back of the flyer to the front. It just looks cleaner and less cluttered. The white spaces works well and nothing feels out of place or overwhelmed. Perhaps the front of the flyer has too much black?
A big part of this exercise involved suitability for printing so I spent a bit of time trying to print the Poster and flyer on different coloured papers and photocopied to see the effect.
I started with what I had available (which was sadly bright orange paper) and scaled the A3 poster down to A4 to let me print from home:
I wanted to print the different version of the poster design to see if they appeared any different once printed to on a screen. I think it did change my perception of the second version as it looks more balanced printed than the third poster which seems quite title focus heavy. I intend to print the poster in A3 format too but that will happen a little later.
I had a little bit of a struggle getting my printing to let me create a custom printing setting for the A6 flyer. I also had to cut the paper to size by hand, in theory this is cheaper than finding and payer for paper already cut to size. But it is time consuming.
I went and bought some fairly cheap thin (80gsm) coloured paper from a store. I chose cheap paper to fit with keeping costs low as prescribed by the task. I tried to use colours which fitted with the retro theme, so moved away from the bright orange or bright green or red. I used bright pink, bright yellow, pastel blue & pastel green.
It’s worth noting that the thin/cheap paper does mean that you can see a fair amount of the back of the flyer through the front of the flyer and visa versa. It’s a little worse with the bright coloured paper as a opposed to the pastel coloured paper (see examples below):
I tried to use my printer which has a copying capacity to photocopy one of the flyers, onto a bright green paper. I found I couldn’t custom size the copying area so the print out was misaligned with the paper but you can make out the general quality. It does decrease slightly in visibility, but I think still retains a good level of visibility.
I think (to wrap this up), the colours for the flyers work well in keeping with that retro feel and would add interest to the printing of multiple copies. I also think the poster and flyer work well as a team, it’s clear they’re of the same origin. I do think however the design is perhaps a little simplistic and not exactly spectacular.
Last thing to mention is some more sohpisticated/advanced examples of working in black and white on coloured paper. I found these examples in the book “Great Graphic Design on a Budget, by Scott Witham, HowBooks.”