C Studio II | Informational Poster

Prompt

To design an informational poster for someone who knows nothing about my chosen design hero by crafting together text, images, and typography to best tell the story of my hero and their work. This poster is meant to delight and resonate the viewers.

Our poster must include the name, a portrait, images of our heroes work, informational text, a quotation by or about our hero, and a timeline.

First Researching My Design Heroes

Jenny Holzer

Holzer is a conceptual artist who focuses on spreading her thoughts and ideas through projected type on famous landmark buildings. I enjoyed her work because of how she incorporated type into buildings in a way that played with the duality between permanence and temporary objects. I also appreciated her strong messages she sent and how they could be seen from people both near and far.

Stefan Sagmeister

Known for his unorthodox and provocative designs, Sagmeister was listed as one of my design heroes because of the amount of risks he takes without care and with a lot of attitude. Famous for designs such as his 1999 AIGA poster where he carved the event poster lettering onto his body, Sagmeister has surely kept the design world on its toes.

Herb Lubalin

A typographer and logo designer, Lubalin had a way of inserting humor into his designs by taking them in a quite literal direction. For example, the “Mother & Child” logo displays the “& Child” portion inside the “O” of the word, “Mother”. Smart and playful elements such as these, no matter how small they are, were what drew my attention to Lubalin and is why he is one of my design heroes.

Choosing My Design Hero

Leta Sobierajski

Sobierajski’s work immediately drew my attention due to her strong use of bold colors and the contrast she utilized within each one of her design pieces. She is a multi-media designer, also specializing in graphic design. While only being in practice for 7 years, she has already made a huge impact in the design world, which is the reason I decided to choose her as my final design hero and study her work over this next semester.

Researching/Writing about Leta Sobierajski

Now that my design hero has been chosen, my next step was to start researching Sobierajski’s career path, notable works, design styles, and general life.

Initial Research Notes

I was to eventually compose a 1,250–1,500 word essay on Sobierajski, complete with quotations, footnotes, and citations.

Final Essay

Moodboard

Finding inspiration in the colors and designs of the world around me.

Kit of Parts

Experimenting with typefaces and colors that are inspired by Sobierajski, while also further exploring her design work.

Karla is a typeface that I have noticed Sobierajski frequently using in her projects, most prominently her website. Meant to clearly communicate her designs to the viewers, Karla seemed appropriate for my project whose main purpose is to be readable.

Merriweather is a serif typeface that compliments Karla perfectly. It was created in 2010, which means it is still new, much like Sobierajski is in the design field.

10 Sketches

Starting to consider the informational poster, we created 10 sketches on 11x17 paper in order to quickly come up with different ideas. I experimented with different hierarchies to grab attention effectively, whether it is the quotation that pops out first or the name of my hero. It was difficult sketching in black and white because Sobierajski’s colors are what make her designs, and without the colors, I was unsure of the placement of certain elements. I wanted to be bold with my sketches and play with cutting text off and setting the type in interesting ways in order to draw from Sobierajski’s courageous and unexpected elements in her designs.

I ended up not being completely satisfied with any of my sketches, I wanted to be even more playful and exaggerate elements even more.

First Two Drafts

Creating two drafts of our poster that are both different from each other, I wanted to play with the contrast and implementation of both geometry and loose forms. I also wanted to pay homage to Sobierajski’s style in the making of the background, inspired by her Google Pixel 2 wallpapers.

Sobierajski’s Google Pixel 2 Wallpapers

I cut foam-core into various shapes and hung them from a clothes rack using invisible string. The process in which I created my background came from Sobierajski’s process in creating this wallpaper.

Process

I wanted a different background as opposed to the original white background of the photographs I was taking. To compliment the colors of the shapes, as well as the planned teal and blue colors of the text, I chose an orange to blend more with the shapes and not disrupt the foreground text.

A couple final shots of my background

Next, I needed to incorporate the rest of the elements on the poster. I started placing text and images on top of the wallpaper while trying to stick to a vague grid, but taking advantage of the times I would break from it.

For the first poster I created, I wanted to stick to the geometrical form in regards to the typeface placement. I focused on playing with color and scale in order to drag the viewer in. For my second poster, I wanted to break out even more from the geometrical square of text I had created. I wanted to be bolder with my type placement, much like Sobierajski is with her colors so that I can create some unexpectedness in my poster.

Grid

I also experimented with the placement of the timeline in following a path generated by one of the background shapes to start allowing the background and foreground to interact together more.

I wonder if my posters are too overwhelming because of the images, text, and colors seemingly fighting each other for attention, perhaps I gave each element too much equal emphasis.

Two draft posters

Out of the two posters, I chose to move forward with the second one because of the many playful elements I have started to introduce and I think pushing the expressiveness of this poster has a lot of potential and excitement.

I had the most trouble placing the images of Sobierajski’s work on the page. However, I plan on integrating the images with the background lines somehow to generate more interest. On that same note, I want to attempt to play with the text and the background and have the two elements interact more with each other. Finally, I want to calm my poster down a little bit in regards to the battling hierarchy and rearrange it to emphasize mainly the text and the color.

In revision stage, I experimented with different typefaces and placements for the design of Sobierajski’s name.

However, I found the bold headline typefaces I was trying out to be too overwhelming in context of the also bold placement of the letterforms. Therefore, I decided to continue using the typeface, Karla, because it allows the name to have a good balance between playful and readability without being overly formidable.

I also tried out different placements and treatments of the quotation, both bending and cutting the text. I chose to move forward with curving the text because I found it to be a nice soft break from the sharp corners made by the shapes and letterforms that dominate the poster.

Quotation placement

In this new version, I wanted to accentuate Leta Sobierajski’s name the most, and so I expanded the amount of real estate the name took up on the poster.

Ideally, I want the viewers’ eyes to be first drawn in by the colors. Then when stepping forward, they scan down the images, leading to the name of the designer and read the blurb of the designer. Alternately, they can also be drawn to the name of the designer first, due to the size and contrast of colors, and then lead up to the images/quote.

Viewers’ gaze path

Out of the two, I enjoyed the poster on the right more, due to how the information is spaced out, the empty spaces seem more intentional and yet, the poster seems to be evenly spaced out with information whereas the poster on the left shows everything being crammed on the left and the quote path I made not as intentionally.

2 revised posters

Minor revisions that I need to make include shrinking and condensing the timeline a bit more, adding captions onto my images, and being more considerate when cropping my images.

I added numbers to the top right corner of each picture, choosing a color that was a bit lighter than the background of the picture so that it does not stand out a great amount, but enough to be readable and noticeable. Corresponding to the numbers, I placed the titles of the design works in the bottom righthand side of the poster. I also treated the color of the words the same way I did the numbers.

Another detail I was paying attention to how to display Sobierajski’s last name. In the two posters, I had the break of her last name come in two different places.

I decided to go with the break on the left because visually, the name looks more balanced, and furthermore, the break in her name corresponds to how the reader is supposed to pronounce it, hopefully helping with the pronunciation of Sobierajski’s last name.

Final

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Caroline Song

Communications Designer @cmudesign. Learning how to bridge people together through art, writing + visual design. carolinesong.com