Final blog post

Benn and I assembled our full-size tiled poster and program today. The gallery opening is tomorrow night at 7 in the library foyer.

The poster is too big to photograph in the lab, but here is the program:

Final poster and program

Benn and I both drove on one file today, so here’s a link to his post with the images:

Concept narrative (my half) for poster

Our final design project was a collaborative effort between two designers and an English class. Each group was given one of three Shakespearean classics: Hamlet, Twelfth Night, or the Merchant of Venice. Our group was assigned Hamlet, the tragedy about a Dutch prince’s preoccupation with death as he plots to avenge his father’s murder. Our English group reinterpreted the classic text into a modern setting: a crack house in South Carolina. Though it seems an unlikely setting, the context worked surprisingly well with its overarching themes of death, madness and violence. Our task as designers was to create a poster and program cover that blended traditional elements with the modern interpretation.

Kate: My early contributions to the poster involved several sketches varying from simple to complex (more like a Hollywood film poster than the minimalist angle I wanted). Once I started putting things together on the computer, however, my ideas took on a new direction. I pulled some grunge textures from old files I had saved on my desktop, playing with dark and light overlays to see what was effective. I seriously avoided using a skull at first. I thought it seemed too cliché, since it is used in nearly every interpretation of the play. However, when combined with the crack house setting, I eventually realized it was so appropriate that I just had to include it. So I made it part of the background instead of the primary element, and added some red to the title to draw attention to that instead. It was unlike anything I had originally sketched, but I liked the outcome much better.

Merging poster ideas

Benn and I got some great feedback from the group today. People responded really well to our lighter posters (my “unfinished” one even looked complete to them, so I guess I’ll leave it as is!). We’re going to basically merge them, based on what the others were suggesting. We’ve decided to go with a blackletter, lower-case title; the uppercase seems to proud and loud for a crackhouse, while lowercase gives more character and nuance while the blackletter forms play up the Gothic themes that are found throughout the play.

This is an uncomplete version of the poster; Benn is working on smoke manipulation at the moment and we’ll merge the two on Monday.

First draft: Hamlet posters

Here are two preliminary versions of my poster. The second one (with the red type) is a work in progess; I’m considering having a dying flower emerge from the T in HAMLET, with its wilting petals turning to drops of blood as they hit the bottom. It might be too complex for the approach we’re going for, so I’ll have to experiment and see if it works as well on screen as it does in my mind.

Also, it may just be my screen, but these JPGs look slightly blue on here. They’re not really; both are grayscale images, with the only color being the red type in the second version.

Show + Tell: Graphic theater poster

Here are two examples I found of other Hamlet posters. The first one I think is very similar to the style we want to pursue: minimalist, dark and even a little smoky. The second is in a style we want to avoid: a collage of many different elements in the film, but none of which hold much symbolism of the overall message.

Project 4: Theater poster sketches

For our final project we’re teaming up with another designer and several English students to create a theater poster for a classic Shakespeare play. Benn and I have been given the play Hamlet. The English group we’ve been paired with have reinterpreted the play by placing the entire plot in a modern-day crack house. Hamlet uses universal themes of murder, lost love, death and revenge that translate well into the world of a crack addict. Our task as designers is to create a poster that uses the original symbolism while incorporating elements of the reinterpretation. Our final poster will be hung in the library over the summer, so our biggest task is to make an effective, simple poster that uninformed passersby will easily understand. This may be easier with a classic version of the play, but the modern translation will provide a tougher obstacle in conveying the entire meaning to the reader.

Here are our initial sketches (Mine are the tiles in pencil, Benn’s in pen):

As for my drawings, I originally started playing with the biggest symbols used in the play: the skull, the dying violets, and smoke. From there my sketches got more and more intricate until they resembled movie posters (page 2), at which point I realized they were getting much too complicated and quit for awhile. When I approached it at a different time, I went back to simpler designs (page 3). I’m exploring the use of other symbols besides the skull; this play has been designed so many times, and every design I’ve ever seen uses the skull — I want to try to keep the strong imagery without using such a redundant, cliched symbol. However, as I considered further, I reconciled the fact that the smoke paired with the skull could add a different interpretation that have not yet been overdone (Benn seems to be on the same track with this thought).