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).

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