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.