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.
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).
Definining my brand began back in February, and has since been the foundation on which I base all my other decisions. my brand is a New England brewery that values the blue-collar, hard-working, blood-sweat-and-tears men and women of America. It produces micro-brewed beverages for those who want to sit back and enjoy a cold, flavorful drink after a hard day on the job.
This essence initially brought to mind granite and etching stone. I wanted to incorporate a Celtic element to my design, but eventually that was simplified into my logo (the loops in the B & R were inspired by a Celtic Knot). But as I thought more about the audience, I decided to go with light wood planking instead of stone. It added a warmer tone to contrast better against an all-black logo, and still made the brand look industrial and simple. This worked well in transferring the logo onto wooden kegs and a brewery gate. It also came in handy later when I began constructing the six-pack. I went with a template I found for a hexagonal pack, which I thought would work well. Roses are radial forms, so I thought a hexagon would mimic that better than a simple rectangular box. Then, when I added the wood panels, it began to look like a keg again. I think the wood was a good decision that helped solidify the identity as a whole.
I went from logo design, to how the logo looked on different-sized objects, to created a package for my brand. It was logical to make the jump from brewery to beer, so I immediately looked into six-pack cases. I created a few mock-up cases to figure out how the template looked, and then worked on resizing and printing a tiled template so that it actually fit 6 bottles comfortably (the original template only came out to be about 3 inches high). But as I looked at examples of other beer brands, I realized that I couldn’t design a case without having bottles to put in it. So I began designing labels. This gradually took precedence over the box. Before I knew it the project was due in a week and I had three distinct labels, but still no design for the case. So I spent 6 hours in Carnegie last Wednesday, going in between capstone editing work and designing/constructing the case. It went well until I had to glue the paper onto each panel; the studio tack we thought would hold, in fact, did not. It was very frustrating to get so far and only find this out when I didn’t have enough time to go buy different materials.
I definitely learned the value of multi-tasking during this project. I also learned that trusting my instincts is important (as in the wood and the color scheme for my labels — both came from decisions that I can’t really describe, but seemed inherently correct). I also learned to test materials well before they’re due.
Here’s the visual brief for my brand identity:
After looking over so many unique designs, I’ve decided to scrap the traditional six pack for something that reflects my brand. Here’s some of the competition:
I think I’m going to go for a radial form by using a hexagonal six-pack (from a template found in one of Hilary’s books). It will allude to the radial shape of a rose, and give the product a unique shape that will be immediately recognizable on a store shelf. It also incorporates die-cut windows so consumers can see the bottle labels inside.
I focused mainly on the six-pack design for my bottles today. The only bottle carrier I could find in the books holds four bottles, so I think I’m going to have to find a template for six somewhere else. I looked online, but templates are surprisingly hard to find. I think I’m going to just find a six-pack case somewhere and break it down, then trace the flattened cardboard to the dimensions I need.
I was also wondering how to print my design onto a cardboard box. A previous student made a case for energy drinks with a six-pack, but she just glued paper onto an already existing box. I want to create my own, possibly with different size walls or die cuts to highlight my logo. I’ll look for light but sturdy cardstock that will still run through the printer, or consider wintergreen oil transfers if I can’t do that. I’ll have to experiment with some sizes, and talk to Prof. Fender about the printer’s capabilities.
For now, here’s the box I assembled based on the four-pack template:
For my final identity design materials, I chose the solid black logo and Trade Gothic, a clean sans-serif font with a wide variety of typefaces to choose from. My background went from cold granite to a warm, light wood planking. I feel like the wood texture warms up the heavy black ink, while the light oak-colored planks contrast better than a darker wood (i.e. cherry or mahogany). The wood also gives it a sense of masculinity that will translate well with my business’ clientele, since my targeted demographic are blue-collar/working class men, specifically in the New England area.
My business card and letterhead incorporate a bar of transparency oversetting the wood. This makes the black pop from the brown wood, and prevents the smaller type from getting lost in the grooves between the planks. My envelope mimics the letterhead with a horizontal band of vertical planking along the bottom. Though the bands of wood on the stationary are horizontal, I used vertical planks to simulate the verticality of the logo, business cards, and later the bottles and other branding materials I will create in project 3.
Again, this is my logo:
Here is my final business card:
Front of envelope
- Back of envelope
And my signage (both keg and brewery gate):