I just finished watching Ellen Lupton’s Skillshare course: Demystifying Graphic Design: How Posters Work.
I have mixed feelings about Lupton’s style of teaching. I like that she goes back and forth between showing herself and the artwork in the videos. When she’s talking about a work it’s awesome to be able to see it right there in front of you. At the same time, this style can get a bit repetitive after a while and it can be easy to lose focus. Because of this, I re-watched some of the videos and took breaks throughout the course. I like that Skillshare lets you take notes while watching the videos too. It’s easy to go back and pinpoint important parts of the lesson. It was cool how she did some caparisons in a few of her lessons (like the diagonals in the poster with the glass in the “Focus on the Eye” section). She shows it if it was just sitting straight vs. the angle. It shows just how much of a difference the angle makes in the composition.
There was a lot of information in this lesson, which is awesome! There are a few ideas and points that stood out to me.
- SIMPLIFY… Sometimes my biggest issue is deciding what info is not important in a design. I really loved the simple graphic movie posters by Albert Exergian. They are so simple and so beautiful! I also really enjoy the lamp poster for a poetry reading by Alexander Gelman. It’s so cool how they can use something as simple as a simple (with no detail) to show their idea visually. My poster’s subject is a photograph so I can’t really so this here, but I would like to try something like this in the future.
- Tell a story… Posters should tell a story. Ellen said that storytelling needs to be active, and as designers we have one single frame to show this action. I love this poster by Massimi Vignelli because it really looks just like the previous slide of the story diagram and Vignelli left the man at the highest point in the story.
This is a successful poster by Lawrence Beall Smith, Don’t Let that Shadow Touch Them. Here, we I indentigy with this young boy. His siblings don’t understand what”s going on but this boy is looking up and he knows what is going on and what is going to happen. Lupton describes, “The danger is represented indirectly through the shadow not through a literal threat but through an implied threat. And then finally this call to action.” The artist grabs your intention and then when you realize the reality of this poster and the situation, he calls you to action with the type, telling you to buy war bonds.
- Focus the eye… It’s important to have an important focus point, a place
where you want the viewer to looks. This is a poster by an unknown designer. The designer uses light to focus on the image, I think this is one way I can focus on the subject in my poster. She also demonstrates how diagonals can help in focusing on the subject. I love this record poster by Gottlieb Soland. It is so simple and effective! It’s very cool how the majority of the typography on the right starts in the center of the poster, lining up with the center of the record. Ellen also mentions that sometimes, posters do not have a focus point and they don’t have a specific place for the viewer to look. It is important to make this decision, before starting a poster, whether you want a focused or unfocused poster.
For my design… For my awareness poster design, I think I will try to simplify. I think right now I may have too many words that aren’t necessarily needed. I want
to try to create just one pulling sentence or point, and then use the hashtags as a support for the subject. I want the poster to stir a “whoa” feeling; for it to be something that grabs the eye and makes people realize that bias/racist acts to exist, and there is a group on campus that will help seek justice. I will keep the main idea (the photo of a woman holding up here phone) because I think she gives the poster a point of view. Students can identify with this woman because she is almost sticking her phone right in there face saying “hey, look at this!” (I thought of this when I saw the “Someone Talked” poster (artist: Siebel) of the sailor pointing at us). As students today, we can easily be drawn to this because we are so used to seeing iPhones and Instagram and posted on social media about social issues, etc.