The assignment was to create a set of three posters that fit together in a series and advertised a Poetry Slam. Each individual event was themed with a different author or poet. Although each composition was graphically related and similar in its elements, each possessed unique qualities of each author. Each poster paid attention to details such as hierarchy, typographic color, and composition.
In creating the poster series, I researched the life and background of each author. When I discovered that Poe, Dunbar, and Ginsberg all suffered from mental illnesses, I chose to utilize that as the unifying theme throughout each composition. To convey the unique illnesses of each poet, I used color psychology to reflect anger, depression, and sanity in each of the primary colors. To create the author's name, I printed the text and laser-cut the letters in a manner in which they created a shadow when lit with a spotlight. Each author is lit a different way, creating a different style of typography: even though the method used to the type is the same. Lastly, the overlaid typography (title, details, and description) were left to be bold and simple in an effort to draw attention to the names of each poet. Using Swiss design conventions, this typography does not distract from the beauty of the shadows.
In working with light and shadow, each composition reflects the mental illness of its respective author. Edgar Allan Poe's composition is shadowy, which demonstrates and emphasizes the depression, death, and emptiness that Poe experienced. His writing was twisted and strange, and the unclean cuts on the paper that creates his name reflects that. Additionally, the deep, saturated red gives the viewer a connotation of death, an underlying theme in Poe's life. Likewise, Paul Laurence Dunbar's shadows are linear, bold, and clean: mimicking the theme in Dunbar's poetry of cages and feeling trapped. The saturated blue, like Poe's red, feels sad and slow, reflecting the depression Dunbar suffered with. Lastly, Ginsberg's shadows are created using two spotlights, highlighting the chaos and conflict that he spent his life fighting against. The bright yellow is anxiety-inducing, emphasizing the insanity that Ginsberg suffered through. These methods unify the posters through concept, while allowing each to stand on its own as a single composition.