WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Hello Design Cutters! Today’s tutorial will walk you through how to create a neat, International design-inspired, poster for a fictional literature festival.
The poster design will be using the awesome fonts from our current Beautifully Professional Font Bundle (94% Off). There’s just a couple of day’s left to grab the font bundle at this huge discount though, so if they’re suitable for your design projects, we hope you’ll grab them now.
The tutorial was written by Simon, one of the partners and designers at Studio Ace of Spade, who you might remember from the little owl or badge tutorials. To Simon!
STEP 1: RESEARCH AND CONCEPTUALIZING
Aloha! Simon here. Today’s object of our attention are the super neat typefaces that are part of the current deal on the site (four amazing type families for 92% off). I’ll use Adobe Illustrator CC to execute the tutorial, but you should be able to follow along with Ai CS3 and above. I’m advising to have Smart guides turned on, as these will definitely help with element placing (View > Smart Guides).
Type is a perfect excuse for a poster. A type-driven poster is the perfect excuse to dive into the wonderful world of the International design style. It’s also called Swiss design. Wikipedia tells us that it’s “a graphic design style developed in Switzerland in the 1950s that emphasizes cleanliness, readability and objectivity. Hallmarks of the style are asymmetric layouts, use of a grid, sans-serif typefaces like Akzidenz Grotesk, and flush left, ragged right text. The style is also associated with a preference for photography in place of illustrations or drawings. Many of the early International Typographic Style works featured typography as a primary design element in addition to its use in text, and it is for this that the style is named.”
One thing that this introduction doesn’t mention is that Swiss design is also home to amazing, beautiful, geometrical motifs and patterns. One of my favourite piece is that poster by Josef Müller-Brockmann, called akari. It’s a poster for a 1975 exhibit of Japanese lamps.
Akari poster © Josef Müller-Brockmann, all rights reserved
I really like that kind of geometrical elements, and how the type just supports the visual. These are things to keep in mind when designing.
Knowing that we’re designing a poster for the Book Festival (don’t look it up, it doesn’t exist), a book-inspired symbol seemed appropriate. The symbol that you see below is inspired by the shape of an open book, seen from the bottom.
Creating that symbol is actually so much easier than having to copy and paste a stroked line multiple line, and adjusting the colors manually. We’ll be taking advantage of Ai’s blend tool.
STEP 2: BUILDING THE POSTER
First step: let’s get a new document going in Ai. I’ve chosen to make an 11″x17″ poster, hence me using the tabloid preset.
Second step: a grid. Grids were actually integral parts of the International style. Müller-Brockmann, amongst others, actually created books of grids to be used for designers. Mine comes from this handy set of grids made for US standard formats by the good people at the Arsenal. It divides my canvas in four columns and five rows.
In order to make things look neat, I’ve clipped the grid to the edge of the canvas. I’ve also given it its own grid layer, which I’ve locked after manipulation.
Now that the document is setup, it’s time to decide on colors. I ended up browsing Colour Lovers for a bit, looking for warm and spring-like color. I found this sweet color palette, called Indecent proposal.
The site allows you to download a wallpaper-sized preview of the color palette, which I’ve placed into my document. I’ve also created square swatches of the individual colors in the palette, both as solid squares and as squares with a 5 point stroke, just in case. Ultimately, I’ve also assigned the color palette elements to their own locked layer.
And that’s an easy one: just create a 11″x17″ rectangle, align it with the edges of your canvas, color it with the darkest color of the palette (#6F5846), and you’re done. As you’ll see later, we’ll be switching it between outline and solid color mode quite frequently to get access to grid that’s hidden behind it. You could also simply turn the grid path on and off in the layer palette.
Building the poster’s illustrative symbol
Let’s go back to our canvas, with the background hidden.
Time to start drawing the core piece of our symbol. I’m using the pen tool, and the grid as a support. Note that I’ve actually drawn the straight base first, and then the first curve. I’ve then duplicated the curve and reflected it to make sure both sides have the same curve and handle tension. Once the bits and pieces were made and in place, I’ve used the “join” command of the right-click menu to make the path pieces just one single path.
Now that the “open book symbol” is done, it’s time to get the full element actually executed. We have four colors left after the darkest one has been assigned to the background. So, let’s create three more copies of the symbol, and space them evenly, using the Distribute vertically command.
Using the squares with the color stroked and no fill, color the four symbols from dark to light, starting with the one at the bottom.
The next step is where the magic happens! Behold, the power of Ai’s Blend tool. I’ll be only showing one of the many uses of that mighty tool. Luckily for all of us, Envato wrote a very comprehensive guide to demonstrate the tool’s abilities that you should go through.
Once you have selected your four paths, go to Object > Blend > Make . Dismiss the result at this point, and head to Object > Blend > Blend options . Look at the options I’ve chosen below:
I’ve selected Specified steps for the mode, and through trial and error, chose 12 for my value (note that the stroke thickness of the paths in the blend is of 8 points). This means that between each paths that we’ve originally drawn, there are 12 additional ones that were automatically generated by Ai. The other great thing is that a gradient between the colors of the original paths is created.
Turn your background back to be that solid filled dark brown, and let’s admire the result.
Now that our main illustrative element is done, we need to add the type elements that will convey the information.
Here are the typefaces that we’ll use: Achille, Booster, and Leano.
These are taken from our Beautifully Professional Font Bundle (94% Off), which is ending in a couple of days time.
We’ll be using Achille Black for our main title, Booster for our additional information, and LeanO Light for the least important stuff.
Here’s the copy we’ll have to include:
- Main title: The book festival (all caps)
- Sub-header:September 22nd to 27th 2014 • 6 days • 3 countries • 150 authors Readings and performances London, United Kingdom Strasbourg, France • Cleveland, OH, USA
- Additional information:Detailed author lineups, performance schedules and tickets available at thebookfest.com
- Footnotes:Festival poster designed by Studio Ace of Spade
I’m going to use the grid to align my text blocks. The title will go all the way across, on two lines. Below the main title, I’ll use two columns for the sub-header information, and one column each for the subsequent information. Action!
After creating a text block that goes all the way across the canvas (minus the outer gutters of the grid), write our title in Achille Black. I’ve sized my type to be 132 points tall. Tracking is set to Optical, and line spacing at 108 points. I spaced the text block around the same space as the width of the outside gutters of the grid.
After the title, time for the sub-header information to be done. The text block is only two columns wide this time. The type is set in Booster at 24 points, with a line height of 24 points as well.
Note this text block, as well as the next two, have the same vertical spacing from the main title than the title from the illustration.
Note that the “•” symbol can be found through the Glyphs panel.
Next is the additional information text block. It’s set in LeanO Regular, at 18 points.
Final piece of text, the little “poster by” mention. It’s set in LeanO Light, at 18 points.
Here’s a quick look at the layer palette. You’ll note that my type block are organized on their own layer.
And finally, let’s have a look at our finished piece!
Please note that you could push the piece further. My values are always what I feel is right. But there’s always room for experimentation. What if you pushed the stroke of the blend paths to 10 points?
Or what if you start the bottom path in the blend at 2,5 points, the top one at 10 points, and watch the Blend tool work its magic?
Like I said earlier, I’ve only scratched the surface of what you could do, and of how far you could push this design. I hope I’ve given you the itch to dig more, and to play to discover more about the softwares you use on a daily basis.
Last but not least, here’s a mockup of what this poster could like if printed. Until next time, cheers!
Remember, there’s just a couple of days left to grab our Beautifully Professional Font Bundle (94% Off) and get all of the fonts used in this lesson for such a huge discount.
Hey! I am doing great with his up until using the Blend tool. When I set Blend to your options, the only area where 12 copies of the shape are made is between the 2nd and 3rd shapes. The 1st and 2nd shapes and the 3rd and 4th shapes only have 6. Why is this happening?
Ha, that’s strange. Would you be up to share your Ai file with me? I could also walk you through my file in a Google Hangout if you want. Tweet at me (@simonhartmann) to get something organized.
Hi i’m having major problems understanding a lot of the stuff that your coming out with ie, Ai’s is there some thing else that i need to learn before i even start to attempt this stuff of yours…..thanks
Hey Glenn. Ai is Adobe Illustrator. This particular tutorial is more aimed at our vector geeks within the community, but we do also have plenty of Photoshop tutorials (including more basic ones) in our new tutorial archive: http://designcuts.com/deals-category/all/