WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Hello Design Cuts community members! Simon here, for the second tutorial exploring the complete vintage designer’s kit. We will pull no punches nor silly puns, and put together a poster for a boxing event.
The process will have us explore the customization abilities of the bundle’s typefaces, layout ideas to accommodate the long swashes and tall capital letters, and weathering tips and tricks.
We will again use both Illustrator and Photoshop to assemble this piece. Illustrator will be our main tool, as we’ll primarily manipulate type and vector assets. Photoshop will come in handy in the second part of the process, when weathering the poster with textures.
Note that you should be able to use Photoshop exclusively for the tutorial. I have a personal preference to manipulate type in Illustrator, which motivates my choice here. Open Type features are easier to access, text is easier to move around, etc.
Because we’ll manipulate raster textures, these few PSAs are necessary:
- Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
- Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
- Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive work flow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a work flow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”
Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.
Now, time to start punching!
STEP ZERO: THE CONCEPT
Like explained earlier, we are going to use the beautiful retro typefaces of the bundle to put together a vintage, pseudo-Victorian era boxing event poster.
Höchstadt by Hustle Supply Co. has the bold, tough shapes needed to convey the gravity of the event.
Decade Type Foundry’s Edmond and Aesthetique have the perfect vintage lines and features needed to stick to the time period we’re looking to emulate.
Monthoers, by Swistblnk Design Studio, will be a perfect sans serif to contrast with the three others. It also features wonderful swashes and extended capital letters, which will help us to give a strong personality to the piece.
Two assets we should grab now: sparing boxer pictures! After some extensive research into boxing posters of old, it looks like featuring the fighters on the bill is an important part of the visual language. Here are a few:
After looking through the 1,400+ images collected under the “boxer” tag on Flickr, we can put our hands on high resolution versions of these two images.
After downloading the high resolution .TIFF images, we’ll save .JPG copies to use in our piece.
Fleur Art’s hand drawn ornaments and vintage flourishes will come in handy for small embellishments.
Finally, we are going to borrow the brown, gold, and tan color palette from Edmond’s extra vector assets.
And with that, we’re ready to go.
STEP ONE: DOCUMENT SETUP
As explained before, we are going to use Illustrator as our main piece of software. Our canvas will be an 18″x24″ rectangle.
We are going to use guides to mark the center point of the canvas. They should be given their own layer.
We can also set a set of squares sampling the color palette on the side of the canvas. The colors should be sampled from one of the extra files from the Edmond bonus assets (\decade-typefoundry\Edmond-Bonus\Illustrator-Bonus).
This will help us to quickly and consistently assign colors throughout the design process. Just as the guides, these should be given their own layer.
The colors are:
- Dark brown – #281a12
- Worn gold – #685730
- Tan – #efdcbe
Here’s a look at the neatly organized, and properly labeled layers. Their content can be locked, just to make sure it doesn’t interfere with us moving things around later.
STEP TWO: BROAD STROKES
We are going to assemble the layout in multiple passes. The first task at hand is to establish the big picture. The layout is slightly wonky, to emulate the less precise composing, and printing techniques of old.
There are three zones to define: the header, the main content area, and the footer.
Main content area
We’ll start with the main content area, as it also doubles as the poster’s background. We need to create a tan colored rectangle that fills precisely the canvas (#efdcbe, 18″x24″, centered).
We won’t be touching the background rectangle anymore. We can therefore lock in place, in its own layer.
The header is a dark brown rectangle (#281a12), that is 18″x9″, and flush with the top edge of the canvas (X:9″, and Y:4.5″).
Similarly, the footer is a dark brown rectangle, that is flush with the bottom edge of the poster. Its dimensions are of 18″x3.75″ (X:9″, and Y:22.125″).
After naming and organizing things, our layers look like this.
STEP THREE: MAIN TYPE ELEMENTS
It’s now time to put the main type elements in place. This means of course the title block. Let’s announce the event’s name first.
The Station Road Brawl
There are different style of boxing: outside fighting, brawling, and inside fighting (source). Brawling seems to be the less refined, rawer version of “the noble art,” which is perfectly suited for a pub hosted event. So here’s for the event name’s origin.
Let’s have a look at all the copy we need to include in the header:
- Unique event! Not to be missed!
- Station Road
- Crouch Oak Pub and Grill
We’ll use our three main typefaces (Höchstadt, Edmond, and Monthoers) to establish a hierarchy between all the elements. Color/contrast variations between tan and gold will also help.
UNIQUE EVENT! NOT TO BE MISSED! is set in Höchstadt Serif, that is colored in worn gold (#685730), set at 42 points tall, centered, and with optical kerning. It’s positioned at X:9″, and Y:0.85″.
THE is set in tan-colored Edmond Regular (#efdcbe), that is 120 points tall, and located at X:9″, and Y:0.85″.
Station Road is set in tan-colored Monthoers Vintage, that is 210 points tall, and positioned at X:9″, and Y:4″.
A little tweak to give it more personality: turning on the OpenType stylistic alternate on the “o” of “Station.” This gives us access to the smaller, underlined “o.”
BRAWL is set in tan-colored Edmond Regular, that is 312 points tall, and positioned at X:7.75″, and Y:5.75″.
CROUCH OAK / PUB AND GRILL is set in gold-colored Höchstadt Serif, that is 48 points tall, has a line-spacing of 42 points, and is positioned at X:14.15″, and Y:7″.
Finally, £5 is set in gold-colored Höchstadt Serif, that is 84 points tall, and is positioned at X:15.625″, and Y:5.625″, to fill the gap beneath “Road.”
The type elements should be given their own sub-layer within the header layer, as there will be more elements to add in the jheader later.
How, when, and where
The next elements we need to put in place are for the footer. It’s the typical location/date/time combo.
As announced in the header, the event will take place at Crouch Oak Pub, located at the fictional 225, Station Road, in Sheffield S9 5DA.
The event took place quite a while back: November 7th, 1895.
Finally, the last minute additional information: bets are allowed (as long as you were on premise), and the doors open at 8PM.
Let’s start with the location. Crouch Oak Pub is set in tan-colored Monthoers Vintage, that is 90 points tall, and positioned at X:4.75″, and Y:21.625″.
225 STATION ROAD / SHEFFIELD S9 5DA is set in gold-colored Höchstadt Serif, that is 54 points tall for the first line, 60 points tall for the second line, has a line spacing of 54 points, and is positioned at X:5″, and Y:22.75″
Second block: the date. We will follow a similar Monthoers Vintage/Höchstadt Serif typeface attribution here. nov. 7th is set in tan-colored Monthoers Vintage, that is 90 points tall, and positioned at X:10.25″, and Y:21.625″.
Just below it, 1895 is set in gold-colored Höchstadt Serif, that is 120 points tall, and is positioned at X:10.25″, and Y:22.75″.
Finally, the hour/extra information block is using Edmond Regular to contrast from the two others. BETS ALLOWED / ON PREMISES / DOORS OPEN AT 8PM also makes use of multiple type sizes.
BETS ALLOWED / ON PREMISES is set at 72 points tall, with a line spacing of 60 points. DOORS OPEN AT 8PM is set at 60 points tall, with a line spacing of 60 points.
The whole block is positioned at X:14.5″, and Y:22″.
For layer organization, we can go as far as giving sub-layers to each block, but we could also get away with no doing it: there won’t be other elements added to the footer.
STEP FOUR: MAIN SECTION
Rather than diving into the ornaments for the header, then later for the main content area, we’ll tackle the rest of the information first. This will also allow us to have a better sense of the full layout before adding aesthetic touches here and there.
The main section features the elements that will help the public identify the fighters: their name, their nicknames, and their photos. We’ll also throw in a big “VS.” for good form.
Let’s start with the photos. The first one we’ll use is loc-18148u.jpg.
It should be placed (File > Place) in the document at X:4.155″, and Y:13.875″.
Next, let’s place our second boxer.
It should be placed at X:13.85″, and Y:13.9025″.
The blending mode of both photos should be changed to multiply @ 100% opacity.
Let’s talk names. Props to you if you guess where they come from :-) Our boxer on the left is Ross Thomas, also known as The Piledriver. On the right, Matt “The Bonecrusher” Darren. The nicknames are inspired by the colorful real ones.
The nicknames are set in Aesthetique Regular, that’s colored in gold, and 72 points tall.
“The Piledriver” is positioned at Y: 10″, and with its left edge aligned to the edge of the photo.
“The Bonecrusher” is positioned on the same horizontal line, and optically centered relative to the photo (X:13.75″, and Y:10″).
The fighters’ full name are set in Höchstadt Serif, colored in dark brown, centered, that is 90 points tall, has a line spacing of 72 points, and optical kerning.
ROSS / THOMAS is placed at X:4″, and Y:18.75″.
MATT / DARREN stands at X:14″, and Y:18.75″.
The last element is the big “VS.” It’s set in Höchstadt Serif, that is colored in brown, and 150 points tall. It’s placed at X:9″, and Y:14″.
We are going to embellish the “VS.” We’ll add two rectangles to frame it. Each rectangle is colored in dark brown, and measures 3.25″x0.5″.
The first one is placed at X:9″, and Y:12.65″.
The second one is placed at X:9″, and Y:15.15″.
With that, our central area is complete. Let’s organize all the elements in 3 sub-layers: one for each boxer, and one for the VS. block.
It’s now time to sprinkle ornaments, and then to weather the composition!
STEP FIVE: ORNAMENTS, ORNAMENTS EVERYWHERE
Stars are a recurring motif in more recent boxing posters. They are used as base elements for borders or patterns, on their own, etc. In fact, there are so many stars in these posters sometimes that one could believe they are playing a Super Mario level.
Let’s start with the easiest: the bottom star border. First, we need to draw a star. Illustrator has a tool for that, hidden with the rectangle tool.
By clicking once anywhere on the canvas, we get access to this box prompting us to precise the parameters for our star.
The result is a star oriented towards the bottom. Rotating it of 180°, or reflecting it vertically gives it its proper orientation (Right click menu > Transform > Reflect).
After changing the color of the star to tan, and scaling it down to 0.753 tall, we need to paste it, along with a copy, at X:2.16″, and Y:8.325″, and X:15.85″, and Y:8.325″.
The goal is to create duplicates of the stars between these two to form a line. Rather than manually copy and paste them, we are going to have Illustrator generate the copies for us through some blend tool magic.
We already talked about the blend tool way back, when we were creating a very clean and polished book festival poster. It’s a powerful tool, that can not only duplicate vector objects, but also alter progressively their color, size, thicknesses, and more.
With both stars selected, we need to navigate to Object > Blend > Make to activate the blend tool. If the tool hasn’t been used ever, default settings will be applied. If the tool has been used previously, the last settings will be applied.
Once the blend tool is activated, we can go to Object > Blend > Blend options to tweak the effect. We are going to use the specified steps preset, which allows us to indicate how many steps the transformation should take. We’ll use 8, which means that there will be 10 copies of the star total (the 2 that we generate the transformation from, and the 8 copies created by Illustrator).
With the “Preview” box checked, we can see what our result is prior to validating – just in case.
After that, our bottom border is in place. We can now work on the top ones. These can be executed manually, or through blends as well. We’ll go the manual route, as there are only 6 stars to put in place.
First, let’s generate another star, color it in gold, and scale it down to 0.5″ tall.
We’ll start by creating the top right border. There should be 4 copies of the star created. The extremities are placed at X:14″, and Y:0.8″, and X:16.24″, and Y:0.8″. We’ll use the alignment tools to equalize the horizontal spacing between the stars.
Next, we are going to copy and paste two more of the gold stars on the left side of “UNIQUE EVENT…” The first one is placed at X:3.25″, and Y:0.8″, and the second one at X:4″, and Y:0.8″.
And now, we need to organize all these stars. Since there are a few more ornaments to add, giving each border a sub-layer will help to keep things clear.
There are 8 stars left to add. Seven of them are nested in the gap between “THE” and the top of the “Road” capital “R,” and on the other side of the “R.”
These stars are tan colored, and 0.75″ tall. The first 4 have their extremities placed at X:6.25″, and Y:1.75″, and X:10.25″, and Y:1.75″. The spacing should be adjusted with the help of the alignment/distribute tools, just like before.
This border element also receive its own sub-layer.
Similarily, the 3 stars on the other side of the “R.” The 2 extremity stars are positioned at X: 13.5″, and Y: 1.75″, and X: 16.1″, and Y: 1.75″.
And just the same, this border receives its own sub-layer.
The last star to be placed is nested between the “L” of “BRAWL” and the bottom of the “R.” It’s 1″ tall, tan-colored, and located at X: 11.75″, and Y: 5.75″.
A floral touch
The last two ornaments to put in place are from the Fleur Art sets. These were also very popular as visual fillers, and they add a nice, organic counter point to the sharp stars.
The first one is the small corner element from the volume 3 of the vintage flourishes (\fleur-art\Bundle of Vintage Flourishes\Ai\3.ai).
Once pasted in our piece, it needs to be vertically reflected, colored in gold, and scaled down to 2.25″ tall.
Its final position is at X: 2″, and Y: 1.75″.
The second organic element is from the big kit of hand drawn ornaments (\fleur-art\Big Kit of hand-drawn Ornaments\Ai\1set.ai).
When pasted in our piece, it needs to be vertically reflected, colored in tan, and scaled down to 2″ wide.
It’s then positioned at X: 2.75″, and Y: 6.5″.
Both are placed at the top of the ornaments sub-layer.
And this concludes the layout construction! Onto weathering we go!
STEP SIX: TEXTURES
It’s now time for the most fun part of the process: texturing. By adding textures and artefacts to our clean digital output, we help people to imagine the story of that poster: a very old piece of paper, with a botched-up print job, exposed to the elements, and so on.
First, we need to export a flat .PNG copy of our artwork (File > Export). We’re using PNG because it doesn’t add compression to the file, and the “Use artboard” box is checked so it only exports the art within it (and not the color palette, for instance).
From there, let’s open the PNG file in Photoshop, and let the fun begin. Don’t forget the PSAs from earlier about the process!
The first texture we’ll use is 2LO Fall Harvest 7.jpg, from 2 Lil’ Owls (\2-lil-owls\ultimate-vintage-texture-bundle\Fall Harvest\2LO Fall Harvest 7.jpg)
It needs to be placed without respect for its aspect ratio, so it fits the edges of the canvas.
After sharpening, we’ll use a clipped hue/saturation adjustment layer to desaturate it.
A clipped levels adjustment layer will help us to boost its qualities.
Blending mode: soft light @ 50% opacity.
The next texture is still from 2 Lil’ Owls, and is called 2LO Equinox 23.jpg (\2-lil-owls\ultimate-vintage-texture-bundle\Equinox).
It’s placed in the same fashion as the previous one.
Blending mode: soft light @ 25% opacity.
The next 2 textures are from Misprinted Type’s set of daguerrotype textures (\misprinted-type\20 Daguerrotype Textures + Actions\Textures).
First is Daguerreotype04.jpg.
It’s placed centered in the composition, and scaled up to 195%.
A clipped curves adjustment layer allows us to create a negative version of the texture.
Blending mode: overlay @ 25% opacity.
The second texture we’ll use from this pack is DaguerreotypeDust01.jpg.
It’s placed centered, and scaled up to 205%.
It only needs a clipped levels adjustment layer, as it’s black and white.
Blending mode: screen @ 65% opacity.
The next texture is peculiar. It’s hidden within a product: the atomic age print pack (\retro-supply-co\Atomic Age Print Pack\Refills\atomic-age-refills.psd). It’s the Steel Plate texture, that’s accessible after turning some layer off (shown here over the solid background color).
We simply have to drag and drop the texture between our two files.
After a 90° counterclockwise rotation, the texture needs to be scaled up to 236%.
Blending mode: linear burn @ 50% opacity.
The next texture is easier of access. It’s from Vintage Design Co.’s war poster kit (\vintage-design-co\National Service – War Posters Kit\Textures\War Time), and is called war-era-06.png.
It’s centered, and scaled up to 185%.
Blending mode: overlay @ 75% opacity.
And that wraps up our poster! Here are the layers of the texture file.
WRAPPING THINGS UP
Phew, that was a long tutorial! I’m still seeing stars ;-) I hope that you enjoyed it, learned a few tricks here and there, and that your outcome matches the goals you had at the beginning.
Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! The Design Geeks and myself will be happy to help out.
We’d love to see your tutorial outcomes! Please share them with us on the Design Cuts Facebook page. We’ll share the best ones with the whole Design Cuts community.
The Complete Vintage Designer’s Kit is still available for a few more days, for a great 95% off its original price. Catch it while it’s hot!
If you already purchased the assets, I hope you enjoy them, and that this tutorial gave you a sense of what you’ll be able to accomplish with them.
And on that note, that’s it for me! Until next time, cheers!