VIVE Music Festival Poster Serires

For the 4th assignment of the Communication Design class, we were asked to do a 3 poster series of some kind of festival. 

First, as usual I started to draw sketches and develop my ideas on posters. Initially I concentrated on how I would like the poster to be instead of what festival I’m doing.

Julia (my instructor) suggested that those are all really good ideas, but for the sake of design, it is important to know what you are designing for and combine that with your idea. So I started to think about a specific event. I then decided to make a series of posters for the largest music festival in Latin America, the VIVE. I went to Mexico last spring break and happened to run into the festival, it was really enthusiastic and impressive. I cannot forget the passion it passed to me.

So I started to do some digital drafts. The first thing I’ll recall when I think about Mexico is the color. The color palettes you see on the streets are so different from those in US. They are bold, vibrant, vital, tropical…So I decided to elaborate on that. I made some twisted color patterns with brush and some build-in filters in AI such as pixelate and blur:

From my perspective, those colors represent their soul. I came up with the idea of revealing the true passion, that I used those patterns as backgrounds and add white layers above it, and then made a feeling of knives cutting the cloth apart.

In the first desk critic, Julia pointed out though the idea is consistent, the three posters, with different color, different types of title and different alignment, look not like a series. I agreed with that. At the same time, I felt like without a proper grid system, the posters look too messy.

I decided to switch and explore more ideas. Besides color, on thing in Mexico that really impressed me is their architectures, especially in the city of Guanajuato. Their houses were built harmoniously with the surrounding environment. In Guanajuato, since the city was built on a hill, the whole city looks like a colorful pile of cubes scattered around the mountain. And that is so different with the American way of building a city in a strict grid system. But itself actually an exotic 3-d grid system.

I decided to express that characteristic of Guanajuato conceptually in my posters. A combination of 3-D cubes and vibrant colors.

I played around mostly with cubes. I tried different color filling options, different opacities and different alignments. The first critic really provided me with some constructive feedbacks. My colleagues thought that the biggest problem of this poster series is that they are extremely hard to read, especially for the paragraphs. The background color is a little bit too overwhelming. One good thing about the design is that they are really attractive, and the cubic grid system is pretty novel. Another hard problem for me also is the arrangement of contents — it’s really hard to figure out a clear way with such a 3-d structure.

Then I started to really rethink about what are the functionality of the cubes and the colors. The colors are really just about expressing an overall tropical and vibrant feeling, the textures, after careful thoughts, are redundant to me. So I decided to abandon all the textures I made and also switch to more classical Mexican colors: red, green and yellow. I kept the grid system in my design for it not only represents the city of Guanajuato but also the 3-d effect kind of adds on to the vibrant feeling of the music festival. I worked a lot and tried numbers of different color palettes, type choices, alignments…

Through the process of comparing different possibilities, I also tried to delete instead of adding more. As a great man said "less is more". When I tried to delete a whole layer of the cubes, I surprisingly found that the remaining parts of the poster look pleasing. I then tried different choices of deleting part of the cubes, and make the poster series a sort of a progression. After trying different possibilities, I got those:

I feel like this version is a huge improvement from the last one. Without the distracting patterns in the background, the informations are now pretty readable. I also attempted to remain a certain level of interesting features by adding some textures to the cubes.

I showed these three posters to Julia at the second desk critic, and she gave me some really constructive ideas that I later found to be extremely crucial to my design. She mainly mentioned 6 places that I should improve: 1. the Top-right corner is too close to edge, also the space between the lines is too much. 2. I should probably try different background colors since now they look too similar. 3. I should try a brighter color, be bolder to express the vibrant feeling. 4. Be careful about the spacings between characters and cubes. 5. Be careful about the bleed offs, especially for the bottom-left corner. 6. Maybe instead of trying to make them a progression, try to make their status equal, move around small fractions of each.

I focused on refining those 6 details in the last two days, and tried a various of different colors to make it bolder. And this is the final version I got:

During that process, I also developed the idea of using different types of cubes to represent and suggest different kinds of music. For example, the red scattered around pieces one is about rock, the 3d effect one is pop, and the yellow nicely aligned one is classical music. This conceptual way of representing music with the arrangement of the pieces is pretty interesting and reminds me of the first assignment we did in which we were asked to represent several words using only black solid squares.

I think there are several things that I could improve. Firstly the choice of color, a classmate pointed out that the constrast between red and green is just too much and it's hard for her to read the paragraph. Also I think some of the alignments could be improved. And the relation between the posters and music is not that clear.

This assignment teaches me a lot about not only how to design a good poster, but also how to make good correspond between three posters, how to make illustrations, how to develop a color palette, and most importantly, how to effectively convey your idea to the audience through your design.

Updated 10/19/2020