Bitter Grounds Magazine

espresso fueled ramblings

Written by catpaw

June 06, 2016

Something a little different – poster for the website

Experimenting with something a little different this week.  I want a create a poster to promote the website. It’s an interesting excercise, if for no other reason to create a sense of focus about the website’s mood. Parts of the poster design will hopefully be incorporated into a basic web redesign sometime this summer.

What I have discovered is I REALLY, REALLY like cityscapes. After combing through my photo archives, I realised how often I take photos of buildings.  I’ve gone back to some buildings a number of times over the years to capture different angles.  It’s been illuminating.  Second thing is how much I like urban and industrial design. No, not the wretched concrete boxes that are often mistaken for design. I’m talking about metals, gears, wheels and factories. I take photos of the most unlikely things, including rusted hinges, patches of interesting metal or cracked brickwork and layer them underneath urban scenes. You don’t get to see much of it because I often toss the work into a big folder titled “experiments” and move on.

I also seem to like rust. Yes, rust as in the stuff you scrap off metal. Rust offers up so many textures to play with, it’s unbelievable.  Oh and shades of brown. No idea why, I just like brown. It’s quite hard to move away from it. So I let myself go with the poster and pulled together a few of my favourite things: rust, skylines, night shots, clean simple fonts, space and the colour brown:
Poster for Bitter Grounds Magazine

My first poster draft had coffee beans in it. While looking at it, I figured they weren’t necessary – this site isn’t about coffee or even espresso so why have a coffee bean on the page? I eventually settled on this cityview. I used a companion photo taken in 2010 on a brochure for someone last year and decided to see if I could transform it into something completely different.  It’s a view of Yonge Street from my balcony on an april evening around 11pm. I must have stood out there taking photo after photo that chilly night.  I layered another photo of a spot of rust underneath, then on a brown layer to give it the right feel.

The fonts gave me the most trouble. I couldn’t settle on what I wanted. I find that happens a lot. I love looking at different typefaces and spend way too much time ooing and ahing over little differences. I needed something crisp and round for the magazine title and a serif font to offset it. It was the U that settled things for me. The main title font is Corbel, because the U doesn’t have a tail. The other font is Euclid because it has a traditional tail on the U. I liked the counterpoint. The lower case G and R were also a deciding factor. I wanted a G that dangled down & remained opened on the title but looked more traditional in the weblink without looking like a static old Times New Roman (which I loath for a number of reasons).  The Rs simply delight me with their tiny upturned tilt in the main title. You can all roll your eyes a bit, look at the fonts and dutifully go “oooo” now.

Not quite sure about the angle of the urban landcape part.  I think I crunched it too close together. I’ll go back and give it another kick later. I fussed about with shadows, etched look etc on the fonts but finally realised simple is best. Plain, clean white font packs a bigger punch than all the fancy dancy effects I tried. Why is that such hard a lesson to keep in my brain?

It’s not bad for a first draft. Now, I just have to figure out how to incorporate the basic feel of the poster into this website.



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