A strong photograph. A grid. Attention to detail. Going back to the basics after attempting some illustrative approaches. The result above.
I really wanted to bring over some style or influence from my personal work, creating strong black and white illustration of Daniel Hsu performing. I’d found a dynamic photo, shot from above, grand piano, etc. Dropped it into a layout. Dead. Flat. Useless. Maybe if I added a bit more texture. I’d recently read a comic that used a dramatic digitally painted illustration style. Perhaps Mr. Hsu’s headshot rendered in a similar fashion standing behind the dramatic performance illustration. In my mind it was beautiful. In execution. A big heaping helping of Nope. Nope nope nope, not a chance. On my iPad the illustration looked decent, not half bad for my first attempt at such a style. Again, in a layout, oh my, the horror.
A strong photograph. A grid. Attention to detail. The things I do well.
And though my meandering down the path of illustration might seem to have been for naught, it served a good lesson to me. In the end it pushed me back to an appreciation of what I do well. Sometimes it’s easy to look at other styles, the way other designers work, and feel lacking. To feel stale. Pushing oneself to attempt something completely different can help you realize that perhaps there are designers who work in another style that might see my work and think, “Damn, how can I do something super simple. Grids just kill me.” Meanwhile, they’re doing killer kinetic illustrations that I might drool over.
In the end, I like this poster better than a lot of other work I’ve done. It hit a certain point during the design when I said to myself, “Damn. That’s nice. So clean, and elegant.” And I hope, representative of Mr. Hsu’s performance next week. Also, after seeing the poster in the wild a few times, it certainly holds its own on cluttered walls. Far better than my attempts at illustration would have.