What was the process?
This is the poster design for Baseline 62.
This article documents the journey that was taken to get to the final design.
Where to start?
As with every issue of Baseline Magazine, the poster design starts with the contents of the magazine. The articles that feature in Baseline are used to draw inspiration for the poster. In the case of Baseline 62 we chose to focus on David Jury’s Article Type case illuminations. Jury’s article explores the typographic ornaments and decorative materials used as an integral part of the design and printing process in the early and mid 20th century.
Particular inspiration came from a design featured within Jury’s article: the cover of a catalogue featuring plain and decorative brass rules, including junctions and corners from J G Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1930. We believed that the patterns featured on the cover of this catalogue offered potential to develop into an exciting poster design.
Starting to design…
To start the development process, the design of the original cover was replicated. Once replicated then the experimentation began. We started to replicate areas of the design which lead to the construction of our own pattern.
We also experimented with creating a more ordered and illustrative design with the pattern. The blocks somehow resembled building block and therefore we used them to construct abstract buildings – the blue box patterns form the sky and the negative space representing the buildings. However we agreed that it would probably be best to keep the poster design more abstract and true to the contents of Jury’s article. The decorative blocks needed to be the sole focus of the poster.
By filling the whole poster with the pattern the detail of the different blocks could be seen. It was decided the pattern design should fill the centre of the design without reaching the edges. This allowed us to progress to the next stage of experimentation. Sections of the pattern were copied and used to layer over the original base pattern. Firstly the overlaid patterns were used as the same size as the background. However, we soon started experimenting with enlarging the top patterns allowing a stronger contrast to be created.
A ‘multiply’ effect was applied to the top layers. This multiplies the base colour by the blend colour resulting in a darker area. The dark blue background pattern was replaced with a lighter blue background. This allowed the multiplied orange of the top pattern to create visibly darker areas when overlaid on the blue.
The design was lacking character and true contrast due to the very structured and orderly background pattern. We started to deconstruct the background pattern leaving areas of white space exposed. This allowed the design to have a more organic aesthetic and have a greater sense of movement. Areas of the pattern were then enlarged and the poster design became focused on a fragment of the original overall design.
Unsatisfied with the results of previous experimentation it was decided that we should go back to basics with the pattern. We constructed a more detailed background pattern. Each block contained 9 identical blocks to make up a single square unit. Six units with differing patterns were created. We then constructed a basic pattern which was 7 units wide and 10 units deep. After constructing a basic pattern we started to deconstruct it. Sections of the pattern were reduced or enlarged, breaking up the repetitive nature of the design whilst retaining the structure.
Unlike the previous experiments where the overlaying patterns were angled and ‘roughly’ placed we decided to restrict ourselves to using the same orientation as the original pattern. This is because we felt that the detail and character of the pattern should not be compromised – it was already a busy design. It was decided that we would construct the numbers 6 and 2. This is because the poster would become the jacket of Baseline issue 62. The 6 was constructed in magenta. The 2 was constructed in yellow.
We then had 3 separate layers: the blue background, the magenta 6 and the yellow 2. The 6 was then placed over the blue background aligning on the left and stretching to fill the height of the blue background. The same process was complete for the yellow 2 – but aligning on the right.
The 6 and the 2 were then applied with the ‘multiply’ effect. This allowed the three colours to blend and create a range of new colours.