Process: Retro Robot Concert Poster

Preparing for another House Concert means creating another poster and flyer. Often I start by kicking around the words “House” and “Concert”. After a few dead ends I started thinking of “Retro Space Theme” as an idea. That didn’t go the way I had hoped, but did get me thinking about robots like the one from “Lost in Space”. Initially I thought I would make a crew of character robots to hold up and interact with the type. Since I’ve done character posters in the past, I recognized their secondary value as stickers/badges/giveaway items.

I tackled the project by research “robot-ish” components. The idea was to use the symbols palette in Illustrator to “frankenstein” a variety of figures from a collection of “bits”. I spent several hours making pieces, some of which I did not end up using, but since they are stored, maybe someday I will use them.

symbols

At this point I went back to my sketchbook since the robots I had tried to assemble were uninspired. I came up with an idea to do a “musical” robot, assembled from instruments (my first poster did something like this except with a Victorian house). I had hit on the idea of making the type for the word “house” be out of wire and the word concert out of metal. I hand-built the “concert” font after a quick sketch. Having already created a brush and 1/4″ cable symbol it was just a matter of finessing the script in order to be legible and have a flowy, cable-like personality. I went to work on the concert type and added gears and sprockets, repurposing my symbols to add that industrial touch.

Robo S

typography

typography wireframe

After the type was assembled I jumped into Photoshop and began building and importing vector graphics as needed. I had collected some vintage paper textures and distressed paper folds. I also had researched retro swatches and constructivist motifs…kind of. My first attempt was on target and I was pleased with the robot and the comedic element he played (rather than the brooding overlord I had first envisioned). There was too much wasted space, however. The names of the performers were too small. I stepped back and took a fresh look.

First Try

I was much happier with the second attempt. “House” and :”concert” were grouped more closely and more space was given to the musicians. I added some gradients behind the main text to give it more presence. Additionally, since I was able to drop the text down, more of my background “widget” wallpaper was visible. That had been made by simply selecting a number of my Illustrator symbols and turning them into silhouettes then arranging them in a grid.

Second Attempt

Below are some details. I ended up putting a halftone pattern behind the robot to bring him out better as well as redrawing the curve of his glass dome for the same reason.

detail 1 detail 2

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