Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Poster Research: Negative Space and Contrast

For my concert poster for ACN107, I will probably choose to create a poster for an orchestral concert as this the kind of music I enjoy most myself. Also, I would like to design something lyrical and classical, but with a modern twist. Thus I believe that an orchestral concert would be best for this.

The following posters are ones that I particularly like. Some are movie posters, some are concert posters, and some are just random ones pulled off the web.

Posters with good use of negative space:Pearl Jam concert poster. I like this concept of using imagery that has nothing to do with music. It forces the viewer to make a connection themselves. This poster is relatively simple. The colours are limited and in blocks. The warm colour palate stands out brightly again the plain white background and draws attention. The lines direct our focus to the boy. Even the angle of the text is pointing back at the boy, and his lightly-coloured face further makes him a point of focus. The natural curved shape of the boy and mower are somewhat contrasted by the blocky shapes of the text. The curved shape juxtaposes the straight shapes and this seems to put the boy in a different world to the text, but they are united by their similar colours. Texture isn't used particularly in this poster, as it's mostly in block silhouettes.

This Swan Lake poster not only has an excellent use of contrast, it also uses negative space rather well. The absolute blackness of the background silhouetters the ballerina and accentuates her graceful shape. I love the simplicity of the poster, it really puts focus on the ballerina's movement and graceful line. The photograph of buildings in the background puts her in an urban setting, which is an original idea for 'Swan Lake'- implying that the story still applies to life today. However, as the ballerina appears to be on a different plane to the background, she is still removed and put somewhat in a fantasy world. The use of only black and white is very powerful, emphasising the extreme and really painting the ballerina as a force of good.

This poster from Guillermo del Toro's, 'Pan's Labyrinth' is among my favourite of all movie posters. I absolutely love the symmetrical design of the poster and the use of silhouette. The eye is drawn to the symbol right in the centre, because it cuts a strong shape against the light background. The little girl is also silhouetted, and her scale makes her look almost insignificant. The light area is more or less a circle, which really acts as a spotlight- emphasising the importance of the symbol. The lines are largely curvilinear, portraying a kind of whirling portal into a gentle fantasy world that is also conveyed by the ethereal dreamy colours. The silhouettes of eerie branches further suggests fantasy, and we get the impression that Ophelia is about to enter a fantasy world through the gate. This poster has a very limited colour palate- mostly blue and black, which conveys the darkness and horror of the film, as well as the hopeful fantasy aspect of it. Texture is used on the stone and the branches which are both relatively rough-looking, suggesting a real, somewhat harsh environment.


A relatively colourful poster is Tim Burton's 'Big Fish'. The eye is immediately drawn to the title and the tree that grows out of it, as it is silhouetted against the otherwise light background. Also, the tiny man is a point of focus, as the poster is at it's lightest point directly behind him. This poster is largely suggestive of fantasy, perhaps because of the colour scheme. The colours are all dreamy and the texture of the hills and sky are smooth- like a dreamland. The line of the horizon leads back to the silhouetted man and text. The curved line of the path also draws out attention to the same place. Shapes are curved and soft which make them appear quite welcoming. Because the bottom of the poster is dark, I get the impression that Burton is inviting us to step onto the path ourselves and join him in the fantasy world of 'Big Fish'. The light on the horizon is welcoming.

Posters with good use of contrast:
This poster of 'The Weeping Violin' uses several gentle colours, and the contrast between the blue and the yellow work well. The brightest, warmest colours- the yellow- draws attention, so her face and hair are what we're drawn to. I also like how the background colour gradient is the same as the person except less sharp and more dreamy. It helps to lead our attention to the right corner where her head is. There are several strong lines in the image. The most obvious ones are the bow of the violin and the body of the violin. They both lead to the person's head and almost cut straight across her neck - perhaps a hint at her sorrow. The dripping vertical lines create very sorrowful imagery. The lines of dripping paint are reminiscent of tears or rain- both associated with sadness. The colour blue similarly accentuates sorrow so it is fitting that that the very bottom of the image is blue. The texture of the paint is smooth, again suggesting tears or rain. The entire shape seems to be melting and falling downward. I almost think this poster would work better if it were portrait rather than landscape, just to accenutate the vertical line even more.

This is an image created for 'Bass Guitar Magazine'. It was created by Mike Orduna who I have recently discovered. The contrast is particularly good in the image as the gold contrasts the black, and the white contrasts everything. Orduna has used a stencil-like image of these guitar players and overlayed it on a somwhat busy background. As they are stark white, they largely contrast the background. The warm colours work well in this piece and suggest a kind of fiery passion. The mood would be quite different if it were created in cool colours. Line is not an element that is used too much in this image, the focus is more on the shape of the guitar players. The focus is drawn straight to the lead guitarist's face because it is quite central and is probably the largest recognisable object in the image. The motley texture of the background creates this mood of mystery, and the grainy paint-splatter texture of the guitarists suggest a sort of grunge-mood which seems to fit the idea of rock musicians.

I don't think this is the official poster for James Cameron's 'Avatar', but this promotional poster begins to give a sense of what the movie will be like. There is a lot of contrast in this image, and our eye is obviously drawn to the lightest point- the spot of sunlight among the trees. Whereas the left side of the poster appears quite dreamy and gentle, the right side and bottom show a harsher, more 'real' depiction of the forest. The colours are largely natural- except perhaps for the golden left-side which seems almost too beautiful to be natural. This suggests that there is something uncanny happening in the forest. This image would be just an ordinary picture of a forest except for the dissecting lines that criss-cross the poster. They're suggestive of some kind of laser technology used for detecting people in the area, and thus the stillness of the image creates a tense mood. The lines of the 'lasers' dissect the sun in the background, creating a primary point of focus. The font used appears quite brash and draws attention to itself as it contrasts the darker background. The stencil-like, flat font seems to suggest something sci-fi. All textures in this poster seem to be the natural textures of a forest.

This poster is promoting a concert featuring 'Queen'. I like the top half of the poster, as there is a good use of contrast and silhouette. However, I believe that there may be too much text in the poster which takes away from it's beauty. Our eye is drawn to the greatest point of contrast- the silhouette of the musician against the background. His silhouette is quite representative of the mantra of 'Queen', as it is quite bold and passionate. The image in grey on the background looks like some kind of royal emblem, which seems to go well with the name 'Queen'. The font used for the title also looks royal, particularly because of the trailing 'Q'. The top portion of the poster looks like a Victorian-punk crossover suggesting the classic influence of Queen.

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