I have been researching how to create a grainy effect on Illustrator, since my process is a lil bit vintage, I need something that looks a bit dusty, a bit old school cool. I want to be a little restrained in my use of it, because it could start to look a little kitsch, a little hipster cliche but I think perhaps in some of the shading it would be a cool effect. This tutorial was relatively simple, and talked about how to use gradients (I think gradients can be used as an exception here), gradient meshes and blends. It breaks it down to simple steps and then shows the process of these on a particular illustration. Let the fun ensue.
Looking at todays branding, it seems typography is everything. I even have a friend who chooses where he eats depending on the typography of the signage. As a cinephile I have always been fascinated with how auteurs use a particular typography in their titles, Woody has Windsor and Wes has Futura, it engraves their auteurism in stone. I have been scouring the web for particular fonts that are a pastiche of the past but fit in with the minimal crowd of the modern age. I like simplicity, sans-serif, boldness with a tinge of the theatric, these typographies I feel will represent Houdini e.g Neue Haas Unica, Futura, Normotype.
Since my piece is about a process that took place in the past, I have decided to research complimentary vintage and retro colour palettes. It seems like every graphic designer is using retro inspired colours, since hipster became the new black. There seems to be a pattern of analogous muted colours, the usual suspects seem to be a tangerine or muted burnt orange, subdued teal, charcoals, off-creamy white. I like the idea of using something similar to the Black Lacquer, instead of the average black. Using vintage inspired colours will transport my piece into the historical past, while its trendy mode will root my piece in the present.
Since I am illustrating a theatrical process, I have been thinking about how I am going to make the process look more thespian, a tad more jazzy. I came across this tutorial by Mark Oliver on how to add dimension + vintage grubbiness to plain vectors. It gives a step by step guide. I am not to sure whether I will have the time or the skill to add this to my work, but it is inspirational nonetheless. i love how it makes the vectors look like bygone stage settings, which ties in well with the aesthetic I am trying to achieve. It also brings the vintage look to machinery and contraptions, which is exactly what Houdini’s UPD was like.
I have been looking at various Houdini posters as a source of inspiration for my infographics, but also how artists have transformed vintage aesthetics into fresh, modern graphics. The posters were inspired by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements, both accentuated the use of geometrics, colour blocking, askew angles and bold print.
I have also looked at how graphic designers have appropriated and simplified these styles, in some stunning understated pieces (As seen above). The Black Swan poster inspired by a deco vintage print, is extremely effective in it’s three colour scheme, symmetrical geometrics, simplified shapes and it’s reference to the Rorschach test.
The above are more deco inspired typography, in minimal black and white designs. I think they are fresh, modern with a nod to the past.
I have noticed the resurgence of 60s inspired graphic designs in todays markets, this is kind of congruent with the invasion of the hipster. Since I will be taking some of my research from Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s seminal discussion On Death and Dying published in 1969, I thought it would be good to integrate 60s graphics that have a timeless appeal and ‘hip’ presence in modern graphics. As a pastiche of the past, I will be riding on the ghost inheritance of nostalgia. Here are a few things I have noticed looking at these graphics, especially the work of Saul Bass.
There seems to be an exquisite balance between simplicity, attained through colour blocking, minimal use of colour, stripped-back graphics and a deeper complexity since many 60s graphics were the product of a rediscovered interest in psychology. Saul Bass in particular was heavily influenced by Gestalt Psychologists so his graphics were often fragmented, disembodied– relying on the viewer to piece together the parts. Incorporating a style inspired by Gestalt principals will be appropriate in showing decomposition and the psychological state of grief. The pervading presence of circular shapes and spirals in 60s graphics will nicely tie into my idea of the circularity of death and grief.