Fall 2018
The final product.
The focus of the second C mini project is the hierarchy of content in a graphic design. Without a clear pecking order, the message can be obscured as a viewer tries to decipher and create their own hierarchy (or even worse, ignores the content since eliciting information is deemed too taxing temporally or mentally). In contrast, a well-considered order of content can more effectively deliver a message and be aesthetically pleasing.
The text we were given before any hierarchy is introduced.
Stroke weight, linespacing, margins
The first exercise focused on how typographic variables, including stroke weight, linespacing, and margins affect the perceived hierarchy of text. In four distinct groups, our goal was to alter only one variable at a time to create logical groupings for the content, based on their topic and importance. I tried multiple variations of each variable to see the effects on how the content is read; one thing that I will have to resolve in the future is the relative importance of each line (is division more, less, or equally important compared to date? playwright? address? etc.). In the meantime, below are the variations I have created for this stage of the project.
Stroke weights. Only 2 are to be used. No other modifications to the flush left/rag right text.
Linespacing. Only one linespace is to be inserted between any two lines. 
No other modifications to the flush left/rag right text.
Horizontal shift (2 flush-left margins). No other modifications to the flush left/rag right text.
Horizontal shift (3 flush-left margins). No other modifications to the flush left/rag right text.
The next stage involved using color to promote hierarchy. I first used one color in conjunction with text to explore what elements were most important in the copy.
introducing color
Next, I integrated color behind text as both background and in a colored block to emphasize content.
integrating image in a poster
The final stage integrated image with the text to create a tabloid-sized poster. Throughout this process, I sought to convey a sense of dignity and maturity. Existing posters and promotional content for the Young Playwrights Festival focused too much on the “Young” and “Play” parts of the name through their imagery and typography, I felt.
Existing promotional content for City Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival.
The first image image I used came from a quick 10-minute exercise to find an image that would relate in some way to the theme of the event. I went through my Instagram saved posts and found the below image, which I liked due to its beautiful light and elegant, subdued colors. The image of the girl conveyed the fleetingness of youth while drawing in the viewer with mystery. Additionally, the execution of the photo brought a certain dignity to the content.
I played with integrating the tagline I wrote for the event (“Stories about growing up from the region’s distinguished Young Playwrights”) with the title of the event. This tagline was a result of the play summaries, which all focused on coming-of-age or lifelong lessons. Later, the tagline would play an important role in the final design. Photo by Matthaeus Krenn.
However, the image was somewhat polarizing to those I showed, with comments that the girl’s downward glaze was sad, a loss of youthful energy with subdued colors, or general confusion with the elements of the image. I searched for more images, and the search for an appropriate backdrop was a main focus throughout this portion of the project.
Viewers liked the zigzag composition of the image in conjunction with the text and the ripple effect in the picture; however, I wasn’t partial to the photo. Photo by Jay Sadoff.
I started with a new arrangement of text, stripping away image and color before bringing in abstract backdrops. Photos by VanveenJFThomas Ensley, and Nathan Duck.
This photo was one of the four in contention for the final. It allowed for more flexibility with the type around the page. However, the subject matter may have been too mature and melancholy, while also immediately being associated with Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Photo by Jeremy Bishop.
These were somewhat more experimental studies in imagery. The original image in the left two versions had the black bars, which I used to organize the text. I quickly moved on from this stage. Photos by Tsairrong Shewdavid pl, and Zoltan Tasi.
The direct gaze of the woman grabs one’s attention. I played with text arrangement through variations in alignment, capitalization, and accent color, as well as the juxtaposition of horizontally-linear text with horizontal elements in the image. Photo by angelo mercadante.
I was attracted by the abstract nature of this photograph of a man through diffuse glass. From a distance, the silhouette of a person is immediately obvious, and the colors (both original and edited) draw your attention in. Closer, the human form is less distinct and the linear pattern and vibrancy of color plays a larger role in visual interest. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo.
I sought to capitalize on an aspect of the image on which I built the final poster — a dynamic quality that varies how one reads the subject matter at far and close distances. From left to right and top to bottom, the posters above represent a transformation from presenting the information about the event in a logical but somewhat stale manner (most important: event name, least important: details) to promoting what the event is about. This was accomplished by reintegrating the tagline from earlier. Next in importance is the name of plays and playwrights; last is details like date and address. The intent was for the silhouette and colors, in combination with the tagline, to grab one’s attention at a distance, while the playwrights and plays become apparent at closer proximity.

The fourth poster on the second row above is the version that I brought into in-class critique. Comments I received drove me to begin to escalate the playwrights (farthest right, row 2) and segregate the tagline from the plays/playwrights since the interleaving could be confusing in how one reads the poster. The focus of Young Playwrights Festival is more on the playwrights, who are teenagers, and less on the names of their plays (although still important). The swapping of playwrights’ names and play names in hierarchy, in conjunction with the tagline, reflects this focus.
In bringing the poster to completion, I explored various arrangements and proportions of the tagline to the playwrights/plays. All arrangements of text with this backdrop presented challenges with readability due to the pattern of vertical stripes as well as areas of high contrast, especially in the upper half. I worked around these issues by editing the photo as well as a conscious arrangement and sizing of text.

In order to escalate the name of the event, I explored using darkened rectangles to pull out the lowest text block. The final version (shown at the bottom right) represents, I think, an appropriate balance between tagline, playwrights/plays, and event details while preserving my intent for a highly-dynamic relationship between the image and content.

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