Aural Avalanche – Fringe Festival Poster
The fringe festival that I conceived for this brief is named ‘Aural Avalanche’. My concept for the festival is that spontaneous sounds would be played throughout the Melbourne CBD. I didn’t specify an exact location from which people could come to hear the sounds because they are meant to surprise and alarm people. The date I chose to host the event is on the 21st of December 2012; the date that the apocalypse has been predicted on the Mayan calendar. The playing of weird and foreign sounds from speakers in train stations and out of sewer vents would alarm those who are particularly superstitious on this day. The slogan ‘is the world ending or is it just us?’ plays with people’s uncertainty for the day.
In order to communicate the events that would occur on this day, I chose to create my poster too, in a spontaneous manner. I strategically set out my type in Bebas as it is a bold and loud typeface. The use of only capitals emphasises the message to expect loud sounds. From this, I took to treating my typography in a very unconventional way. I wanted to express the ‘feeling’ of an avalanche without actually reference the literal image of one. In order to do this, I printed off my type composition and rescanned it into my computer. From this, I took a very ‘fringe’ approach and did something not seen in typical designs. I distorted the letterforms by means of moving and scrunching the paper as the scanner was photographing it. The indecipherable set of large characters towards the bottom of the poster seem to reference a hybrid of Mayan and alien coded writing. This technique produced many interesting effects. After over seventy scans, I was able to create the image that was most appropriate.
For me, the process of taking type and distorting it to a point where it becomes an image was an interesting approach. I came to understand different strategies of how to move the paper and what sort of image it would create. The melding of text and image is something that isn’t often seen in typical festival posters. I really wanted to push the boundaries and play with peoples senses. I think that this poster has been effective in this as I have been able to communicate the feeling of the rumble of the ground, havoc and rush of an avalanche.
The main inspiration for this poster came from the idea of sound-waves. I didn’t know how to draw the ‘sound’ or the ‘feeling’ of an avalanche. However, I knew that sound-waves related to the ‘aural’ aspect of the festival. Sound-waves depict the frequency and pitch of sound. In my poster, I aimed to make it look as if a sound-wave is rippling through the poster and distorting the text. The format shape came naturally. In order to remain ‘fringe’ and ‘underground’ I wanted the poster to echo the form that the scanned piece of paper takes. This distorted image of the page works perfectly in the context of a poster because when cut out, it looks as if the sound has had an effect upon what was, a normal poster. The warping of the paper as if it’s creating a vortex references perhaps another dimension or portals – sucking the text in. Flashes of light and differing layers of luminosity create a very surreal aesthetic. The colour choice of a myriad of shades and tints of green against black references a typical sound-wave. Often we see this colour scheme in hospitals, mapping out the BPM of a patient. This dramatic tension of watching the line peak and troth is something that I wanted to evoke in my poster. The strange distortion, blurs and patterns created by the scanner really mirror this uncertainty that I wanted to communicate.
The large A1 format was chosen to emphasize the communication of “BIG SOUND”.
What I learnt from this is that it’s so important to think beyond what we already know and expect. It was interesting to go through the process and keep hitting walls of conventional thought. The way my mind is wired always pushes me towards literal symbolism and representation of the theme at hand. In this brief, I walked away from the designs that I would have done otherwise, no actual avalanches or typographic representations of one.
Being prompted to think of the ‘feeling’ of an avalanche and it’s surrounding connotations was the most challenging thought process I have gone through at University yet. Thinking in such an abstract way was so difficult to me, but I managed to stew on the concepts for a few days and come to the most appropriate solution.
I now know how important it is to really expand my thinking. Brainstorming is crucial. Being able to write down all the connotations and emotions that would be associated with the intial concept allows for wider thinking. By thinking broadly and not just of conventional subject matter allowed me to create such a fresh design. Allowing the viewer to participate in the design and not just feed it to them is something that I want to keep doing.
Eliminating the distinction between ‘typography’ and ‘hero image’ was something that I really enjoyed. It was nice to be able to step away from the image vs. text confrontation that usually exsists in design excited me. Being able to completely abandon this battle and create a design where the two becomes one was something really innovative and interesting. The colour of the typography was so unusual that the line between text and image was blurred. This is creative strategy is something that was so appropriate for this application. Thinking beyond what we normally expect can be so valuable.