Poster Design - Using Only Typography | Lindsay Marsh | Skillshare

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Poster Design - Using Only Typography

teacher avatar Lindsay Marsh, Over 500,000 Design Students & Counting!

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Preview


    • 2.

      Let's Get Started


    • 3.

      Colors and Shadows


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Creating Different Versions


    • 6.

      Cross Check your Spelling!


    • 7.

      Bonus - How It Ended Up


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About This Class

This class follows my raw unedited design process, creating a poster using only Typography.

This intermediate level course will guide you through this poster creation with all the details left in. Knowing the struggles of how to place items and objects and how to figure out placement is a huge part of learning design, I wanted to create a course with a challenge too, when we place limitations on designs, which happens all the time in the real world, we learn to overcome limitations to create something truly unique.  

This class comes with a challenge, can you create a poster using only type? Watch this course and get some ideas for tackling your class project.

So, join with me on this design journey!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lindsay Marsh

Over 500,000 Design Students & Counting!


I have had many self-made titles over the years: Brand Manager, Digital Architect, Interactive Designer, Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Social Media Expert, to name a few. My name is Lindsay Marsh and I have been creating brand experiences for my clients for over 12 years. I have worked on a wide variety of projects both digital and print. During those 12 years, I have been a full-time freelancer who made many mistakes along the way, but also realized that there is nothing in the world like being your own boss.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to be able to take classes at some of the top design schools in the world, Parsons at The New School, The Pratt Institute and NYU. I am currently transitioning to coaching and teaching.

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Class Preview : this'll class follows my raw, unedited design process, creating a poster using only typography. This intermediate level course will guide you through this poster creation with all the details left. Knowing the struggles of how it please items and objects and how to figure out placement is a huge part of learning. I wanted to create a force challenge to when we place limitations on design. What happens all the time in the real world way learned to overcome limitations to create something truly unique. This class comes with a challenge. Can you create a poster using only type? Watch this course and get some ideas for tackling your own class project. So let's learn together. 2. Let's Get Started: e thought I'd do a raw design process video for you, where I do a poster deciding to do a typographic type of typography only poster design. I can't use any photography of any new shapes type, but that's it. So I thought it had to go through my brainstorming process. How I think through this stuff, I just kind of capture of the role process I go through and I'm thinking through how to do something. Ah, challenge like this. Let's go ahead and begin. I'm gonna grab course type because this is the only thing we can use for this poster design . It's kind of a challenge. So I think I was gonna do typography. So it's gonna type out the word Thai pa graffiti. I could spell it correctly and make it a little bit larger. I'm just going to start to think, Okay, this is a poster. I kind of wanted to be dramatic. So what's going to make it a black background? And I'm not gonna do a stark white I'm gonna kind of have it be really subtly dark gray. So just adding a little bit of white and maybe just do some high contrast, I have these colors out here, but who knows that that's what I want to use. So let's get some font selections. Kind of the tried and true Helvetica was kind of stick with that. We we may end up changing it after a while, but there's several things we can do here to make this a dramatic poster so it can angle it . And we could have Tei Pau Griffey got a break it up where you sound sounded Also, Taipa graph roughy. That doesn't quite break up How I'd like So that could be What I want to do is zoom out kind of do some basic blocking, so I kind of make sure I have everything how I want it. I really want a bolder version. So I'm just gonna do bold Um, Helvetica Another thing we can do is we can break out, Let me just copy and paste. So I get that back at a right angle. There we go, because you can also do it where it goes down like this iPod fog grab. Of course, you have that kind of why that's hanging out all by itself. Do why we must do all caps. Think the lower case. I'm losing it when it's separated. When there's a lot of spaceman between all caps, your lower case, you kind of lose it. It seems disconnected, so that could be a thing. I can probably kern this or kind of adjust this so it's more center than than how it issued . How that P is not really aligning great with, though, and go back and mess with that. We could put these in boxes, but like a stroke around it. So what I did is they broke everything down into individual layers. So each character, it has its own layer so I can go ahead and kind of move these around a little bit better and have more control. So I'm trying to think about how I'm going to do this. I think maybe he might be having smaller type, doing something with lots of whitespace that might look really neat, of course, playing around with fart waits as well so we could play around, have some contrast it to in these columns. I hate how it some odd there's tapestry seven characters instead of a nice even amount. So you know we could figure something out, but I want to make sure it's still readable. Ineligible? It's almost wonder if I could do t do something really interesting. I kind of have him stagger down. I almost wonder if I can try out like a geometric. Um, typeface. I don't see what I have here. Since we have fatture I Do's the Geometric. They would go Scot, see how it's geometric cause it's got that perfect round. Those Google uses a similar geometric want. This has a nice properties to it. I thought it would be easier to work with. It's kind of placing these where I think would be kind of an interesting mix, really a rhyme or reason. Just seeing what feels right. See, that looks like it looks like an Arnold. Why put together? But I don't really Yeah, that looks like a are. So let me move this over here and then only let's put some nice white spacing. Let's also make that fatture put some wide spacing between it. Very, very dramatic. Let's do like 2000. I have that just be a little element down here. It's make that even more dramatic. Let's make it 3000 the T could be stronger. That's the beginning of the word. Maybe if I brought everything Saturday, - played around with I at that idea of starring staggering the letters and that just wasn't liking the way it felt. So I decided to switch my approach to make kind of a unified type where they were all connected somehow and still be readable. So I found kind of this neat way The G kind of connects in the o kind of connect. So I'm just gonna keep working with that and see what happens. So I may have to go and noodle around with some of these connections. You'll see here how the slant are the arm of this, why in the lay or the leg of the R and the arm of the why they're not quite consistent. So I might just need to kind of draw my own with pen tool kind of adjust that so it does look like it's consistent. Um, and I hate how these aren't joined together. I wish I could spread this out a little bit and just make it work. But either that or I make it kind of conjoined here and have kind of this really interesting shapes and curves there. So I'm liking how this is blocking out. I can even take this empty space here and maybe put my only somewhere in there had such a dramatic spacing Here. Look, I know what I could do. I'm going to separate these into separate layers Are different objects, not really layers but objects so I can manipulate those a little better. So now that I have kind of my basic blocking set up, I kind of had my concept ready. I wanted to kind of balance everything out a little bit more. So instead of having everything so close to the edge is it feels a little bit overwhelming , a little bit anxious, so I'm just gonna kind of make everything a little bit smaller. We have lots of margin, lots of white space. It just adds kind of a really nice finishing touch to the graphic. This is when I get a zoom out, gonna change the poster to make it a little bit longer. I think it's a little bit too wide, and I want to be able to have some kind of angle in here. This is kind of got a nice is really fitting nicely into the square. Eso let's go and kind of fine tune this emblem and then we can continue to kind of mess with the lay out a little bit more in the blocking. I was putting more dramatic spacing between this. Only letters with it fill out this negative space a bit more for this empty space picture. That's and I'm gonna put that on the layer, Go to my layers layers panel and I'm gonna make my life a little easier. Go ahead and copy and paste this black layer. Send it to the back and lock it so that I don't have toe worry about moving it all the time . Okay, great. Now my life is gonna be a lot easier. We continue to work on the spacing here. I think it could be even more dramatic trying to do contemporary art piece a little bit different approach when it comes to design. Kind of break the rules a little more than you can with traditional advertising. Okay, so now let's get these lines a little better. So it's kind of zoom in quite a bit. Let's get everything to match up really nicely. And I may need to do this. The copy. Everything kind of saved this whole thing. So before I create outlines now, I'm gonna create outlines. Now, I can go in and kind of have some fun with this. Okay, So now I could take the direct selection tool legis around. 3. Colors and Shadows: the way things were going, kind of like an offset their to stop so many intersecting lines. That would be neat. Kind of ad a soft in that angle a little bit just often it Yeah, that looks nice. Not so pointing. He probably softened all of these angles. I wanted to that that looks nice. Just softening, taking the direct selection tool This cut up, grabbing that little icon, adding some Kercher's to my You can always go back in our history and find out if we liked what we did or not. So that's after Let's go and save it. And this is before that's before. Let's go back to what we had. There we go. That's after noodle around placement. I do like the rounded edges kind of softens it. Now I'm gonna play with color. What I'd like to do is do a low contrast, so I'm gonna pick, go ahead and highlight my background, and I'm just gonna It's at just a tiny bit of white. Gives it more of a dramatic effect that way, doesn't it? Perhaps he only could be a shade lighter, maybe even lighter than that. Maybe even something really dramatic like yellow. This whole thing could be yellow in. This is where we could really play around here. Wow, that's actually kind of cool. We need to have kind of Ah, a grunge effect, too. On top of this. Well, let's continue. I would love to see if I can't overlap these somehow show you how added some shadows gives it a layered effect. Right now, I'm just continuing to add shadow elements, just kind of flat objects that I'm kind of doing with the pin tool. Is it reflective? Cast shadows from now point, where have two different versions. I have one with cash shadows and I have one words all connected and I played around with the coloring a little bit, so I just went up. I highlighted everything I went to, Ah, see edit edit colors. And I just played around with the adjust color balance so I can adjust the shadows, the shadow, little layers and also the character letters. At the same time, I don't have to sit there and try to adjust everything manually. I could just kind of play around with coloring really quickly find what I like. What kind of settled on the steeper red. Of course, this probably needs to be neutral now, so we're starting to get there. I think I do like it. I might even make it more, more dramatic of cash shadow. Let's see how that looks. We just could extend it out, maybe double the width of the last shadows and see if it could be. Right now. I really like it, but I can't really see it as well. It's It's very subtle, so it could make it more dramatic. That's the whole point is to make this poster kind of a dramatic piece toe look at, So anything we can do to kind of drop it ties what we're doing. It was doubling everything, and everything is not perfect yet. Get there at the last stage. I'm still in the concept process, and you know what? I can probably draw shadows there, too. Totally missed that opportunity, doubling everything. And I think that was the last shadow so that I actually like it with more subtle shadows. So that's OK. That's why we experiment. So let me add that shadow here. I think there's opportunity and our shadows cast here to the left, so Why don't we stick to the left of the A here for our shadow? Take our direct selection tool to go ahead and sample that darker color. I could see where I can adjust my shadows a little better for the other ones. Make it aligned perfectly. Might need at a curve to that, too. There. Okay, then up here, I saw some adjustments I could make. Make that flush might even be able to bring this inside, though, and then put the on. But as the top player, let's do that. So you get a nice, perfect shape. There we go. And that curve needs to be slightly adjusted. Doing small optical adjustments. Let's make that a little thicker that just a tiny bit thicker. Great, so that all the shadows makes sense. Um, we may not need all the shadows kind of like this one gone. It's not sure. Wide, just like that. Bring that up a hair. Make sure these are aligned. Since gonna do a top alignment, make sure these air perfectly aligned down at the bottom. I think those already optically aligned that Let's make sure these air aligned Yep, that is all lined toward the top. I could probably put I think there is a shadow there, but it got covered up when I adjust. Yet there is a shadow there. So when you arrange or select next object below, there it is. Just could arrange to bring him back to the front. Very is what I was missing the shadow. Okay, it's going to save it. I'd love to get kind of a neat kind of worn out look to it, because right now it looks really clean, and I like that. But be neat at a texture or something on top of this, So I'm gonna go search for some textures and I'll be right back. 4. Texture: So I found this texture ATP Exel's dot com And I'm free to use this, however it like. So I went ahead and drag this over. Could go and bring it to the front. See if I can't apply a transparency setting on here that could make it look really need with the red underneath. I love that kind of texture. Let's keep playing around overlay hard light. Ah, see who that need that need grainy texture. Look at that. That is so cool. Okay, I really like that. All right, Luminosity multiply, boo multiply. Looks nice. I might need to adjust my color underneath. So it's not mass too much. Yeah, I think I like multiply because that is one option for texture. I found another one want to check out Could always use multiple textures to create your own unique texture. You don't have to use just one. Create several different blends of different ones to create your own blend. Do the same thing to keep this on top because I want the letters to show through with texture. Let's go ahead of cycle through some Ooh, yeah, I like that a lot, but it gets a little overwhelming. So let's cycle through and see if there's something softer color saturation. Okay, but that's interesting. So overlay. But let's eyes that the one I liked overlay or was it color burn? I think it waas overlay or heart are hard light, hard light. There it is. But back it off a little bit transparency, and I wonder if the background texture was going to select the next one underneath. This is that other texture we worked with. I'm just gonna kind of reduce the transparency there that will help brighten up the red kind of getting a look here. See if I can't drag that kind of there so it doesn't bother me. Cow. Figure all that out later. So let's go ahead and save it. I'd like where we're going and say, this is 1/3 generation. It aeration is just a fancy word for version to go and save that. I feel like it's almost too dark. I need to have something pop out here, but that will be easy for us to pick out when we go and take our I need to go ahead and take our two textures and cut those out and form a new layer, so those don't bother us. Lock it. It's now we just have or one layer with the type on it, so I could go ahead and drag this around freely. Let's go ahead, make sure we have the right space in here. Between this and this, that's pretty pretty close. We also want to have similar spacing here and here, and we don't. So let me kind of do some adjustments. Bring ups. Looks like I didn't grab a shadow layer. We don't cry. Just group that make it easier for me to ship down. So now you know, we could play around a little bit more with, um, you know, some shapes. You could just take a box here. Now that we have our texture layer on top, it'll go ahead and apply or texture layer. So this is where we could usar designers I to catch things that we think would look neat. Maybe some that's a vertical shapes there. Player on with an angle here, just playing around with sizing to see Ooh, that looks neat. There's so many different versions. I might make three or four different versions and kind of put it out on my Facebook group, my student Facebook group, and see who see kind of have, ah, poll which version they like as I have a hard time. I can create 20 different versions of a design because I don't know which one I like better . Well, I like making that orange, cause that really pops out. Let's play around with color here. I almost wonder. What if I selected every other one and applied a different darker color or lighter color was gonna go to edit colors and adjust color balance? Do it this way. Click on preview. Wow, very interesting. So I'd have to adjust that shadow. But that looks need to Let's go to edit colors, just color brown sleep. I can't brighten it up. That would look good at all. Kind of. What do you guys think before? After I do worry about using pink, I don't want it to look feminine, but I don't want to look masculine. I wanted to kind of be gender neutral. So just color balance, just kind of finding. I mean, I like the pink Wow, let us soap, right? Look at that. That takes on a whole new look, doesn't it? This could be a nightclub poster at that. That kind of bright neon pink. Just amazing how colors really change the mode, the mood and the tone of a peace, doesn't it? I'm gonna just continue to play. Let's go ahead and save different versions and can just play around, and we know we have. Our other version is safe, so we can feel free to kind of play around more. I'm wondering if I can frame this somehow, and it's There's so much empty space on the top of the bottom. I don't know if there's anything I could do, like a little shape, kind of frame it a little bit, but not overwhelm. It's gonna be a thin line. It's kind, helps frame. It helps make it more of us. Grounded as the square before, it looked a little right heavy, but with this kind of anchoring lines, it kind of brings it together. It's kind of one square is opposed, a kind of a lopsided shape. We could make these any color 5. Creating Different Versions: so when you don't know what color choices you want or variations or it orations, this is where the art board system comes in handy and illustrator. So it's gonna get a file documents set up and go ahead and get my edit art boards. I'm gonna go here and just create a couple of new art board areas. Let's create 26 It is good. Zoom out, going to movies around, get the right layout. Others are perfectly even. So go ahead and get that done, and I would start making different variations of this in terms of color to see which one I think I like. 6. Cross Check your Spelling! : 7. Bonus - How It Ended Up : so I wanted to do an extra lesson to kind of show you where I ended up. In the end, I showed you kind of my role process of sitting down and doing this step by step. But I spent another hour after kind of finishing the videos, and I wanted to kind of finesse it a little bit kind of at the final version. And I just wanted to talk about how I ended up at this version. Um, because it is a little bit different. What I distended up deciding to do is eliminate the only word and just mess with the work typography. Just in case. I wanted to apply this to products, Um, and not just talk about the class course name, but kind of expanded and be able to use this another items. And so I kind of got rid of the only and I kind of took the p and the why I have the the why and the are kind of touching here. So I kind of have this nice, centred kind of alignment all the way down, and I also what I wanted to do instead of doing the shadows, I wouldn't actually cut out holes between our kind of open spaces Between the letters toe look like they're kind of interacting a little bit. So what I did is I took my shadows and actually took the shape builder tool, which is right here actually teach a class on the shape builder tool. Our have lessons on that. So you guys should be aware of that. And I went ahead and drew an object, and I went ahead. And did this subtract, which you just hold down the option key when you have an object to subtract and I'll go ahead and do this real quickly on the older version so I can show you. Um And that's kind of how I created the little empty looks like negatives, negative space, basically between these areas. Um, so that's kind of how I ended up with this. I also duplicated, um, this and was able to replicate, like, a little background, and I just screened it back or reduce the transparency to kind of create a little bit of a texture while still are we using type? Um, so I continued, That's kind of how I expanded the design so it didn't look like it was sitting in empty space. Kind of added a little bit of a just something in the background. Taconic give the I some focus. So that's how I ended up at this. Also played around with colors a little bit, as you can see. Here, let me hop in to the ritual one and show you how I did the shape builder tool. Just if you're really curious about how he did that. All right. So for those curious about how use the Schapelle of tool on this original one we worked on . So this is the original design. It's gonna remove that texture both layers. And right now, I kind of have a shadow, which is just kind of a medium grey solid color. And what I'm gonna do isn't to make that a different color. So I know where it's gonna punch out. I was gonna make sure it expands all the way beyond this little point. Used to make sure it doesn't leave any extra residue. And I gotta go ahead and take her shape. Builder tool. Here it is. Go ahead and select our objects first. Actually, when you select my t, I'm gonna punch this out of the T this shape. Go ahead. It's like this as well. So I selected the red object and the object below. Take our shape, builder tool. And then I'm gonna hold down. Option. I believe it's all on the windows. Nuns gotta delete all the red parts. And I've left over with an extra space. And I did that with all the remaining shadows to kind of create a negative space of shadow and supposed to just having a shadow shape. You can go back in and finesse some of these corners a little bit. So have that corner. Just delete that and continue to mess with that throughout the piece. That's how I end up with final