There comes a time or two when every aspiring artist faces an opportunity to showcase his or her artistic talents to an audience, be it an exhibition or such. In my case, I was granted the opportunity to work as the designer for our high school production, the infamous 1980 musical, “Xanadu“. For those who haven’t seen or heard of it, its about an aspiring Californian artist named Sonny Malone, who is visited by an attractive muse (a.k.a Greek goddess of inspiration), named Clio and is shown how to fulfill his artistic dreams and open a roller disco. However, Clio is constantly hampered from discovering true love by her two jealous sisters, Melpomene and Calliope who cast a forbidden spell to make Clio fall in love with Sonny which may result to possible banishment to the underworld. In other words, its basically a roller disco about forbidden love.
My first job as the designer was to produce a set of poster to introduce the musical a month before the actual showing. Of course, concepts for designs don’t come as quickly as I’d like, so I first did some online research on minimalist movie posters. Since the musical was about roller discos, I wanted to use a simple picture of a roller skate to not only show what its about, but to also keep things interesting and mysterious for the audience. Here’s a couple of drafts I came up with during this stage using Photoshop:
*The background colour for Fig.3 should be darker but due to technical issues, it appears lighter here.
I personally liked Fig 1, however, after further drafting, the skate seemed a bit too old and worn out for the poster so I scavenged the internet for a better looking shoe instead. I tried replacing the image of the skate with the words “Xanadu” but instead it gave me the opposite of the desired effect as it made the poster messier/unorganized with too many words. After hunting for high quality pictures on creative commons, I found the perfect picture on Flickr of a white skate with red wheels by Roberto41144 and promptly substituted it into the poster. I also tried adding wings and motion lines behind the skate for a fast, angelic roller skate effect:
Further details in the highlights and arrangements led the final roller skate poster as seen below. I was amazed by the amount of drafting that was required for one single poster as I initially underestimated the workload.
This, however, was just the beginning of a whole series of posters, tickets, and programs all due before the showing in January. After the roller skate design, my next task was to incorporate the main characters into the poster. Originally I was supposed to create six posters featuring the cast, yet due to the limited time constraint, the posters were minimized to two designs; one with the protagonists Kira and Sonny, and another with Kira, Sonny, and Danny (another main character).
After that, creating the tickets and programs weren’t as difficult as I thought. Sure it took time to edit and adjust all of the text and pictures, but I really enjoyed the overall experience of contributing to the show through designing. I’m actually satisfied with how the program turned out in the end, although there were many last minute editing I had to do. It still turned out to be a memorable experience and a great practice for future.