Hi! I’m Ashley.

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Behind the process: Graphic design poster project

Behind the process: Graphic design poster project

In my graphic design class at Franklin College, our final project was to combine the skills we learned about type and visual elements to create an easy-to-read, eye catching promotional poster.

Below are the steps I went through to design the finished product.



The concept centers around an imaginary event called a "cell phone symphony," which would feature music composed via interaction among the audience's cell phones and the performer.

Our first task was to create a random list of 12 phone numbers from around the world, which we would later use to generate the visual imagery for the poster. They could hold some significance to us, or not.

In our sketchbooks, we devised a system for turning those phone numbers into a visual form. For each digit, 0–9, you could use color, size, transparency and so on to distinguish it from the others. For my finished product, I ended up using monochromatic shades of orange to distinguish a zero (lightest shade) from a nine (darkest shade).



We started with experimenting on how our language could be translated to our phone numbers and used as graphic elements on the page.

From our initial language concepts hand-drawn in our sketchbooks, we chose three elements to translate onto the computer with variation. 

I chose to move forward with my third graphic element language, the one using overlapping rings above.

I also picked the third arrangement below, which arranged the numbers from area codes with the hottest temperature up top to the lowest temperature down low.



The next step was to place the required copy — which included the website, show title, artist name and so on — on the page in a way that showed visual hierarchy. We asked ourselves: "What should the audience see first?" and "How can that be conveyed on the poster page at a glance?"

At this stage, we created 15 layouts with various constraints, including restricting font size, color and orientation.

From there, we combined the graphic elements with the text elements and began experimenting with sizing and placement on the page together. I chose to make the phone numbers in areas with the hottest temperatures very large and blown out so they almost entirely bled off the top left corner of the page.

I laid out my graphic phone numbers first and left space to fit in the text with hierarchy. I chose to apply a vibrant orange color scheme, which was a little out of my comfort zone, but looked striking on the printed product.



After some final tweaking to the style of font, spacing and depth of type, I finished my poster.

The final product is below. You can click the image or here to enlarge it and see it in its full glory.


W H A T   I   L E A R N E D

The main idea I took away from this project is that artists like graphic designers can connect their personal experiences — like phone numbers of their friends and family — to create work that is still professional and tells a story. An onlooker would just need a number system key and a short explanation to figure it out.

I also learned that, although this is the third design class I've taken, there is always something to learn and perfect... especially when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone with color, font and style choices, like I did with this project.


Thank you for reading about my project. Expect to see more project explanations in the future.

Until next time! xo. —Ashley


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