Friday, August 29, 2008


It's always a lot of fun when you get asked to do something that's not really your regular thing. This time and art-director working on a job for KPMG (the big accountants firm) was looking for a Art Deco style poster, and through my agent he came to me.

He needed me to do a poster for an event taking place in Dubai. The poster was part of a larger campaign also involving a website and flyers etc. The concept behind the campaign was based on the story of the genie in the lamp.
I was asked to the typography and the illustration and also provide some additional art-work for the website.

Here's the breakdown.
As always, I started with a nice bit of sketching. The artdirector had provided me with a very quick sketch to show me the basic idea and based on that I did some more detailed and realistic sketches for all the seperate items.

When this was approved I started working on an even more detailed pencil version of the thing. And from this I went straight to illustrator. In the work I am usually asked to do I would first ink the pencils and then color it in photoshop and/or illustrator. But this time it needed to be all quite straight and sort of cubist, so no need for nice flowy brush strokes.

This is the background, only a fragment of which is visible in the poster, but was needed for the website.

The artdirector was looking for the grainy texture which are characteristic for those old art deco prints. I would have like have achieved this by using scanned in textures made with charcoal or chalk pastels, but there wasn't really the time. So I administered some photoshop trickery which came close enough (click the pic for a larger view).

Then there was the typography. There aren't that many strong Art Deco inspired typefaces, but one very good one is the Duiker which incidently is designed by my friend Paul van der Laan of Type Invaders.

So that took care of the smaller type, but I wanted to draw something custom for the big eye-catcher "Dubai". It went through a few phases, I did a sketch and the idea was to have the lettering to move along with the shape of the top of the window. This in hindsight might nor have been the best of ideas, I have to admit. It sort of works, but not quite. De 'D' gets in the way and needs to have the strong vertical on the left (otherwise it looses to much legibility) so that makes it very hard to squeeze in the onion shape of the window.
And not trying to squeeze it in left the lettering somewhat out of balance... anyway this is what the lettering went through. If I would have to do it again I think I would not have tried to have the lettering to follow the window shape and just lay it on top of it, more independently. But again the time constraints...

And here's the finished result of the poster (click the pic for a closer look).

1 comment:

Eric said...

Hey Martijn,

I'm loving your work!!!
I've been dying to find a way to reproduce that grainy effect for an art deco poster... can you Please, PLEASE, PPPLLLEEAAASSSE share your secret! (lemme's something obvious, i'll kick myself for right?)...