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Geary’s Package

Landmark Design Poster

Emily Luce Posters


mer Ale m u S ’s y Gear

e g a k c a esign


Every year, the D.L. Brewing Company in Portland, Maine

holds it’s “Geary’s Summer Ale” competition. Any Maine College of Art student regardless of their major or even intended major can enter. Students design a packaging for the labels, six pack and twelve pack cases for the Summer Ale. The best packaging concept is decided and the winner recieves $5000 cash and their design is used the next summer for the Geary’s Summer Ale.

The contest aside, it is still a great opportunity to create a

packaging for client despite the fact that it is mostly hypothetical. Designing for a beer company comes with endless options. If one considers how many alcohol companies are around, all selling extremely similar products, they rely heavily on their designs and marketing to sell their products. For this reason, the number approaches one can take designing for a beer company has the sky as a limit.

2013 Submission In the fall of 2012, I submitted a design from a photo I took on the ferry out to Peak’s Island. This was my first semester at Maine College of Art, and I had learned how to use InDesign a week before it was due. I used what little knowledge of typography from my GD 101 class and applied it to my photograph.

The design took home second place in the competition.

One year later, I could better look at the designs faults and strengths, and know how to translate them into future designs. I enjoyed the color scheme and forms of the photograph for my 2013 submission, and even the letter forms were nice and nicely put together. I noticed that the text did not stand out. When designing a package of any type, the branding must jump off the shelves. The text sat well within the clouds and the blue background, just too well. I knew for future designs I must ensure the branding stands out first and foremost.

Brainstorming Process

I knew I wanted to base my designs on a similar concept

for the 2013 design, using a combination of photography and typography. Although a simple concept, it is still an extremely open-ended one.

I first began looking through all my photographs from

recent summers that seemed to exemplify the idea and feelign of summer. Many of my pictures were from leading wilderness trips at a camp, and while this was my idea of summer, I needed to keep in mind I was intending on bringing a feeling of summer to the public. I knew I wanted to bring a feeling of Maine as much as I could, but also find photographs that were neutral enough that say someone in Ohio could enjoy as much as someone who grew up in Portland Maine. I selected several pictures I felt were apprapriate, that also had interesting, graphic forms within that the type could work with.



Geary’s summer

Geary’s summer ale

summer ale


summer ale


GEAmRerYa’lS e sum


The other half of the process was picking out typefaces

and deciding how to arrange those typefaces. Before even applying the type to the photographs, I experimented with different layouts for the text “Geary’s Summer Ale.” I tried to stick with standard typfaces such as Impact, Britannic, Futura and Georgia. At the same time I experimented with more playful, illustrative typefaces, but found I could better fit simple, standard typfaces with detailed, graphic images.

Design #1

My first design was the closest to a play off of my 2013

design. I wanted to take my successes from the past design and fix the weaknesses. I edited the photo in a similar way, giving it a more vintage theme without losing interesting colors. I wanted to give it a very distinct pallet as I did with my 2013 submission, focusing on making sure the photograph was appealing and more colorful and graphic than a realistic photograph.

I used a photograph I took of the Eastern Promenade trail

on the Portland waterfront. It had elements that people not familiar with Portland could enjoy such as the ocean, sailboats and a rocky shore. At the same time it had elements that people familiar with Portland could notice, such as Fort Gorgeous and the islands in the background. The yellowish sky provided a backdrop that would help the text really stand out, a hurdle

’ s y r a e G mmer E suDE IN MAINE AL MA

I struggled with in my previous design.

With the layout of the typeface, I wanted to give it a

look that would fit the photograph and the way it was editted. My top priority was readability so I chose a bold san-serif. The way I chose to arrange it gave it a vintagey look that matched the photo, in a bold, almost slogan like layout. I placed it against the background of the sky, giving the top half of the packaging a dynamacy that would balance the complexity of the water and rocky shore. Of the three designs I created for the 2014 design contest, this was the simplest, most a simple punch in the face as far as it’s presentation. It is a package that is designed to last with its bold simplicity balanced with an interesting but solid photograph that could appeal to a wide audience.

Design #2 My second design was based on a more playful, active image with a good deal of color and action. With this package design I wanted to capture the feeling of summer refreshment, a feeling that can be applied through a crashing was just as much as a cold beer. I chose an image from several years back up at Reid State Park near Bath, ME. As far as editting the photograph, I increased the saturation to a point that the colors jump out at you before the forms do. It has an essence of summer in its texture and color.

The typeface and layout of the text I wanted to display a

lot of movement, almost as if the letters were splashing out of the wave.

’ R GSE Y S A ummer ALE

I chose a typeface on the bolder side, Copperplate Gothic Bold, something that has a distinct effect of jumping off the shelves. It also had serifs and sharp structure that would set it aside from the softness of the forms of the image.

For colors, I chose colors that stay in theme with summer,

cut contrasted the highly saturated colors of the image. For the same reason, I made the color of the type faded.

Design #3 MY third design was based the most on texture. When I think of summer, I without a doubt think of a cold swim and then lying out on a sun-warmed beach towel. That is what inspired this design. As an added plus, if someone has a blue beach towel, they can place their six pack on it and it will blend in so you don’t get hassled by lifeguards cruising by on 4-wheelers on an alcohol free beach.

The image of the towel also had waves and curved forms

that would be great for the type to fit with. I began to play with letterforms to fit and contrast with the image.

’ y S r Geaumme

s ALE r

Once I had the letterforms in place, I put them in white first. I noticed that the white fit in with the image, but it did not stand out. I took the texture of the towel, changed the color and then placed it back on the text. This made it pop while giving it a consistancy.

For this project, we had to design an informative poster based on a movement or moment in the history of graphic design that introduced a new idea or changed the way people thought about design. The options are literally endless, from the WPA posters to the creation of the grid in book design.

I knew that I wanted to choose something that would get

me off the computer and back outside working with my hands. I began research with that in mind, looking for a subject that would enable me to have the design process I wanted.

I then thought of the works of Stefan Sagmeister, and de-

cided I wanted to structure my posters around him and his unique style. The problem I had initially was actually zeroing in on what specifically it is about him that is so groundbreaking. Then I discovered it was right in front of my face, and it was along exactly what I wanted to do regarding process.

Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister is known for his design style as well as his unique business tactics and powers of self promotion. When looking at the work and presentation of the work of Sagmeister, I found myself questioning if he was in fact a designer or an artist. This concept became the basis for the poster.

The landmark moment I wanted to highlight regarded a

more current aspect of the design world. Graphic designers used to work strictly with their hands, using letter presses and photography to generate their products for clients. With the introduction of computers and design programs, graphic designers working with their hands has become a novelty and percieved as obselete. Sagmeister is a designer that very much still uses off screen skills and heavily relies on personal research and development to translate into his client based work.

A good amount of Sagmeister’s fame has come from his

personal projects and professional development tactics. I wanted to base the theme of the poster on his “Things I Have Learned” project, which involved simply put slogans displayed in photos of sculptural, hand made typography. I came up with several simply put slogans to illustrate Sagmeister’s groundbreaking achievements. I first decided on “Personal, non-client based work can inspire,” intending to highlight Sagmeisters success creating and promoting personal work. The problem with this slogan was that it was not interesting or intreguing enough to draw in a viewer to read the fine print. I then decided on “graphic designers walk a fine line,” choosing to highlight the fact that Sagmeister, as well any other graphic designer walks a fine line between being a designer and an artist.

My inital idea was to illustrate the type by hand drawing

them on people’s bodies. The idea came from a poster that Sagmeister made for an AIGA event in which he had carved the text into his body.

For me, the process of putting type on a body represents

the bridge between a graphic designer who works on the computer and an artist who uses their hands. Type is something you find primarily in the world of industry, on computers and letterpresses. When its put on skin, it takes a graphic designers eye for type and places it in the relm that would commonly be recognized as dominated by artists.

Using sharpie, Jon Novak and I wrote on peoples bodies,

only able to finish three of the six words in one night. We took pictures of the finished products and I placed them into the grid I had laid out for the poster.

Only half done, I really enjoyed how the poster was turning out visually. The black and white photographs were very graphic and enabled the text to be the first thing to jump out. This made the slogan as a whole read clearly, which above all is the primary objective.

I found myself at a point where I had to choose if I want-

ed to continue with the theme of drawing on people or shift to something else. I realized the only problem with creating the poster only with type on skin was that the message was getting lost. While I wanted to highlight the bridge between the comupter and physically creating something hand made, I was creating a direct link between graphic design and skin. This was putting a spot light on tattoo artists more than generating sculptural, hand made type as Sagmeister did. I decided that each of the words had to be created out of different mediums so that the theme would be sculptural handmade type instead of simply type on skin.

Heading back to the drawing board so to speak, I went out and

began to experiment and explore. I knew I needed each word to be illustrated in a distinctly different way, all along the lines of being hand made to some extent. I scribbled on dart board chalk boards, picked up and arranged leaves and sticks, pretty much just experiementing with things I found as I wandered around Portland.

It being the peak of autumn, the A came faily naturally. I created

a large san-serif “A” on the grass by bunching the leaves on the ground.

The “Fine” was a fairly simple process as well, simply carving the

letters out of green leaves that were still intact with the tree. The negative space gave the text a nice way of standing out with the green of the fresh leaves against the dead ones.

The “walk” was a bit of a more complicated process. I found a

large clump of thorn bushes that had been tossed aside. It was a suprisingly easy material to form. The thorn branches were still somewhat green, so they could be bent

without snapping. The thorns also made it easy to shape the letters and get them to stay in place. I shaped most the word on the ground before placing it in a green tree to give it a backdrop that would make it stand out. Once it was in the tree, I continued to add more and more sticks to make the letters a little bolder so that they would not get lost in the branches of the tree. My hands got completely destroyed, but the word got made.

Considering the majority of my words were made from

natural resources, I wanted to make the last two from materials that would balance them out. For the “line,� I took a few pages of color samples I had, cut them into letterforms, and put an adhesive on the back. I then placed them on a dumpter in a back alley that was covered in marker graffiti. When I had returned home, the late afternoon sun was flowing perfectly through the windows, so I placed letterforms on the windows to make words from shadows.

The final poster I did in full color, wanting to show off the beauty of the photos, not limiting them simply to the forms they displayed. Looking at the final product, I really enjoy the words’ immediate read. For future projects, I would enjoy making similar posters, but with longer slogans and sentences. With clean readability, people can read linear sentences easily while being interested by each individual photo. This could create a unique visual stimulation. It could be a way of activating a persons subconcious in a fun way, slipping into auto-pilot and pull words from series of photographs. It could also be an interesting technique to use to place messages to have people see subconciously; that people couldnt help but read.

Canadian artist Emily Luce’s most recent project involves the creation of a miniature, functioning house

Visiting Artist

Emily Luce Workshop


On October 7th, artist Emily Luce ran a workshop on design and brainstorming process for the graphic design students at MECA. Some of her key brainstorming strategies included forms of walking meditation. This carried over into a brainstorming process that included discovering an idea in our heads, and (physically) taking a step forward as a sign of confidence in our ideas and a demonstration of the initiative to pursue the ideas.

Some of the questions she asked included “What is worth

waking up for?” “to you, what is far out?” and “What do you wish you had more of?” With each question, we would take a few seconds to ponder, write our answers down, and take a step forward to show our confidence in our answers. At the end of this first phase of the workshop, we were left with pages of concepts, ideas and sayings that we could put into work. The next step was to take this information and physically put it to use in a project.


Inspiration One of Emily Luce’s questions was “What do you find baffling?” I didn’t even think for 10 seconds before something extremely obvious popped into my head.

Every morning when I leave my apartment, every afternoon and evening when I return, I am surrounded by the people of Eastland Park. Bums, homeless, blue collar workers, and crippled veterans all sit on park benches chain smoking cigarettes they found on the ground, and chatting in front of Paul’s Food before redeeming the returnable cans and bottles that they pulled from public trash cans. As I come and go from my apartment, I am immersed in their presence, filled with pleas for money and aggitated swearing and complaining. After witnessing this on a daily basis for almost a year and a half now, I discovered one very curious thing. The homeless, crippled vietnam veterans in wheelchairs often complain and appear much more positive than those blue collar workers and employees of Paul’s I see come outside for a smoke break. These workers and employees have a job and a home, but still stand around on the sidewalk yelling and complaining more than anyone else. The most common expression I hear is without a doubt “’s just fucking bullshit.” I hear this at least 3 times a day outside my apartment. This expression in particular indicates that these people feel like they have been taken advantage of others and that they are less empowered. Of course this enfuriated me because they are shouting this out 25 feet from the silent old homeless man sitting in a manual wheelchair with no legs and one arm.

I found myself making discoveries about people’s subcon-

cious human nature, and with my posters I wanted to physically put into print these discoveries. Most times concepts and ideas float about in the air in peoples thoughts and conversations, but putting something into physical print gives it a significantly more concrete voice. I wanted the voice of these posters to be strong, clear and straight forward, almost propaganda-esk. The main intention of the posters was to bluntly place a concept into peoples minds and help their general presentation of themselves and interactions with others more considered.



My initial sketches were on the blunt side, ordering peo-

ple to realize their behaviors so that they may change. People do not respond to being barked at, and the more people can discover for themselves, the more powerful the message is. The text then shifted from orders to simple facts. The posters would state facts and leave it up to the viewer what to do with this new information they just had planted in their head. I worked with three different slogans I had decided on: “People try to seem more unhappy than they are,” “People act more ignorant than they are,” and “People act less accepting than they are.”

The layout was simple, bold and large. I chose a typeface

that would be simple and easy to read, but at the same time have a nice look that could catch and hold a viewers eye. I wanted each word to have a voice, giving the overall statement of the poster a good amount of power.


Final The final posters were about 2 feet by 4 feet. I feel these posters have a solid but simple layout that could be used with many possibilities in the future. I would like to see these posters in different colors, with added photographic elements, or in different mediums all together.

What I enjoy the most about the posters is that they are a

blunt and clear. When I see these posters, I want to plaster them all over Portland, so that people could stop and re-evaluate how they treat people as well as themselves. The next step would then be to see how I could integrate these posters into the life of the public. Whether I find a shop that would display these in their windows or take a street art tactic and just paste it up somewhere in downtown Portland. Regardless, I believe it is a good start into something that could be much bigger. I will continue to make these observations and would like to show people these observations by creating these posters.


Three project process book  

Description of the process to make 3 different design projects

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