I thought I’d take the time to write up a journey one of my university final project posters went through. When working, I’ve got into the habit of saving as a new file after every major design addition or change. The mobile phone poster had over 25 iterations by the time it reached a finished piece and here are a few of them:
First after some experimentation I decided which typefaces I’d use. Knockout was my first choice as it was condensed enough to fit into tight spaces, and I really like the slight retro feel of using it all in caps for titles. I wanted a serif for large pieces of text for easier legibility and as a contrast to the rationality of Knockout. I went with Caslon mostly out of personal preference as it’s one of my favorite serifs, with a classical edge but still very readable. Lastly I decided to add some Bodoni Poster sparingly in places as a highlight, as I just love its eccentricity and classic look.
In keeping with the retro look, I used a paper texture for the background as it allowed me to use both white and black with brown and blue added in for variety. I knew I wanted a limited colour palette and this was speaking to me at the time. I had originally intended just to document all the phones I had personally owned, and this motorola was one of the first, and I still own it today.
This changed to making it about the various landmark phones that have came out throughout the years. Those that had either made a huge technological leap or were the most popular of that generation so as many people as possible would relate. So then came the laborious task of drawing or tracing phones from photos or dissecting user manuals.
I decided that just the technical data on each device wasn’t going to be interesting enough so I started designing arrows that pointed out features or social events relating to each phone. The rainbow colour scheme didn’t last long. I’d also decided on a name of “Evolution of the Mobile Phone”.
I started adding more technical data with this version, and experimented with different blending modes on the colours, which allowed the background texture to show through as well as any details underneith. It gave it a bit of a hand painted quality. I had to be able to overlap just because of that huge aerial on the 1983 phone which was as tall on its own as some of the more modern devices.
I began adding more arrows with technical details and milestones to the top, and social events and trivia below. I also had to space things out so I can fit a title and some copy on there.
Then came a bit of a break where I began working on other posters and developing the project as a whole. I had grown sick of brown and was switching things to grey as it had more of a technological feel rather than the old paper brown. I had also moved to a portrait format as it better fitted the idea of a poster and other parts of the project were better suited to the format. I decided to try out a different grid format, with that Motorola behemoth still being a pain. I eventually gave up on this idea.
I went back to the previous idea whilst working out a way to visualise how each phone relates chronologically.
I decided to branch out instead of just focusing on the devices themselves, and began collecting data on mobile phone usage. I kept running into dead ends as a lot of the modern data is very valuable for market research and I wasn’t about to spend hundreds of pounds on acquiring it. I managed to uncover some consumer statistics on spending on communication and found that whilst we are spending increasing sums on communication, the cost has peaked and it started to go down when taking inflation into account.
And this is the final version. I had eventually become sick of the grey and went with an off-white background which darkened towards the edges. I decided to have an individual colour palette for each poster, so I could tie them all together at the end. I also changed the spacing, and type sizes so I had consistency across the whole range.