So we were asked to brand The Third Annual Boston Winter Ball, a collective that throws a fancy event to raise money for good causes! With one day’s notice before having to go to print, we did everything from rebranding to page layout. Sleep is overrated anyway, right?
So we decided to put on a show with a bunch of bands we love at one of our favorite live music venues in the city Great Scott. When you put on a show one of the first things you need is a flyer. We don’t have as much time now a days for personal projects (which is great!) but it means stuff like this has to get pumped out in about 30 minutes - 1 hour give or take. I think it came out pretty slick with the time I gave it if I do say so myself, nothing special but not a lame slapped together google image w/ some gross font over it either.
So the first thing you need is - an idea. Now for band flyers I NEVER over-think, they don’t need to have some deep meaning and be important - their only purpose is to look pretty and get people’s attention on the interwebs and on the bathroom wall at your local dive. Now with the barrage of horribly designed flyers out there it’s not hard to make something halfway decent on a time budget. Randomly I was YouTubing around and one of my “Recommended Videos” was "Steamboat Willie" (why I don’t know?!). Well there I had it - a steam boat. So I got to googlin’ I found some photos of steam boats and started sketching.
For the copy of the flyer I decided to do the band names in the steam coming out of the stack on the boats deck. It was just the obvious and most fun answer.
When drawing with intent to scan (or ITS) the pen you choose is very important - a standard BIC© isn’t going to handle it and you’re making more work for yourself in the long run. The pen I turn to more often then not is the Uni-Ball© VISION EXACT - the reason being is that it has a much more ‘ink’ feel than the BIC and you get a nice smooth/dark line. It is similar to a Micron Pen but about a quarter of the price.
After I was finished drawing, here is what I was left with:
The next step is to scan them in, for this I use a CanoScan LIDE 200, which is a standard flat bed scanner that retails for about $70.00 (not one of those horrible All-In-One junkers that dies on you in 6 months and costs double that of a flat bed). I scanned at 600DPI (you can get away with 300DPI and it will work just as well but 600 is a habit I’ve had for awhile and can’t break - sue me).
So now that the hard part is out of the way it’s time to make your background. For this I go to the website every designer shouldnt leave home without - Colour Lovers. It is the best free source on the web for great color palettes.
After I have my colors chosen it is time to build the background starting with the water which is super simple to make using three tools: rounded rectangle, ellipse and the pathfinder.
Step 1: Make your rounded rectangle.
Step 2: Make some circles.
Step 3: The Pathfinder (aka your best friend)
To begin this step, select all your circles and group them (Command + G). Now click the circles first, hold shift and then click your green rectangle. Now with your Pathfinder you want to click the second option under “Shape Modes” which will be the “Minus From the Front” button.
This is what you should be left with.
Ok so from here on out it gets pretty easy, basically just putting everything together. You already have your nice background color thanks to Colour Lovers. So you drop your “water” on the background and it’s now time to return to our scanned images.
Now normally, if you have the time, you can use the beloved/hated Pen Tool and make this look perfect and great - but when under time constraints, meet your new best friend: The Live Trace Tool.
Select your image, then go to Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options
Once you’ve done that you’re brought to this screen - now the defaults are a bit wonky so you want to edit those just a bit, for something simple like this I bumped the threshold up to 150 and the Blur up to 5 - I didn’t touch the rest, if I had more time I could have played with the other settings and probably got a bit cleaner of an effect but for a flyer thats only going to live on the web it’s not a huge deal.
Now that our drawing is a nice sexy vector, we have one more step to make it real usable for our flyer and that is to click Expand and then clear the white background from it.
So repeat this step for as many elements as you have - I have two - the smoke and the boat. So once your finished with that copy them and drop them on top of your background we created earlier. Which should leave you with this:
Now we’re starting to look pretty nice. Now that we’ve told people who’s playing we have to tell them when and where! Now again, if I had more time I would hand draw this text too - but sometimes you have to cut corners. Now for this part I went to one of the nicest “hand drawn” fonts around: YWFT Thinaire Unicase from the amazing “You Work For Them” foundry (Go buy it, $25 well spent I assure you!)
It’s great because it looks good - but it’s winning quality is every letter for both upper and lower have about 5-10 versions so you can make whatever your writing actually look hand done instead of having the same “hand done” R five times. It’s the most authentic way to fake it.
So once you get your text in place you are done - unless your a shameless self promoter like me - in which case toss your logo on the bottom and call it a day!
Now - I like the way the flyer came out for the time allotted to it, but with another hour, maybe even two I could love it. The lines aren’t that clean thanks to live trace, i left the smoke / boat solid white and black which I like but it might look nice in color too, I would have loved to have drawn the info text, I would have liked to work more of a concept/theme then “steamboat” - but like I said for the time spent, I’m happy with it - it serves it’s purpose.
THE FINAL PRODUCT: