Black, White and Champagne All Over

After the success/insanity of 2010’s Ball, Club TSI turned to us for help with their 7th Annual Black and White Ball poster.

Last year, AIGA Jacksonville used this same poster design opportunity for an experiment – complete the poster design in 5 Days with 5 Designers. Giving each designer 24 hours to add to, change, or trash the design of the person before them before passing it along to the next designer in line. Thus creating a beautiful poster from an amazing collaboration.

With TSI being a great supporter of AIGA Jacksonville, we jumped at the opportunity to help again, especially if that meant another Design Handoff Experiment. Plus, it would give us another excuse to get dressed up, drink excessive amounts of champagne and dance around with friends, as seen here.

Below you can see the day by day breakdown of each iteration as it was passed from designer to designer. Their design process explained in their own words.

Day 1.  Patrick Carter, Outgoing Operations/Incoming Vice-President

By going first in the line up, I wanted to keep it simple while providing some graphic elements, setting the tone and structuring the basic info. I had seen how the process went down last year and somewhat knew what to expect. I figured by providing elements and structure designers could choose whether to use elements, trash them or rework an area entirely from scratch. There were also some production challenges to consider, such as black and white xerox printing which could make it difficult to produce complex patterns and gradations.

Seven is a notoriously lucky number and being that this was the 7th annual event, I wanted to tie the number conceptually to the poster. Popular casino elements such as dice, spades and clubs are typically black and white. Additionally, this formal event made me think of a Bond like, tuxedo wearing debutante, and I felt that the poster should make invitees feel as such. On my personal journey as a creative, I have been intrigued by the term “make your own luck” recently. I believe this played a role in how the casino theme came about.

For the type, I treated the poster with a large feature masthead for the title, giving the idea that this is an event not to be missed. The “Ball” is encapsulated in a ball which may be borderline expected or seen as a childlike pun. The seven takes the forefront, boasting the longevity of the event while surrounded by card suits and dice.

I feel like I gained more from the process than I contributed. Being able to provide a base layer and watch the metamorphosis occur at the hands of 4 other exceptionally talented creatives was truly a thrilling experience. I think the final product was a beautiful result and I applaud everyone involved for a job well done.

Day 2: Jeff Spear, Incoming Board Member

With limited time and resources available (I was working from my hotel in Serbia), I thought the greatest contribution I could make was influencing the heirarchy of information that was being displayed. Had I been working from my studio with access to scanner and image library, I could have done much better. I was relieved by, and relied upon, the fact that three more designers would be following in my footsteps and would improve upon my meager contributions.

I must say that I had no idea the designers would embrace such a revolutionary approach from one stage to the next. Guess I need to be more aggressive with this crew.

Day 3: Katy Garrison, Programming Co-Director

I was really impressed with the amount of work and thought Patrick and Jeff had already put into the poster. Figuring out what I could comfortably add and remove without taking away from the initial design became my biggest struggle.

After many failed attempts at other ideas, I decided the best thing to do was to expand on the boys’ initial direction. To reflect the event, I used big script fonts to add elegance to the words “And” and “Ball.” Then I added ribbons to Jeff’s type to wrap around Patrick’s beautiful seven. Grateful knowing that I had the trusty help of Katie and Chad to take over where I left off.

I’m so happy to see that a piece of everyone managed to make it to the final round. I couldn’t be more proud of the outcome.

Day 4: Katie Riffle, Design Mentoring Co-Chair

I loved what Patrick had done with the layout and how Jeff added some texture to it. Katy did that beautiful script work with the typography. I wanted to refine the lettering to give it more of a vintage black-tie feel. I decided to use Brothers, an Emigre typeface inspired by signage from the turn of the century and changed up the shape of the 7 to look like a hand-painted sign I had found. I also added a vignette to up the contrast and give it that old photograph feel.

I expanded on Katy’s lettering by weaving it in and out of the “Black” and “White” letters and mirrored the Bickham Script in the elements at the top and the bottom of the poster.

I loved working with these talented designers. It was a really fun project!

Day 5: Chad Landenberger, Outgoing Programming Co-Director

When the poster was passed off to me, I took a look at how it started and where it was at and wanted to really push the envelope but retain elements form the previous versions. I Really liked how the headline treatment and the number 7 had turned out so I used those as my focal point. With a primary focus established, I began to alter a lot of the remaining elements and give it a somewhat retro casino feel, playing off of Patricks original concept. A star bust felt right, so I added it to the background as a graphic element and also as a catalyst to draw the viewer in, it’s also a nod to a roulette table, and as you know “Always bet on black” so that also became the background color for the headline treatment. After all of that I arranged the secondary info at the bottom and added a few highlights to the number 7.

This was such a fun project to work on and I’m glad I got to work with such talented designers. Projects like are great ways to try new techniques, experiment and just have fun designing.

By aigajacksonville
Published June 15, 2011