29 July 2014

Doctor Who? Library Event Marketing Designs

Banner ad displayed on library website.
Doctor Who is coming to town by way of your library event, and you're wanting to teleport some promotional marketing materials your way in a flash. What to do? Just wave your "sonic screwdriver" in the air? No, you call your crafty graphic designer to do some image research and magically blend the results all together to create a unique, custom promotional image for your event. Then you stand back and watch as he expertly maximizes this single image in such a way as to create an integrated series of different promotional marketing items to promote your event with consistency for greater impact and recognition.

Sourced images used for new illustration.
Where to start? How about with providing sufficient time for your designer to do a good job for you. You've spent how many days and weeks, maybe even months thinking and planning for this event? Why not let your designer in on the action as early as you are. Then you'll be working together as a team, not just dropping off "the laundry" in his lap while asking how soon can you get it back. Some ideas you have may influence the direction of the design process; likewise, some design decisions might even inspire ideas for your event. Without providing sufficient time for generating marketing concepts, making adjustments based on feedback, and then distributing the final collaterals, your event is otherwise destined to hobble along with less impressive quality and less time to reach the full scope of your potential audience.
An 8.5x11 inch sign for posting at locations.

At my library, internal clients are asked to provide a 4-6 week advance notice of their projects. Unfortunately, that happens only about 50-75% of the time. Fortunately for me the first part of this project came in with sufficent notice; unfortunately, the other half was requested urgently and delivered with less than three days notice.

For development of a centerpiece illustration, I first sourced (looked) for public domain images I could use to create a custom illustration of the iconic "tardis" booth that Doctor Who uses to teleport himself through space and time. I wanted to give the stationary booth a dynamic, energized appearance, so I looked for radiating light rays, electrified-looking time delayed light patterns, colourful swirling shapes, clouds, glass, metallics, and other materials. Once I had a collection of images that looked like they could work together to provide me with the results I wanted, I layered them in Photoshop and experimented with a variety of colour balance sliders, effects, and filters to produce a dynamic, new image unique to our event.

Quarter page handbill arrangement
on 8.5x11 inch page.

I first applied the illustration to the 8.5x11 inch sign, then submitted for client review and feedback. Once all content and aesthetic details were approved on this initial design concept, I applied them to the remaining collaterals, repurposing the arrangement of illustration and typography to each individual piece as appropriate, taking care to be mindful about text size legibility for readers.

While I was sourcing for images I could use to incorporate into my illustration, I came across a wide range of Doctor Who related assemblage designs created for public consumption by artist CyberDrone (http://cyberdrone.deviantart.com) for a company called Cubeecraft (cubeecraft.com). These designs included images you could print out flat on card stock using your office or desktop printer, then cut out and fold together into three-dimensional Doctor Who characters, a tardis, sonic screwdriver, video arcade machine and other items. I printed out a few different tardis booth renderings, folded three versions into their final shapes and presented them to the librarians to see if they might be of any use as options for event activities. They liked them and decided they would indeed enjoy to include them at the event.

Printed tardis materials and fabrication process.
About a week later, one of the librarians said that they liked the mini-tardis constructions so much that they wanted to paint an old refrigerator cardboard box into the image of a tardis. With the event only three days away, I doubted they'd make it in time, so I suggested I try to print out a full scale (over six foot) large-format image of the  mini assemblage tardis I had provided them with earlier. A test print revealed I could indeed get a good quality print out of the artwork, so I made some modifications to it (added an additional set of square panels to make it higher overall, remade the call box text panel because the text was not sharp, removed the door sign for a new one to be placed on later, created new hardware door pull and lock, created new window textures, and lightened the overall colour globally to help compensate for printer ink gain). I then printed out the large tardis walls. The print out proportions didn't perfectly match the box, so I had to print out an additional wall print to cannibalize for adding a little extra strip of colour around the base, as well as for fabricating the additional pyramid and light beacon features that topped off the tardis. The entire project materials only required use of the printer paper, sissors, duct tape, double and single sided clear tape, and the cardboard box. Total construction took about six hours.

The dalek is put to work around the library.
After the librarians marveled at the completed tardis box, one asked if I could print out an enlarged image of a dalek (robot) to a size that might compliment the life-sized tardis. Using the large format printer, I printed the dalek to the size of my largest remaining piece of cardboard (32x52 inches), then cut the shape out. Afterwards, I decided to have a little fun with it, and put it to work for me as I completed fulfillment of the publicity materials. You can see that the dalek helped monitor the printing of a poster of itself; used the cutting board to chop the quarter page handbills, looked for a book about robots in the stacks, brushed up on its upcoming event presentation skills by reading Dale Carnegie's book How to Make Friends and Influence Others, and cleaned up after itself--demonstrating workplace production and leadership qualities that a few staff members could benefit from by taking notice of themselves. 
16x20 inch contest gift poster design.

Just when I thought I'd cleared every imaginable last minute marketing design request, there was one more: "wouldn't it be great if we could make a version of the publicity sign into a poster to use as a give-away for winning a contest?" Sure...of course it would! Easy enough, with a little modification to repurpose the sign into an event poster, and wahlah!, instant poster design, x2 for winners of event contests and x3 for additional event announcement signs. 

After promotional and event materials were completed, photos were taken at the event, edited down to the best, and left to librarians to publish to the library Flickr account. I've posted one shot below to show a view of the tardis lurking in the background, and an easel display in the foreground that announced the opportunity to win a poster of the same.

Scope of work included:

(4) 8.5x11 inch signs
(60) Quarter page handbills
(1) Website banner ad
(5) 16x20 inch gift posters & promotional signs
(1) 32x52 inch dalek display poster mounted to board
(6) 33x74.5 inch tardis box & other associated printed elements for full scale dimensional display construction
(30) Event day photography

16x20 inch gift poster display sign at event. Tardis in background.