27 February 2011

The Language of Love...or The Love of Language

While we're talking about Valentine's Day and "the month of love," I'm reminded of an identity and ad I developed for a poetry writing workshop that ran for a few weeks last September. Cheri's Poetry Workshop For Teens was a series of workshops where they came together to work on developing poetry. 

When I first received the work request that said "Writing with a beat at Cheri's Poetry Workshop" I wondered what exactly were they doing there. Were they writing while being inspired by someone drumming, or was there music involved? If so, I could explore working symbols of music notes, a musical instrument, or a metronome into a design. I inquired and found out none of those were the case. I realized it was simply referring to reciting poetry with a pace, in a cadence that produced a "beat." So, this invisible thing...how to show it?

I thought on it a while and eventually recalled how karaoke helped singers to sing lyrics of a song by following a ball that bounced over the top of the lyrics that scrolled along at the top or bottom of a television screen. This bouncing ball provided a great element to demonstrate the beat of a song and related lyrics, so I applied the convention to identity and promotional materials I created for the workshop.

A small ball bounced along the top of the identity; the letter "T" repeated throughout the words was highlighted in colour that increased from a "distant" dark red for smaller "T's" to a brighter orange on the last, larger "T". All the other letters were dropped back in a lighter shade of gray that allowed the coloured letters to stand out more. Stopped at the end of the sentence was a period, red in a nod to the active, larger bouncing red ball that was still on its way to the end of the sentence. And sweetest of all, hidden within the phrase: "Writing With a Beat at Cheri's Poetry Workshop" was the lettering gem that could be highlighted in it's own colour: "BE A POET." Depending on the arrangement of the words, there were three "A's" to choose from to make for smooth reading.

This visual identity was used on signs, handbills, and as a library web ad.

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