Its not often that we get a request like this.
‘It’s my wife’s birthday next week. I want to gift her a poster. A Bollywood poster’, said Tobias with a grin on his face and glint in his eyes.
‘Something glitzy. Something kitsch. Something flashy. Something, well, Bollywood’.
Bollywood. My least favorite form of popular entertainment.
Its the gaudy clothes, over-the-top locations, gymnastic dance moves coupled with absurd story lines; the entire spectacle that I simply don’t understand.
Now to distill that entire feeling into a poster.
Not the feelings of ‘I-dont-like-Hindi-movies’, but to think of what people could like about them and portray them in print. Yes, in print. Another thing that I find especially hard to fathom.
But he was kind enough to give us a reference and 5 working days.
Let the madness begin!
The poster needed a lot of illustrations. We had to illustrate Ricarda as a goddess with her retinue of friends and family all grouped around her. All the illustrations had to be done individually keeping in mind that the poster was going for print. What we did was draw the heads and the bodies of the characters individually and later place them together and take the colouring forward.
Colouring to me is the most difficult part when completing an illustration; there are so many styles of colouring and with the latest progressing digital painting we’re also seeing an increase in the amount of styles one uses. We thought of using the Impasto colouring styled ‘Mother India’ poster as a reference but preparing such a palette for twelve characters would overshoot the deadline.
Plans changed and strategies were revised with client feedback on the first rough cut. The next steps we followed were clever and more pragmatic. We did a sort of mixed media poster, which included image work, illustrations and collages. We fixed the colour scheme ourselves (references can be confusing at times) and sped through all the major changes.
Making the poster was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Overall, the feeling of giving a client a customized poster and then seeing them loving it, is an awesome feeling.
Designing a Bollywood poster – for print at that – was the last thing I expected to do in the few weeks I spent working with BlueAnt Digital.
I have been familiar with their work for the past few years and was prepared to work within their minimalist aesthetic and step out of my analog comfort zone into their fast-paced, cutting-edge digital sphere. So Tobias’ request was rather a surprise. It required some rapid change in gears and turned out to be a really fun experience. Luckily for us, my secret penchant for massy Bollywood films (read Om Shanti Om and Chennai Express) gave a boost of confidence to the “un-Bollywoody” geek team that we could pull off a credible job.
Having decided on a basic concept and layout that everyone liked, Sid and I got to work. While I sketched out all the faces and found the appropriate images to meld them with, Sid used his wizardry on Photoshop to complete all the elements for the poster. Once all the separate elements were ready we had to fit them into an A2 poster layout – use some unabashedly high contrast colours and an appropriately classic font proclaiming Mother India.
And Voila! BlueAnt Digital had done the unthinkable and designed their first Bollywood poster after a few crazy days of hard work and over-saturated screens.
A few things that we had to be really careful about were the print medium and the concept of scale. Knowing that the poster we saw on screen would be blown up to three times its size meant there was no space for imperfections. Also a printed poster is essentially different from digital work since it becomes a tangible object. While designing it we had to keep in mind that it would eventually be framed by a wall in a living space and not by the intimacy of a laptop screen.
The project was truly concluded when Tobias sent us a photograph of a beaming Ricarda holding our printed poster and clearly loving it – it was great to know our efforts had hit the mark.