Designer: After initial research, I focused on the oratorio theme of St. Francis. Here, the composition of the title expresses the particular cross in the shape of a “T”, called the Tau Cross, used by St. Francis and his disciples. I photographed this statue at Saint Francis of Assisi Church in San Francisco, where I live.
Client response: It is a happy musical piece, therefore, this dark brown color scheme is too sad. The vertical – horizontal type does not allow easy readability in the street. The subject should not be too esoteric.
Young people entering the design profession sometime think that the ideas of seasoned professionals never get rejected, that the design is immediately embraced by the grateful client who insists on doubling your fee because it is so awesomely good. In your dreams!! Design is not called a “process” without reason. More often, there is give-and-take, client clarification and addition of new (and often pertinent) information, analysis and refinement, and sometimes your favorite design isn’t chosen.
In this case, we asked Swiss designer Jean-Benoit Levy, who works for clients worldwide and is a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale, if he would share the behind-the-scene reasoning of a poster he designed for a concert performance of Le Laudi di San Francesco d’Assisi for Choeur Faller in Lausanne, Switzerland. Levy has been creating the graphics for this oratorio choir group for the past three years, in collaboration with its president Jacques-Henri Addor. For this concert, Levy presented his first sketches in December of 2008 and after 16 different versions, a final design was chosen in March 2009 for the May performance. We picked five of the concepts he presented and asked him to summarize both his and his client’s response to each.
Designer: The little flowers of St. Francis represent a series of text that St. Francis wrote. The flower is a metaphor for the spread of his faith.
Client response: Positive color scheme, but too much toward fitness center/health care mood. The fact that the type turns in two directions hinders readability in the quick pace of the street.
Designer: St. Francis was known to speak with animals, especially with birds. The flying birds represent a certain freedom. Adapted to the typographical element, they create an interesting feeling of space.
Client response: Interesting picture, good color combinations and contrast between the orange text and the sky. Good graphical effect, but difficult to read.
Designer: A feather represented either the birds, or symbolized an angel.
Client response: Elegant composition, but weak typographical character. Colors not bright enough for a spring performance. Composition a little too classical and without fantasy.
Designer: A rising sun behind the clouds. The poster serves the colorful character of the musical piece without being esoteric. This image of nature gives us the feeling of a warm environment. The type goes up, reinforced with a changing gradient. The message is placed in a way that pushes the eyes to move into the image.
Client response: Typographical impact allows understanding even for people driving. Good hierarchy and visibility of the three main elements, allowing the viewer to understand quickly the concert title, the composer, and the concert producer.