Assignment – Your Choice

Your Choice

Your Choice gives 3 briefs to choose from. Brief 1 and 3 sparked no interest for me, so it was an easy choice for me.

Brief 2: Promotional Design.

A youth theatre club is performing a production of Abigail’s Party. Mike Leigh’s tale of suburban taste set in the 1970s and explores middle class aspirations and preoccupations.

You will need to acquaint yourself with the play if you don’t know it already, as they are particularly keen for it to have a 70s feel. The play will be touring local theatres for a month performing every Friday night and Saturday matinee.

Produce a poster (A3 portrait), a flyer (A5 landscape, double sided) and newspaper (A6) to promote this event. In addition they would like their A5 programme cover to continue the design theme.


I was not familiar with Abigail’s Party, so I rented it from the library, and looked it up in Wikipedia.

I made a note of my initial observations.


Next, I googled existing promotional work and my image ideas to expand on my impression of the show and of the 70s (I was born in the 80s, so have no memory of it)


Abigail's_Party abigails_party_poster_large-206ce07d05df4e6198938ec0be62a953 abigails-party sf-playhouse-abigails-party-poster

Decor and hairstyles/fashion were the things that stood out to me from watching the play, so I felt that this would be the direction I would go in.

0255b4f2e552e21201e5864e6fa817c1 hairstyles-for-men-in-the-1970s1970s-hairstyles-disco-23----the-hairstyles-site-hairstyles-for-lmz0r3gb fifties-rock-and-roll-record-coasters-DECO338 VARIOUS C036-(2) 3005736474_8d03709efb_b 1970s_green_border_wide_1920x1200 geometric-wallpapers-58458-4231003 il_fullxfull.392371865_4r1f il_fullxfull.429310657_i8fm polka dot texture fabric 70s orange swirl cloth pattern stock photo_800

Design ideas / Brainstorm

Scan 1

I also felt that the word ‘party’ would need to be strongly acknowledged.

Party -Music/dancing/conversation/drinks

I considered using quotes from the play, so looked up ‘retro speech bubbles’ to see how to make this idea fit in with the 70s theme.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 12.23.44 Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 12.23.01

Scan 2

I wasn’t sure that this would be very eye-catching, and thought that bold images with the right colour theme would be stronger.

From here, I decided to make a font sheet and mock up some of my ideas so that I could see how they would translate. At this point, I thought that the ‘faces’ idea was the strongest. I liked the idea that something simple would give the impression of the era.

Font Sheet

AP fonts

Mock ups

I really enjoyed making the characters, but wasn’t sure at any point how it was all going to work together. I liked the hair styles, and I eventually decided that even though this is based on the BBC version, it would become clear who was who. I placed Beverly in the middle, as the centre of attention, but once I started adding other elements, it just didn’t seem to work as well as I had hoped.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.09.59 Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 18.13.13

This was a strong image, but it needed to be more than just a record. (Notes below)

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.46.28 Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 15.12.25 Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.46.07 Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 18.39.10

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 15.10.15

Playing with fonts and thinking about how I would be adding text to the design.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 16.10.30 Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 16.09.55 Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 16.08.52

Notes on Mock Ups.

Scan 3

I had got to this point and felt that I was missing something. My design was not progressing, so wrote some notes to help work out why.

Scan 4

I went back to the research stage.


Sex-Pistols-in-1978-001 sex_pistols_god_save_the_queen_wallpaper-other punk


70-s-dancing-sihlouettes-hi Disco_Ball_3up

I thought that I could use elements from a few of my ideas, I still liked the idea of bold, basic shapes/silhouettes. I tried some punk and disco style mock ups.

I put together another font sheet for my punk idea. The first font sheet was already quite ‘disco’ orientated.

AP punk fontsScreen Shot 2014-06-17 at 12.32.30 Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 12.27.32

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 13.11.12


Scan 5

I decided to go with the images from the last image mock up sheet. They seem like the most fitting route.

I had decided early on (whilst watching the play), which colours I think would be most suitable, so now it was a case of working out which shades to use and an overall composition for each promotional design.

From here, it was trial and error getting all the relevant information onto each piece with a strong hierarchy.

I used the current month and my local theatres to fill in the gaps in the information.

A3 Poster

AP Final A3

A5 Flyer (front and back)

AP Final A5 flyer AP Final A5 flyer2

Newspaper Advert

I adjusted the contrast and converted to greyscale t make sure that it was clear when printed.


A5 Programme Cover

I looked up programme covers. There seemed to be 2 possible routes – A production version or a programme specific to that theatre. Obviously the latter was what I needed to recreate for my cover.

theatre-operatic-programme-printing panto1961 normal_The_Country_Wife hippodrome-2012-big10437209_10152929171909447_669830661_n 10490242_10152929171904447_1947697586_n 10487075_10152929171914447_632368394_n

A5 Programme Cover

AP programme


This assignment turned out well. I’m confident that the design definitely has ‘a 70s feel’ and that each design has all of the required information.

The brief was very open, which I think makes it a little harder because of the possible number of avenues that I needed to narrow down, which I struggled with. I felt that I was juggling between waffling on and ending up  with an irrelevant outcome and not exploring enough possible routes. I’m glad that I went back and added to what I had already done, because my final pieces ended up a lot stronger than they would have, had I stuck with my first couple of ideas.

I feel that my process is getting stronger, I’m asking more questions of myself during the early stages of the research, which in turn has strengthened my design process.

Response to Tutor Feedback

I feel that I had achieved the requirements of the brief, but my tutor questioned a few elements of the design that I agree were important to address:

The title, the busy background and the choice of font made it hard to read.

Does the ‘factual’ info need to follow the same theme/font?

The ‘party’ element in my design is clear, but what about the underlying story?


I think that I was focusing on the ’70’s feel’, which took over a little. I wanted to include all of the elements that I had considered, which led to a very busy design. Reflecting on what my tutor had pointed out, and going back to the design after stepping back for while put this into perspective for me. I felt that I could include the elements that I wanted by changing how I put it all together. I also needed to consider how I would add something to the design to portray or suggest the underlying dysfunction of the story.


I referred back to the poster for ‘A Country Wife’.


It shows a clear contrast between the two sides of the story, giving an indication of what the story entails. This is what I needed to achieve with ‘party’ and ‘dysfunction’

I added a crack to the record, and realised that I could add a spilt drink without over crowding the design, because the drink was already there. I wanted to add an element of  dysfunction (the broken record reflecting the relentless arguing between Beverly and Lawrence, and to some extent, the failing/broken hearts at the end of the story) The spilt drink, points to the general dynamic of having this particular group of people together – things that are said and the way they behave towards each other are messy like a ‘spilt drink’.

Next I wanted to make the title a lot clearer. I could put a plain box of colour behind it, but this was my least favourite part of the  A5 programme design, so I decided to have a plain background to the whole design. I could still use the wallpaper by adding it to the label part of the record, therefore not sacrificing what I considered a strong part of the 70s design. This way, I also get to keep my choice of font for the title. I considered adding a drop shadow in an attempt to make it stand out more, but because the font is made up of a series of thin lines, this just made it harder to read.

With these changes in place, I reflected on the font used for the rest of the information. Really, the only other bit of info that should have a theme is the theatre company name. I used an idea from earlier in my design process to create a logo. This can be added to each publication and builds a brand in doing so. This leaves the choice of font open for the rest of the ‘factual’ information. I wanted something more legible than my first choice, I went for a basic script. My reasoning is that people used to handwrite out party invitations. It’s a loose connection, but still relevant. It looks a lot clearer.

My feedback was invaluable and, as usual, I underestimated how much so! I think that reviewing my design and looking further into my research and the meaning behind the images I designed has led to a much stronger final piece.

Final Designs for Abigail’s Party

A3 Poster

AP revised a3 poster

Newspaper Advert


Programme Cover

AP programme

Front / Back A5 Flyer

AP Final A5 flyer AP Final A5 flyer2


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