Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Behind the Music(al) :: Hairspray

Sorry I missed you all yesterday! I had a sick day because I had to go to a sort urgent doctor's appointment but thankfully I checked out OK so here I am! And today I bring you the design process and (mostly) finished graphic that we will be using for the Hairspray production...

If you didn't know, part of my job is teaching digital design and art as much as it is teaching traditional studio design and art. I teach two semester classes of this - one focusing on Photoshop and the other focusing on Illustrator - and because of my know-how for both design platforms, I have become a bit of an in-house (read: and too many times to count last minute) graphic designer for things at times. *sigh* I have a love-hate relationship with this sort of thing for all of the most obvious reasons.

For the purposes of Hairspray, there was never a plan for me to do the design work and the goal was to have a very talented senior graphic design student do it. Then all of the craziness of January happened and all of the best laid plans that were made (to have it be student created) went out the proverbial window. Thankfully, there was just enough time for me to be able to do it and I had enough information from the student in addition to a rough digital draft of what she had planned to do that I still feel like it would be fair enough to call this a collaborative effort.

Now before I go looking like some rockstar graphic designer, please know that the design work of this was not entirely my own! As I said before, the original student designer had a specific idea in mind to have a hairspray can as a central part of the design. The asterisks were something that were specifically requested by the faculty director and producer of the show so that they could be a graphic element that was seen throughout the set designs. The classic wig and "cut-out"-style lettering are supposed to be an obvious nod back to the original design of Hairspray. In terms of the actual elements I used, I did not originate all of them myself. The hairspray can was actually a generic vector file that was editable and I bought it for about $5. I mean, I suppose I could have made it but when I was in the midst of figuring out how I would do it, I stumbled upon the vector image and figured why not just save myself what would have been a few hours of work and buy it. I mean if time is money, my time that would have been hours long is certainly worth a measly five bucks that would allow me to call it DONE. And so? That's what I did. Why reinvent the wheel right?

In terms of the color palette, I tried my best to adhere as much as possible to the color palette that we picked for the show (seen previously in a posting last week) and I also tried to pick colors that would work together to make each other pop. Case in point: the background of the logo is purple (it's supposed to be representative of the official t-shirt that the design will be printed on) and the spray represented by the triangle is yellow.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with this piece and it has gone over well for the most part. I did do some slight tweaks to it - so what you see up there on the right is not final - but I will show you the final design once it gets back from the t-shirt printers as well as showing you how the design was also put on promo posters, the roadside banner, and the tickets and front cover of our "playbill" once all of everything is printed and delivered in a few weeks.


  1. Thank you so much! This has saved me valuable time that can be used for other prop items. It is very generous of you to share your work.

    1. So glad to hear it was a help to/for you! I know how precious a commodity time is and I feel like if I can share something to help work of anybody's be a little more efficient? Well, sharing is easy and I am glad to do it.


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