As you may already know from Paul and Vicki’s respective past posts, MACHINAL is a play being produced by the Rude Mechanicals this year at the university. Originally set in the US (I believe), this production relocates the narrative to Japan. While Paul and Vicki are working on stage design via some incredible projection mapping tinkering, I’ve been working on the play’s promotional poster. It’s still a work in progress and I’ll share it when it’s done, but in the meantime here are some lessons in composition that this process has taught me.
I talked with Sango, the play’s director, about what she wanted in a poster. Reflecting the play’s theme of compartmentalization and sectionalization, we decided on something with multiple frames. This aesthetic not only fits the play’s peculiar act structure, but also the aesthetic of Japanese architecture found in quiet domestic structure.
The idea of frames, of separation, isn’t anything new within the arts, or within vision in general. Even in the simple act of looking, one instinctively centers or somehow isolates the subject of his/her gaze just for the sake of clarity. Going beyond clarity and into design/aesthetics, the motivation for selective separation is even more appropriate. For example, anyone ever heard of that dang rule of thirds? I’m sure you have.
So then, what to do when you’re working with multiple frames, and you need to balance multiple images within separate frames of different aspect ratios, different compositions, and different content? Well, shoot. I’ll get back to you with that once the poster is finished.
In the meantime, here are a few great posters which employ the multi-frame strategy pretty dang well. Hope you enjoy.