Follow this step by step process of designing a timeless swiss style poster design for the imaginary ambient music festival “Bella Musica”, which was held on Ibiza in July 1978. The design process involves turning digital photos into imperfect analog photos with light leaks, dark vignettes and blurred focus, creating patterns, mixing images, textures and blend modes to achive the final design.
“Bella Musica” poster design is directly inspired by the works of Swiss designer Josef Muller-Brockmann.
Click on the preview image to see the poster in full size.
- Photo: Ibiza by Lutz Hirschmann
- Texture: Free sample from wegraphics Folded and Scratched Paper Textures Part I pack
- Font: Helvetica
Step 1: Turn Digital Photo into Old Style Analog Photo
First things first – we have to turn our perfect digital photo into old style analog photo with imperfections. Colour washes of warm tones, dark vignettes surrounding the shots, blurred focus and light leaks where the film has been excessively exposed, were all common problems that appeared during the processing of film.
Let’s recreate all those characteristics. Open Ibiza photo (or any other photo of your choice) in Photoshop.
Add Curves Adjustment Layer (go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves) to the photo.
From the drop down menu choose the Green Channel and adjust the curve.
Next move to the Blue Channel and adjust the curve using image below as a reference.
Create new layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N) above Curves Adjustment Layer and fill it with #ff00e4 color. Change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 20%.
Press Cmd/Ctrl + A to select all, then go to Edit > Copy Merged and then paste this duplicate on a new layer (Edit > Paste). Apply Gaussian Blur to this layer.
Add a Layer Mask to the blur layer and with large soft brush erase blurring, leaving spots of blurring only on the edges of the photo.
Create another new layer on top, and with large soft brush dub a few red spots (#b81119) to create light leaks.
Change Blend Mode of this layer to Linear Dodge (Add) and lower the Opacity to 70%.
It’s time to create vignette. Cmd/Ctrl+A to select all, create new layer, then go to Edit > Stroke to add a 100px black stroke inside the document.
Apply Gaussian Blur with maximum Radius of 250px to stroke layer,
and change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 70%.
With large white brush dub a spot,
and change Blend Mode to Soft Light.
Finally we need to add grain structure to the photo.
Create new layer and fill it with black color. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and add some noise.
Set the Blend Mode to Screen and Opacity to 15%.
Voila! We have perfect/imperfect analog photo!
We can now proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Setting Up the Poster Canvas
Create a document (File > New) with your desired poster dimensions. Because I’m only designing for screen, I’ll use an document sized at 1296x1728px, set to RGB at 72dpi. If your work will be printed, you’ll need a much higher resolution-at least 300dpi. You’ll also need to set up bleeds and margins. Set your background color to a #f9f4de.
Create new layer, then with Rectangluar Marquee Tool (M) create selection and fill it with #aac9c1.
Step 3: Add Analog Photo to Design
Import photo we prepared onto design.
Using Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) create selection like shown on the image below,
and apply Layer Mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection).
Cmd/Ctrl + click on Layer Mask Thumbnail to make selection, grab Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), make sure “Intersect with selection” is selected, and draw rectangle around bottom half of circle. The result will be selection around bottom half of the photo.
Create new layer and fill the selection with #aac9c1 and set the Blend Mode to Multiply.
Repeat the same process for the upper half of the photo but this time use #f9f4de color.
I like to keep layers organized, so I will advice you to select photo layer and both color layers (upper and bottom half of the photo) and group them (Cmd/Ctrl + G) into one group (name this group “photo”).
Step 4: Create Circles Around Photo
First create new layer below “photo” group. Cmd/Ctrl + click on photo Layer Mask Thumbnail to make selection, then go to Select > Modify > Expand to expand selection by 10px.
Fill the selection with #d2632b color.
Create new layer below orange circle layer, Cmd/Ctrl + click on orange circle layer thumbnail to create selection and then expand selection by 10px. Fill this layer with #ce8125 color.
Repeat the above process to create another circle (position below first 2 circles). Fill this circle with #dfa329.
Finally add one more circle (below first 3 circles) filled with #d2c09a color.
Select all circles, group them, and set the group Opacity to 30%.
Step 5: Create and Add Pattern
Create new document using 10 pixels for the width and 10 pixels for the height, with transparent background. Set the Foreground color to #060400 and using Rectangle Tool (U) draw small rectangle.
Go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Name the new pattern the way you want it.
Back to our design, add a layer below last circle, with Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) create rectangle and fill with any color.
Open the Layer Style dialog window by double-clicking on the layer. Add Pattern Overlay effect, using the pattern we created,
and set Fill of this layer to 0%.
I didn’t want to have pattern over the circles so I did the following: Cmd/Ctrl + click on bottom circle layer thumbnail, make sure that the layer with pattern is selected and then apply layer mask to this layer (Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection).
Step 6: Add Event Title and Description
Pick up Horizontal Type Tool (T), for the font choose Helvetica, and add event title.
Next, we need to add some info about the event at the bottom of the poster.
Step 7: Final Touches
Set the Foreground color to #aac9c1 and with Ellipse Tool (U) create circle (hold Alt + Shift to create perfect circle).
Change the Blend Mode to Multiply.
Duplicate this layer (Cmd/Ctrl +J) three times and position the circles like shown on the image below.
Import free sample texture from wegraphics Folded and Scratched Paper Textures Part I pack onto our design, resize it a bit (make it smaller and keep torn part outside) and run sharpen filter (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen).
Set the Blend Mode to Screen and Opacity to around 20%.
One more thing left to do – we need border around our design. Cmd/Ctrl + A to select all, create new layer on top of all layers, go to Edit > Stroke and give our design 20px white stroke.
Here Is The Final Result!
Your Turn To Talk
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments. If you follow this tutorial, please feel free to post a link to your final product in the comments area below, we’d love to see it. Thanks for following along with me!