Case Study: Geek&Sundry Poster

How-dee. I've not posted a 'Case study' in quite some time, but today, I remedy. CLAUS was recently approached by a massive online gaming, webseries-producing, vlog/blog site called 'Geek and Sundry' to draw/design a poster for their presence at Comic-Con 2014. This was a pretty great opportunity, as G&S is a big name in the online community and poised to only get bigger. They have a passion for the gaming and comic world and I was honored to take a stab at their annual poster. 

So, an art director for Geek & Sundry, Annie Liu, asked me to do a few sketches for starters and they'd choose one and go from there. Their site is owned/promoted/sponsored by actress and avid gamer Felicia Day, and they'd like her to be a big part of the poster. So, keeping in mind that they had mentioned my 'Squints' style drawings, I went about a few sketches.

Yes, the top one isn't a sketch, really. I could have stopped with black&white, but the coloring goes so fast, I thought, why not.

So, the vibe they suggested was 'cyber-punk' and me knowing exactly what all the cool kids are doing nowadays, knew exactly what 'cyber-punk' was and I was able to handle it on the run. 

Not really. I had to Google it up, but it was pretty much what I had suspected. 'Steam-punk' but with techy, cybery doo-dads and head shavings. The first image up there needed her whole body, Annie said, and I agreed. I wasn't quite sure how much or how little of a BG they'd want, since the Squints style they mentioned they enjoyed always had bare backgrounds.

Since these drawings go a bit quicker for me I have no qualms in just scratching them all together and starting fresh. I don't believe in knit-picking, and I've always disdained the pastime in general. I'm not going to continually tweak something, if it ain't right, right off the bat, it most likely will never get right. I'm not proud. Just delete it and start over.

After the first one, I just re-sketched a full figure and added a bit of a 'board-game' background to go along with her cyber-punk outfit. This felt a little 'Wreck-It-Ralph' to me, but I wasn't sure that was a bad thing.

Regardless, neither was right. I wasn't happy. Just not cool enough. The images showed Felicia as too much of a central figure. Not enough gaming elements. I went back to the drawing board/computer screen. 

This was a tricky dilemma. All posters are, for the most part. Communication is paramount. We needed a logo, Felicia, gaming, board-gaming and overall Geek&Sundry vibe to be apparent.

I took a trip to their website again and really checked out all of their programming, hoping for inspiration to show itself. And it did. 

Now we're getting somewhere. Geek&Sundry's top online series is called 'Table Top' and showcases a new board game being played by famous folks every week. The logo for that show, a double 'T' with pencils tips on the end of the vertical bars, could be used as a device for Felicia to be perched upon. Then I could use a bunch of stacked board games as 'buildings' behind her and then a giant 'Sorry' piece behind those.

Annie liked this direction so I pushed on.

I was finding a new middle ground between the loose Squints style and some more of my polished, minimal, graphic work, and that was refreshing for me. I got rid of all the 'buildings' made out of gameboard boxes mainly because they didn't look right. Or cool. I decided to make notches in the Geek&Sundry logo to have it echo the shape of a multi-faced di commonly used in role playing games and various board games. Conceptually, I was looking for any angle to tie in 'gaming' and the Geek&Sundry brand. Bright orange, neon green. Let's keep it simple.

So, that one was on the right path, but not quite there. I did a few more roughs.


Just mixing it up. I liked the idea of having the poster feel screen printed to off-set the techy-look of our hero. Counter-balance the colors and subject matter with a gritty, albeit spontaneous, print job.

These were close, but a comment from Annie tipped the scales. She referenced 'Bladerunner' and asked if that might help. It did.

Here's where it landed us.


I wanted to maintain the bright orange and neon greens of their brand-colors, and the Bladerunner suggestion was paramount in not only keeping those colors, but actually making them more impactful.

All in all, I'm happy with our poster, and it was such a rewarding experience to work with Annie at G&S to achieve something that the throngs at Comic-Con could get excited about. Hope to work with them again in the future.

Thanks for reading, faithful reader. Until next time!


Justin HarderComment