28 October 2017

Five Years of Firelight (Posters)

2017 theme: FIRE & ICE.

I wrote about the creation of the first Firelight Lantern Festival poster and logo in this post from 2013, just over a month before that year's event (before it was decided to hold the event in November from the following year onward).

Here, I've collected the posters from the past five years in reverse chronological order, showcasing this year's event which takes place exactly three weeks from this posting.

After having fun with the tail end of the elephant leading the crowd on last year's CIRCUS poster, I wanted to do something similar this year and decided to add a stilt walker (based on several photos of me from my various stilting gigs) leading the procession. He'll be a standard element in all future posters unless something else more appropriate (like the elephant) comes up.

Also echoing the new elements from 2016's poster, the negative space above the crowd on the left is taken up by a long dragon lantern (based on a hybrid of Chinese, Welsh, and generic fantasy dragon designs).

While having two-tone lanterns really helped convey the designs of the popcorn and circus ball lanterns last year, I wanted to avoid that this year as I want to maintain my limited colour scheme of black walkers, blue background, yellow lanterns, and white text...but that skate absolutely needed flames...

2016 theme: CIRCUS.

The CIRCUS poster is the busiest (it's a circus, after all!) and contains several new design elements: the trapeze artist above the crowd, the elephant leading the procession, and the more interesting two-tone lanterns (last year's Planet Earth was the first). While the trapeze artist isn't logical in the context of a parade, she's my favourite element on this poster (with the juggler and the elephant close behind).

The silhouetted crowd was designed to have lots of negative space on the right not only for text, but to give the lead walkers lots of room to "walk into," but the elephant (and stilt walker) hide nicely behind the text and leave lots of open blue space.

As more sponsorship logos are added, all event info is moved to the image area.

2015 theme: EARTH.

This was a tricky theme to come up with lanterns for, and I feel the carrot, flower, frog, rabbit, and mushroom lanterns are reaching a bit, conceptually. The actual planet Earth and the symbol for it (the circle with the cross) are okay, though.

2014 theme: AIR.

This theme was fun and my favourite lantern is the kite on the far right with the trailing tails overlapping the walkers. Also, event info is added to the image area using a new typeface.

2013 theme: WATER.

Of the three inside (yet appropriate) references in the first FLF poster, the most obvious and recognizable is the submarine (from the Beatles film Yellow Submarine). The other two are The Beatles themselves and the fish from the Small Pond Arts logo.

Lantern logo and procession in ink.

The big idea was to have the same silhouetted walkers on each year's poster, but many of the lanterns would change according to each new theme, while some lanterns would remain and move around, like the stars, circles, heart, and moon.

The colours would be limited to black walkers barely contrasted against a dark blue background, allowing the yellow lanterns to really stand out and glow. The information text would be white and mostly off to one side, leaving the image lots of room to make a visual impact.

First logo with box lantern.

This logo was used on the first two posters (before sponsorship logos started crowding along the bottom) and various promotional materials like flyers and stationery. I'm slowly phasing out this box lantern design in favour of the new logo below.

New logo with street lantern.

I didn't like that box lantern so I redesigned the whole thing to be more striking. The letterforms are a departure but work better with the new lantern than the main typeface used for the main headings on the posters (which remains in the circular logo below).

New circular logo.

A box lantern might be more common during the festival, but a street lamp is more recognizable.

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