Save Our Water - Johanan Colon

The Undergraduate Studies department at UCF wanted all graphic designers interested in the graphic design position to create a poster with the theme of “reducing water pollution.” The poster can only contain 3 words, which is supposed to be a slogan to go with the theme. I gladly accepted this challenge and am currently awaiting their response. In the meantime, I figured I’d share a little about the design process that went into the creation of my poster.

Preliminary Sketches

Water Pollution Concept - Johanan Colon
Before I began any form of sketching, I did do some research on the topic. I wanted a good composition that got the point across visually without needing the use of words. I did a basic Google image search of “Water Pollution” and got a lot of images of pipes gushing out toxic waste into lakes and streams. Images of heaps of trash being whisked away by rivers of water and images of animals attempting to eat trash or getting caught up in it. Taking this into account, I figured representing the theme in terms of how it affects the animals and the environment that they live in would be the way to go.

I started with the rough sketch on the right. My original intent was to have the viewer’s eye go from the top of the page where a pipe is dropping garbage and follow the circular tube down the composition into the ocean where animals are fleeing the site. Once I did the rough sketch, I looked for feedback from some of my fellow designers I go to school with. They thought it was a good start but wanted me to really emphasize why the animals are fleeing instead of having them floating to the edge of the page in a static way. I then decided to reconsider the composition in order to highlight the effect the pollution is having on the animals.

The Animals

The animals needed to essentially be the star of the poster. Just drawing dirty water and trash would be so “meh” but it really hits home when you are hurting other living things. Below are the sketches of the swan family, a turtle with a plastic bag wrapped around its neck, and a duck that did not make it to the final drawing.

Animals Sketch - Johanan Colon

The rough pencil sketch

Animals Outlines - Johanan Colon

Outlined animals in Illustrator.

The Composition

Water Composition - Johanan Colon
The composition of the final product followed the same concept but with a completely different look. I have eliminated the round tube concept from the first sketch and stuck to a traditional pipe that is pouring trash and toxic waste into the lake inhabited by the sea turtle and swan family. In the top center is the slogan “Protect our WATER” with the effect of water splashing inside the seemingly bulky, bottle like letters.

Though the illustrations were done in Illustrator, these outlines were imported into Photoshop where I feel I have much more control over coloring and layering than I would in Illustrator. All coloring, visual elements, backgrounds, and effects were created in Photoshop. Creating selection masks with the pen tool was the key to getting that crisp, smooth coloring job Illustrator would offer without the hassle of dealing with vertices and control points.

Thank you guys for following my work and my creative process! Hope you continue to follow my blog, share your feedback, and any of your reposts/Pinterest pins are highly appreciated!