Jonny Wan's instantly recognisable new-folk style combines the cleanliness of vector shapes with textures and a huge wealth of detail. His latest project shows off this detail in the best possible way, as it's a bus-stop-sized poster for the reception of the newly-combined Gutenberg and Paperhat print companies.
The piece was commissioned through DDB, and will be installed as a six-sheet backlit poster soon. We caught up with Jonny to find out more.
DA: How did you come to work on this project?
JW: "Peter Mould at DDB had previously come across my work and, along with the resident art buyer, collated a selection of images from my portfolio that they felt would suit the tone and visual aesthetic of the project.
"The brief was to create a large scale illustration that would represent the union of Gutenberg and Paperhat, two leading production companies that had recently started working with each other. As Gutenberg and Paperhat are both production companies the illustration had to reflect this and feel mechanical.
"The image had to be instantly striking and engage the viewer immediately and draw them in for a closer look. Upon closer inspection, the viewer should begin to realise that the wording within the illustration is relevant to what the two companies do. The colours of the illustration also had to reflect both the logos of Gutenberg and Paperhat equally."
DA: What was your concept for your illustration?
JW: "After reading the brief, I immediately thought of old detailed biology diagrams I used to see in school where they would have a dissected image of the head and the head was separated into different layers and sections. I thought this would be a good solution to cope with the amount of information that needed to be communicated through the illustration.
"Also having the head as the central image on a plain white background would would give the viewer a main focal point and would allow the viewer to focus solely on the details within the face rather than being overwhelmed by a large image with information being thrown at you thick and fast."
"The inclusion of a face was to give the piece a more illustrative edge. I wanted the overall image to be seen as a piece of art from afar, but has within it a messages as you start to look closer. I didn't want this to become a giant info graphic that churned out information."
DA: How did you create the piece?
JW: "The first step in creating the piece was to make sure I understood all the verbal information that had to be communicated and to then divide the face into manageable sections where the information would sit. This was all done in my sketchbook so the ideas and directions could easily be scrapped and changed.
"Once I had laid out the rough text I began to brainstorm little illustrations that represented each little area and began working the type into little illustrations. I then created a rough line work of the illustration and sent it off for feedback. I was in regular contact with Peter and so the whole feedback process was very positive and quick. Once we were both happy with the overall image I started adding colour making sure that the colours were balanced all over the face given the scale of the illustration.
"After I was happy with the colour I selected an appropriate font to reflect the companies and began to refine areas of the image that were not as clear as others."
DA: What was the biggest creative challenge and how did you overcome it?
JW: "The biggest challenge throughout this project was getting the balance of the overall illustration just right. The size of each section, colour distribution, font size and clarity all had to be looked at and reassessed regularly so that everything was evenly spread. The scale of the illustration made it impossible to print out proofs, so I had to view the illustration at full size on my computer screen and judge with my own eyes from further away."