Every time a new series of Mad Men arrives, it inspires artists and designers to look back and draw inspiration from the comparatively clean, simple aesthetic of that era. Manchester-based illustrator Stanley Chow has produced a series of artworks based around two of the show's lead characters, advertising creatives Don Draper and Peggy Olson, and its most iconic figure, Joan Holloway -- which he has also released as posters.
We caught up with Stanley to find out more about them.
DA: Why did Mad Men inspire you to create these?
SC: "I didn't really set out to create posters, I just wanted to do caricatures of the cast because I love the show so much. Mad Men is possibly the best thing to appear on TV in my opinion. I think all the characters are beautifully written and defined. It's so stylish and moody – there's nothing on TV to compare.
"Being a caricaturist, you are always looking for new people to try and capture. Don Draper seemed the perfect the person to illustrate because of his personality, the way he was dressed, his posture, his stance -- he is like a walking caricature anyway.
"When I finished the Don Draper caricature, it initially felt a bit out of context. I needed somehow to pin him down, so with the first episode being called Smoke gets in your eyes, I gave Don a cigarette and put the Lucky Strike logo behind him, and it just worked as a poster."
DA: How did the show's mood and aesthetic help define the style of the posters?
SC: "With it being set in the 60s, it was only natural to give the posters a retro feel. I believe my style has some retro leanings anyway, so this wasn't too hard to do. Also, with the characters being dressed in 60's attire, that pretty much set the tone too.
"I used the Futura font for the Don Draper poster, simply because that was the font used for his name on his office door. The colour of the background for Miss Holloway is the colour of the walls in the Sterling Cooper office [the agency the characters work for]. With Peggy, the colour of that background was the colour of her original desk.
"The reason why I put the words 'Miss Holloway' over her boobs was obviously to emphasise Joan's assets, but it was also a little statement portraying how outrageous the sexism in that era and environment. I didn't feel I had to find anything extra to make the images work -- all the references I needed are all in the show."
DA: How did you create the posters?
SC: "I used Adobe Illustrator. It is all pretty simple vector stuff, which is the key to how I work – clean lines and geometric shapes. If it's too complicated, I tend not to go there. I also browned the edges of the poster to give it an aged feel."
DA: Are you planning to create any more?
SC: "In terms of creating more Mad Men character-based posters, I think that's it for now. The reason why I kept it to those three (Don, Joan & Peggy) is because I feel they are the most iconic characters in the show. I've done a Roger Sterling, and though he plays such a central figure in the show, he didn't work as an iconic poster protagonist for me, mainly because his character is quite repulsive despite him having a big heart.
"At the moment I'm working on posters based on quirky movie quotes. I'll then jump from that to another project and then to another because I have too short of an attention span... but there will always be more, even though there may not be more Mad Men.