Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
Speak Up Poster Critique › 31-60

For those who giveth:
Be honest, objective and thorough. Don’t be obnoxious, insulting or a jerk.

For those who receiveth: Be receptive, open and talkative. Don’t be defensive, whiny or sad.

Posters 31 through 60 are open for critique.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Nov.17.2004 BY Armin
ben’s comment is:

i like the poster...

did any one else's professors tell them not to use the word 'like' in a critique?

On Nov.17.2004 at 11:25 AM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Did everyone’s professors not tell them where they hide real quotation marks and apostrophes or am I just pathetically 20th century for even caring?

On Nov.17.2004 at 11:48 AM
Mike Ziegenhagen’s comment is:

Running off for an interview but here are my quick 2 cents. 55 is really very nicely done. Great image along with a solid quote. The blue was a nice choice. Just a great simple intelligent poster.

I loved 42. The colors work well together. The ornaments/illustrations work really well. Did you create these from scratch or pull them from somewhere? I think it is an excellent quote. I think everybody would like to see a lot more doing and less just talking.

46-Ha. I never really noticed that one before. It's pretty funny. I love that the D in God is hanging from her nipple. I can't say that I am in love with colors but I am kind of stuck for what I think the alternative would be. Just black on grey paper might have worked. Maybe a red or yellow for some of the headlines.

31 was a favorite of mine. I had that quote on my list. I didn't really think I could do it better than Matt had already done it though. The illustrations were well executed as was all of the type.

The steam coming out of the coffee in 48 drew me in Nice image though. I just wasn't all that excited by the commentary.

Gunnar, I think part of that is people think if they click the smart quote radio button they are covered. Which is obviously not the case. Of course some people just don't realize the mistake that is being made. I will admit to accidentally leaving a dumb quote here or there in larger projects. Certainly something that should be noticed in a poster.

For those that need to know.

opt+[ or ]=quotes

opt+shift+[ or } = closing quote and apostrophe.

This in illustrator at least.

I'm out. Everybody have a good day. Great job on the posters.

On Nov.17.2004 at 12:24 PM
parek’s comment is:

i think the (fake) quotation marks in poster 33 make sense because of its context (designers on the toilet, poor design, and its implications).

On Nov.17.2004 at 12:26 PM
danielle’s comment is:

only 3 on this page caught my good attention:

#42 - great workmanship, beautiful illustrative quality, colors are fab. i wonder what it looked like before the compound paths were dropped out... I think the concept and quote stand well on their own without the hands. this deserves the number of votes it received.

#54 - i really like the type balance and use of negative space and color. cool usage of job elements for a quotation mark. makes the poster into both a statement and an open ended question. how well it corresponds with gunnar's recent discussion!

#57 - i'm partial to this random woodcut style.

There are a few others I think are well done (31, 32, 39), but this page is also laden with amateurish and even offensive posters... hard to impartially judge!

#51 — I still can't read it. nice challenge, but what does it say!?

#60 - I didn't foresee this one being a judge's fave! Sometimes we bury the simplest of solutions under a complex or overworked design. congrats.

On Nov.17.2004 at 01:09 PM
Greg’s comment is:

most disjunctive quote/illustration (aka the "um, what?" award) 31-60 - #43. Dog? Quote from the announcement of the poster contest? Um, what?*

The "I finally see the sailboat!" award goes to #51. It took me three weeks to realize that said something. I love hidden messages. Cool.

"Best poster to receive zero votes" is a tossup this time, between #34 and #58. I like the color selection, quote, and style of 58, but the quote didn't come from Speak Up (I don't think). Steven's poster is really cool too, I like how he kind of turned it on it's side in a 3D way. Reminds me of that car commercial where they show you the front view of the owners manual, and then kind of fly into it to show the whole car. Anyway, nice.

*I apologize if this seems obnoxious, insulting, or jerky. Just having some fun. You are welcome to bash my poster when we get there. I plan to.

On Nov.17.2004 at 02:06 PM
szkat’s comment is:

ben - saying "like" would get me kicked out of class. a repeat offender could get excommunicated for even longer.

gunnar - there will never be anything pathetic about specific attention to typography. around my office we say, "if it's not done right, then don't call it done."

as for my critiques:

#34 - this speaks metaphorically to the way i design. it's to do with reconnecting the viewer to a jung-ian idea. you pull on what you've seen or experienced, and instead of explaining your thing specifically, pull on its subtexts and use a new face altogether to represent the same quality. an easy example is chip kidd, who sometimes recontextualizes unusual pictures to take on new forms of metaphor.

this is why i'm not such a fan of #s 50, 52, or 53. too literal for my taste. not bad in terms of balance or layout, but not my taste in concept.

i too fell under the spell of #42. i think the color choices are extremely well done, and filling in the bowl of the letterforms makes the chunk of text easier to read - although it makes the image seem right-heavy to me. it's the word "make," i think. if that were tweaked just a little, little bit, i'd frame it up.

On Nov.17.2004 at 02:41 PM
Spencer Fruhling’s comment is:

After a few minutes of squinting, I'm pretty sure #51 says "never good enough."

On Nov.17.2004 at 03:39 PM
Mike Ziegenhagen’s comment is:

Thanks spencer. Now I also see the sailboat. Kind of makes a much more interesting poster than I had originally thought.

On Nov.17.2004 at 05:08 PM
Anthony’s comment is:

After a few minutes of squinting, I'm pretty sure #51 says "never good enough."

Ahhh. So that's it. I thought I had to look at my screen from above or some askew angle. I'd like to know how these characters were synthesized.

I think some of this batch in particular woulda looked really sharp silkscreened. Number 42 [heart and hands] is damn nice to look at. And read. I wouldn't have filled in the open parts of the characters but that's just me. Use of scale works well in this one. The hands should remain small. This piece looks like it was made by a human. Outside of Illustrator.

Number 39 [red lady head w/ mirror] looks good and might look better on paper, much larger. I disagree with the handling of some of the small text though. The text block looks a bit cramped. And the last line ("Perhaps men have bigger egos" [which I strongly, profoundly disagree completely with, but that's beside the point]) could be made a little smaller or a different typeface because it appears to be larger than the first line of title blackletter text. Use of halftone dots for the lady head is effective. How did you tranfer the image to a vector drawing? I went through Adobe Streamline. ew.

Number 43 [dog tethered to a tree] made me think for more than a couple seconds. A feeling of helplessness is found in this one I didn't see anywhere else. The dog tied to a telephone pole is a good analogy to the customer in this one.

Number 55 [bowler cap with bar code] is popular, with 15 votes. I might be missing something here. Is the man in the cap Hitler? Because it looks like a guy from the 40s-30s with a Hitler mustache. The design is pretty and simple. Well balanced. But I think the UPC- bar code thing is something we've seen many times before. It's not used poorly or ineffectively here, we've just seen it so often in political/ant-corporate design.

I hadn't seen Number 59 until today. I should've had my vote. Simple, smart, looks like it was made by a human outside of and Adobe product. I wouldn't mind putting it on me wall. The only thing I might take away is the teardrop. I know it relates to the quote but I think it looks somehow foreign to the poster.

And I think Number 52 [blue square] works well. Because blue squares cause boredom and complacency in consumers, and suicidal tendencies in designers. Hopefully in forty years designers will look back and see the blue square as a quaint product of 90s and 00s corporate design. And Ryan, thanks for not replacing your halftone dots with ones and zeroes.

On Nov.17.2004 at 05:32 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

I was at first annoyed by nos. 34 & 35 because the graphic of 34 is lifted directly from a sample file that came with Freehand 10 & the 35 is covered with the FH10 logo.

But when I saw that the poster was by Steven Soshea who worked at Macromedia & probably came up with the graphic & logo in the first place, it gave a deeper personal (to Mr Soshea) meaning to the quote. Kinda cool.

And exonerated him from my mental lazy ripoff accusation.

Am I correct in my reasoning, Steven?

On Nov.17.2004 at 05:39 PM
Mason’s comment is:


Just a few things to think about in the future:

1. Color: The lime green is way too loud.

2. Vertical type: I'm too lazy to make the effort to read it.

3. Type: Try to use more contrast in scale perhaps.

4. Cropping: "Sell Shit" reads like one word. It's confusing.

On Nov.17.2004 at 06:03 PM
szkat’s comment is:

anthony -- charlie chaplin?

On Nov.17.2004 at 06:08 PM
Ragnar Freyr’s comment is:

Thank you all for fun comments on my poster! (#51)

The characters were designed specially for this competition poster. I wanted to make something that would be hard to read because using a quote was required. I wanted people to see these abstract lines and initially think that I was cheating by not using a quote from one of the SpeakUp authors.

The design of the characters themselves came from a study I've been doing on letterforms. I've been asking myself the simple question; "When does the letter A stop being an A?" and I've been experimenting a lot with vertical and horizontal lines to form a character.

I've actally designed the whole 26 letter alphabet of these line characters. It is called the Lineletter Alphabet. You can see it here. Some letters are obviously not perfect but hey... it's an ongoing experiment. :)

Thank you all again and best regards from Iceland.

On Nov.17.2004 at 06:41 PM
ObscureArt’s comment is:

>anthony -- charlie chaplin?

Didn't any of you take art history? The man in the bowler hat is a classic reference to Magritte's work. The moustache was an odd addition that probably threw people off.

Btw, Vanderbyl is known for a similar poster he did a few years back for AIGA's Get Out the Vote campaign. Large bowler hat, stripes, sky background, etc...

Nothing is ever new.

On Nov.17.2004 at 06:45 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Thanks for the compliments Greg, Szcat, and Jeff.

With #34, yeah, I did indeed do that FH10 sample poster when I worked for Macromedia. You can see the original on my site. I think you're probably the only one on the planet that ever looked at those sample files. (Or maybe more people look at those than I had considered.) I really liked Jason's quote and wanted to use it. That graphic element immediately came to mind. Since it was my brainchild to begin with, I thought it was acceptable to re-purpose it for this instance. However, I will point out that the detailing in the gridwork is different. Since the original FH version was a multi-color job, the intermittent solid square treatment kinda fell flat in one color. So I redid those squares grid layers with alternating verticle and horizontal lines, so that the overlapping mesh would get really complex. And to that extent, I like this version better than the original one. I also think Jason's quote works better than the original too.

To be honest, I did feel a bit guilty about not making it even more different by moving around the vanishing point and shifting other aspects. But this art really pushed the capabilities of FreeHand and my computer kept crashing. So it was going to take a lot of time to do this. And mainly, my wife and I had just bought a house and we were right in the middle of moving out of our rental and boxing up 8 years of accumulated stuff (read: crap) and I was beginning to have panic attacks about getting it all done in time. Bottomline, higher priorities superceded originality. Had I more time, I would have made it more unique. But I still really like this poster -- better than the original.

With respect to #35 and it's relationship to the old FH logo, well, that wasn't on the radar screen for me. Maybe it was something unconscious, but was not at all intended. I mean, I like Freehand and I had some good times back at the ol' Double M, but I'm not that much of a freak. No that part of the artwork was actually picked up from a Wiggle Word-It that I did. The optical trip-out effect was supposed to impart a psychological aspect to the meaning of "experience matrix." And once again it was a case of "ain't got no time, ain't making any money, it's freakin' good enough!" (By that time, I'm surrounded by boxes and it was the last thing I did on my computer before putting it in box.) One thing that you can't see with the poster at this size is that the green circles are actually Emigre Whirligig swirls. So the backgroud has a lot of rave-o-matic optical energy that unfortunately doesn't show at this scale.

Any-hoo, I did enjoy working on these, despite the short-cuts. I actually kept thinking about other ideas afterwards -- but it was "time's up, pencils down" at that point.

Now, as far as other 31 to 60 posters, like others, I'm rather fond of #42 and #59, for different reasons:

42 does have a nice humanist touch. The filigree line work looks very nostalgic and feminine, while the typography with its filled in letters and shifting baseline and sizes gives the piece a more modern context. The heart-dotted "i" is subtle enough so that it avoids being cliché and adds a nice touch.

59 has a surreal edge to it that I like. I am reminded of James Victore's style of work without really copying him. It also looks like an image that you might find coming out of Eastern Europe, being shown in Graphis magazine. The drawing style looks like a scanned pencil sketch, and that immediacy is appropriate to the emotions of the quote. I might've used a stronger color rather than the grey to heighten the emotional impact, but that's just a matter of personal taste: I could see a case being made for it being starkly monochromatic, too.

On Nov.17.2004 at 08:22 PM
Agrayspace’s comment is:


This one got my vote. At first I saw the Magritte connection but then the mustache through that off. And I wasn't sure about the connection to the quote.

Then I began to see it as CHARLIE CHAPLIN, whom one could consider an unequivocal icon of personal creativity. That for me was powerful and instantly the poster became something I would very much like to read and see everyday. I still really want this poster but I would want it really huge. I would pay to have this plotted.


I really loved this one even though I never knew what it said (untill just now). But I always knew it said something. And now hearing the story behind those awesome letterforms I just dig it even more. Super nice work.

Other Great poster I give mad props too: 32, 42, 39 (though the very top and bottom pieces of type could be 86ed)

The prize for best missed opportunity is......#38, 32

When I first read the quote I really wanted to like the poster. I just thought the idea it presented was powerful and would remind me as a designer what exactly I am doing everyday. But the execution was not up to par. A little obvious in the imagery and the typography is totally "phoned in". Sorry

On Nov.17.2004 at 09:42 PM
Anthony’s comment is:

anthony -- charlie chaplin?

Ah yes, well I'm an idiot. But does Mr Chaplin have anything to do with this quote? Is this a one-percenter where I have to know the titles of Chaplin films to get it? The Magritte thing also came to mind but I didn't see any relation to quote or visual cues other than the hat. I this one particularly frustrating because it does such a good job of bringing me in, and ultimately doesn't take me anywhere. I can get past the use of the UPC code but the bowler hat doesn't have any bearing on the quote as far as I can see. Angryspace's comments above indicates that Chaplin is a sort of symbol of creativity, which I can accept, but the link between Chaplin's creativity and the message of creating over consuming is a weak one. I think a strong(er) link may be found in Magritte's painting as pure creation. My two cents.

On Nov.17.2004 at 10:52 PM
Anthony’s comment is:

meant agrayspace not angryspace, oops

On Nov.17.2004 at 10:54 PM
Harley’s comment is:

055 got my vote. Interesting to read the differing interpretations of the image. I didn't see Chaplin or Magritte. I saw a representation of the financial markets. The bowler hat, in the UK, is a symbol of banking and the stock market. I would definately hang it on my wall. I'd love to hear the designer's intention.

I also loved 038, a very powerful image, and an intelligent/powerful use of the quotation. The image has depth, real atmosphere. great result with a limited colour palette. good job.

On Nov.18.2004 at 03:53 AM
szkat’s comment is:

i'm glad we got the magritte clarification.

anthony - i was just throwing out an idea to get you away from wondering if it was hitler :) i wasn't sure who it was, either.

it does such a good job of bringing me in, and ultimately doesn't take me anywhere.

i agree with that. the bar code knocks magritte out of my mind because if i'm told magritte son of man (YES, i took art history) i don't think bowler hat, i think apple. as in adam's fall. as in son of man.

On Nov.18.2004 at 09:59 AM
Armin’s comment is:

No. 46 by Jim Lasser is one of my favorite posters. The quote is magnificent by Michael B. and the execution is quite on par. The use of color and colored paper makes the most of the medium. My only complaint is that I don't see why the type that rests on the light blue square is not rugged like the rest.

No. 50 by my dad… I like the prositute. I think it was too much type for the poster. And the colors are nice.

No. 42 by Firebelly was another one of my favorites, but I didn't like the dropping of the counters. The thick blue spaces clash heavily with the delicate ornamentation.

No. 32 by Nina has a beautiful texture. The treatment of "Chaos happens" is not greatly resolved; smaller and less central may have been more effective.

Nos. 34 and 35 by Steven are not quite appropriate for silkscreen, too much detail. They would work much better if printed offset.

I had quite a liking for Cindy's No. 39. It's mysterious, elegant in an evilish way and it has a nice use of overlay.

On Nov.18.2004 at 07:14 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Yeah Armin, I hear ya. But then I sometimes like to push the limits of things. : )

On Nov.19.2004 at 02:16 AM
firebelly design co.’s comment is:

Thanks everyone for you kinds words about our design. It's nice to see so many people liked our poster. Actually, I especially like to hear what people don't like about it. Knowing what you fucked up helps you cope when you lose. We thought Mr. Chantry was going to pick it (we're big fans). We weren't all that surprise when he picked our favorite instead.

We put a lot of work into the production of this poster. Everything was hand drawn, except for the hands which we found. This really will pop when it's silk-screened too. The white ink reversed on the type and the contrast to the red really will look beautiful. The French paper color is really more of steel gray than the blue it appears to be.

We loved this quote from Debbie Millman too. I'd like to know how she feels about it especially. Did we do your wise words justice Debbie? We thought the message was SO perfect for the SpeakUp groupies. You know when we get all philosophical on here and spend way too much time spewing our guts out to each other, well that's where this quote comes in, we thought. In fact, we think you should put this at the end of every discussion.

I enjoy hearing people's different reactions. I'm glad everyone appreciates the fact that it looks like a human made it. Imagine that. The way posters are meant to be I think. Keep the criticism coming though. I think one person said it is too sappy. I guess we're sentimental in believing design can make a difference here at Firebelly. We'll probably print some up and sell them on our new web site, once we get it up, for those who are interested.

Congrats to the winners and all else who participated. Looking forward to next time.


On Nov.19.2004 at 04:38 PM
Agrayspace’s comment is:

But does Mr Chaplin have anything to do with this quote?

Does he have to have anything to do with the quote directly? The magic is whats inferred by the juxtaposition. That is what makes it design and not illustration. You have to figure out what Chaplin (if thats what your seeing it as) has to with Creativity or Consumption and determine for yourself what the poster is trying to say.

To me its simply a reminder to be better.

On Nov.19.2004 at 07:19 PM
Laura Pavelko’s comment is:

#71 Mr. David Weinberger

I thought this poster demonstrated great wit and intelligence. Each element, from the field of black to the organic lines, supported an interesting concept. I really wish this entry had won...

Overall I found that even though many of the other posters were interesting upon first glance, their components failed to support each other.

I think that each of the elements in a poster (or any design for that matter) should have enough value to stand on its own. There were some entries in which the quote is really interesting, but the imagery fails, and vice versa. Sure, it's wonderful to create great visuals, but at the end of the day what are they communicating?

On Nov.20.2004 at 12:56 AM