My boyfriend B is a soul & funk DJ. He buys and sells and plays rare 45 RPM vinyl in mainly in Houston & Austin (and occasionally all over the country and world!) His monthly dance party in Houston is called Dirty Honey. I have been designing his gig posters for the last 15 months. (give or take?!) I kind of love the process and dread it at the same time- he kind of acts like a client and I have to respect his wishes. I don’t always get to choose the direction or imagery, and he is not a designer- which boils my blood when he can’t articulate why he doesn’t like something, he just says “I don’t like it”. We fight a lot during poster week. It’s really the only time we ever fight. Aside from Mr. Opinionated, designing a monthly poster for a soul & funk show is treacherous. The genre has many pitfalls- aside from the normal struggle of staying fresh and creative, I dislike falling into any traps of excessive use of black-sploitation imagery, bikini-ed chicks with afros, or overly vintage-y or predictable pictures.
B and I both search for imagery to scan or for me to work on- I dig through his records (we have an entire room in our 1200 square foot bungalow dedicated to records- it’s a big deal around here, and I’m not complaining; it’s B’s bread and butter!), I look through photo archives, books, and take pictures when I’m out and about with my iPhone. (the flourish-y box and the tinting of the photo were inspired by a phone pic I took of a 1930′s or 40′s Grand Prize Beer poster at our neighborhood BBQ joint Pizzatolas. Then I recreated it in Illustrator, and made a little “DH” monogram. The giant man hovering over the skyline was an already-combined promotional image for an artist named Bobo Mr. Soul. B scanned it out of one his music history books. The tinting was further inspired by this great post. (If I had gotten My way I would’ve played with opaque pyramids and laser beams shooting out of his eyes and hovering cubes with bauhaus inspired fonts…) But I must keep my Client happy and this solution was much more uh… soulful.
Looking back at the last year or so worth of Dirty Honey posters, I see reoccurring patterns in usage of similar colors, my steadfast devotion to Helvetica and it’s inherent versatility. I see little things I learned in design school and have not abandoned, and things I have taught myself or learned from designer friends and online tutorials. I really like designing for myself- it used to be a lot more intimidating; until I started having more faith in my own abilities. Though I studied graphic design (amongst getting a few other degrees – Agriculture, Anthropology long story! ) I haven’t worked professionally as a designer for a long long time. Dirty Honey is my monthly way of keeping my chops sharp so-to-speak.
So without further ado- the current Dirty Honey poster and a mini archive of the last year or so…
More DIY’s coming soon!