THIS IS a problem in the design of an exhibition poster. You are asked to solve it in three different ways. In style, your three posters might be quite different from one another. Or, they might instead be a suite or series of posters, in which they are variations on a theme.

The exhibition’s title is RARA AVIS: A Poster Exhibition About Audubon’s Birds. The title is in reference to a series of paintings of birds by artist-naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851), 435 of which which were later made into hand-colored engravings and lithographs, and published as a famous book, titled The Birds of America. (The term rara avis is Latin for “rare bird,” and is commonly used to indicate that a person is highly unusual—sometimes in a positive sense, at other times not.)

Audubon was himself a rare bird of sorts. The person from whom the Audubon Society gets its name, he was a French-born American artist who became widely known for his paintings of animals, especially birds. He was the second person to attempt to record the appearance of nearly all American birds.

Audubon’s paintings were groundbreaking, in part because they clearly show the behavioral movement of the birds (they appear almost to be alive), and place them in the context of their natural surrounding. Surviving copies of Audubon’s book are much sought after, and in 2010 a copy sold at Sotheby’s for $11.5 million.

High resolution, full-sized digital files of these images are available on the internet as copyright-free, public domain components.   In this problem, you will be using fragments of these images to construct your own original forms.
 
One way to access those images (they are available at other locations as well) is to go to the article on The Birds of America on Wikipedia at <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birds_of_America>. In scrolling down the page, you will find a section called plates. At the bottom of that, click on gallery of the rest of the plates, which then links to <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mturtle/The_Birds_of_America>. All of Audubon’s bird prints are available there. 

On Wikipedia, whenever you click on one of the thumbnail images, a larger image opens up. When you click on more details at the lower right, another image file appears, and below that is a list of different sizes that are downloadable. Click on original file and download the file to your desktop. 

If a particular Audubon image is one of his larger ones (he made all the birds life-size), you will get a warning that The original file has a large number of pixels and may either not load properly or cause your browser to freeze. Despite that, we haven’t much choice, since we need high resolution image files for this project. Don’t be surprised if the download process is slow. Also, it may not be wise to download more than one image at a time. (By the way, each of us could save time by sharing our downloaded image files with other people in our class.) 

Once you’ve downloaded a selection of source images, you can begin to alter parts in any number of ways. You can use the altered parts to construct odd, provocative forms that are different from the Audubon’s original plates.

What do I mean by “altered” parts. The options are almost limitless. Here are a few of things you could do to a part: Cut it out. Repeat it. Repeat it repeatedly. Take out the background. Bring in a different background. Enlarge or reduce the part. Zoom in dramatically. Rotate it. Turn it in space. Polarize the color. Change the color balance. Make it translucent or transparent. Place it on top of another part. Extract another part out of it. Make it fill a silhouette. Select an area inside it, then invert select and choose to fill that selection with content-aware fill. Make it a negative. Replace selected colors. Use it as a visual pun. And so on and on and on.

I have no way of predicting what kinds of new forms might result. The possibilities are endless. Essentially, what we are trying to do is to invent beautiful thought-provoking forms, and then to combine them suitably with equally thoughtful arrangements of type. All this is in the context of three tabloid-size (11 x 17 inch) posters.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birds_of_Americahttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mturtle/The_Birds_of_Americashapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1
ART 2030
graphic design one | problem 2
 
Projections of the three proposals for this problem will be critiqued in class on Wednesday, September 27. Revised printouts are due one week later.
Above are three quickie demonstrrations I made on the day before our class meeting. At this point, I think they are far from finished. The text at the bottom is poorly resolved. Also, note that here and there I’ve used a few components (a faint portrait of Audubon, for example, or a shooting target) that are not actually taken from Audubon’s prints. I don’t have any objection to that.
 
 
11 in
17 in
Audubon
Poster 1
The printed page size is 11 x 17 (tabloid, vertical or horizontal), but there is a white border on all sides.
 
 
11 in
17 in
Audubon
Poster 2
The printed page size is 11 x 17 (tabloid, vertical or horizontal), but there is a white border on all sides.
 
 
11 in
17 in
Audubon
Poster 3
The printed page size is 11 x 17 (tabloid, vertical or horizontal), but there is a white border on all sides.
In solving this problem, you should use Adobe Photoshop to make the recombined images. You could then add the text components within Photoshop. Or, you could instead open up a new tabloid Adobe InDesign file, bring the image into that from Photoshop, and complete the poster in InDesign.
 
Since we used InDesign in the previous problem, it might be wise to make these posters entirely in Photoshop, to become accustomed to combining type and image layers in that software.
Required Text
Obviously, the text of the posters must include the exhibition’s title and subtitle: RARA AVIS: A Poster Exhibition About Audubon’s Birds.
 
Also essential are the dates: November 25 - December 4, 2017, and location: Ground Floor, South Wing, Kamerick Art Building, University of Northern Iowa.
 
In addition, there should be a note that states Featuring posters designed by UNI graphic design students.
Do you want more information? There’s a wonderful one-hour Audubon documentary film, made by PBS, that is available free on YouTube. There are also some informative biographical articles about him and The Birds of America that come up on an online search, including Wikipedia.