The fourth year of the BWBeatles Festival saw the group’s greatest undertaking yet: a complete performance of The Beatles’ self-titled 1968 double album, commonly reffered to as The White Album. This project would also be my largest for the group, which ultimately yeilded several seperate poster designs, 3 different ticket designs, a program concept & layout, video teasers, among other smaller designs.
The hardest part was deciding where to start. For past two year’s designs, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonley Hearts Club Band & Magical Mystery Tour, I drew inspiration from the colorful nature of the album covers and music within. The cover of The White Album is just that, white, so I really had no obvious influences to draw upon. I ultimately decided to still find inspiration from the album cover and music, just in a new way: like the cover, all of my designs would be as minimal as possible, and the songs would be represented by logos that would either reference a song title or obvious lyric.
The only direct reference to the album cover in any of my promotional materials is the type and styling. The original cover of The Beatles is set in Helvetica Bold, and stylized as The BEATLES. I emulated the same style, setting, and color in the title as The WHITE ALBUM, though several different names & styles were tested.
The first poster finalized for the project was created in the exact style of the original album cover. In an ideal world, this would have been the final poster design, but with nothing more than small type on a large poster, it was not a practical promotional piece, since it would have done little to adversise the event. It did, however, work perfectly as a teaser, though many were stolen from their places around campus.
By the time it was sent to print, my poster concept for The WHITE ALBUM had been in existence, in one form or another, for just under 2 years. The BWBeatles had discussed performing The White Album in 2013, but ultimately decided to perform Magical Mystery Tour. During that short period in the Summer of 2012, I had enough time to throw together a rough draft / concept for a poster before the show was changed. Once The White Album was settled on for the 2014 event, I dug up the old design concept and picked up where I left off.
The original rough concept (see below) featured a handful of songs that I thought would best represent the album, and be easily recognized. Each would wind up on the final poster in roughly the same form. I eventually would scrap the ideas for a serial number on the bottom (all original pressing of the vinyl album were stamped with a serial number) and the distressed look, which was supposed to emulate the look of a worn vinyl album cover.
Starting with the base outline, the only way to develop the design was by adding and arranging new song logos. After debating which songs should be included, I eventually decided that all 30 songs on the album should be represented on the poster. Some are clear references to song titles (eg. Back In The U.S.S.R. & Piggies) while others are references to song themes and lryics (eg. Honey Pie & Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da). Most logos were obtained from various places on the internet, but some I created myself (eg. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?, Honey Pie, Yer Blues). The use of the logos, for both the poster and general branding, proved invaluable as they were able to be arranged and utilized in various marketing and design pieces.
Organization was key when putting the final touches on the poster. It was very important to me that all the logos, big and small, worked well with each other, and that nothing was hidden or seemed cluttered.
I was asked to create a limited edition poster to sell at the events. I also needed to keep enough white space in the poster, as some were to be signed and I wanted the signatures to stand out from the design.
Wanting to keep the same branding, but still identify as disticnt, I used only a handful of the song logos (a cluster I accidentally created while designing the program), a longer title including the Festival name and both dates, and made the poster horizontal. Only 75 of these were printed.
As in previous years, the BWBeatles played their first show in the Conservatory on Friday night as a “preview night” for students. This year’s tickets were inspired by the template from last year’s ticket designs. The header & footer were similar, and the middle had 6 different song logos that were randomized before numbering, ensuring students next to each other in line received different logo tickets. Like the year before, my goal was to be able to give something as a take-away souvenir from the concert.
The WHITE ALBUM’s main concert tickets created a bit of a design dilemma this year. In keeping with the design campaign, we wanted the tickets to remain minimal. However, the tickets for the event are in such a demand that we were worried about people duplicating them. We decided to keep the tickets relatively minimal, keeping them text-based. But, like each original pressing of The White Album, the tickets were hand-stamped with a number, which made duplication much more difficult.
This year was also the first year that VIP tickets needed to be created for various special guests to attend the event. I decided to make the tickets as different as I could, but still keep them minimal. I decided, unlike anything else in the main branding campaign, that they were to be black. I added a few song logos to make the designs a little more important, and again to differentiate them from the General Admission tickets.
This was the first year that I designed and did the layout for the program. To be used for both events, the program included set lists, facts about the album and individual songs, personnel lists, and other info.
The cover of the program featured the minimal Baldwin Wallace logo placed like the original album and teaser poster from earlier in the year. Most of the program’s design was fairly straightforward, however I am very proud of the Program Notes pages, which featured a song-by-song list and paragraph about each song. Next to each song is the corresponding logo from the program, serving as a key to the poster and rest of the branding campaign.
Part of the promotional campaign for The WHITE ALBUM included a select number of members from the BWBeatles playing an intimate acoustic set at Nighttown, a jazz club in downtown Cleveland. Unlike last year’s event poster, we wanted this year’s to tie into the general marketing and branding campaign, so the decision was made to make the Nighttown poster unique, but an extension of the main concert design.
My first crack at this design revolved around a collage of identifiable song logos overlaid ontop of each other. I decided to revise the design to include an acoustic guitar as the centerpiece, since the event was an acoustic performance. The background switched from white to black in order to differentiate this piece just enough from the rest of the campaign.
Like the Magical Mystery Concert the year before, I attended The WHITE ALBUM in 2014 and I was able to not only see both shows, but witness 500+ people interact with my tickets and programs, purchase posters, and seem excited to see my work, which I think is a pretty unique experience for a designer.
I also enjoyed following several Instagram tags and see my work pop up in other people’s photos! Some examples are below: