Erik Nitsche Influence


Click here to see a full size version of my work!

This project was a great exercise in really looking closely at graphic design. I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to come up with something clever or beautiful without stopping first to look at really good design. For this project, I appreciated the opportunity to really absorb all of the things that make a designer’s work influential and lasting. I chose to take a closer look at Swiss designer Erik Nitsche and his 1960’s series of posters for General Dynamics.

I felt like I learned about Erik Nitsche’s work just from looking at it. I really admired the simplicity of his series for General Dynamics. He used clean lines, bright colors, and clear, minimal type. He created motion in his work with as few lines as possible, and each poster in the series has balanced, fluid composition. His use of simple shapes communicates an idea without needing detailed illustrative elements. He used simple transparency to give the effect of dimension.


An example from Nitsche’s General Dynamics

In my influence project, I wanted to emulate what I liked most about Nitsche’s poster. I liked the use of transparency, the bold colors, and the minimal shapes. I also liked how Nitsche would apply soft patterns to the background of shapes – I overlayed transparent circles with thin outlines of bike wheels. I also liked his bold lines. I also incorporated the use of colorful lines crossing the page, showing basic motion.

I loved this project. It not only allowed me to echo a designer I admire, but it also allowed me to design for an event I really care about – the Little 500. I work for the IU Student Foundation, so I could apply a design I really admire to an organization that puts on one of the best days of the year!


Another example of Nitsche’s work on General Dynamics

Looking back, I think I  missed an opportunity to use the slight vignette that makes his work look older. Although I think I did a fair job of utilizing key elements in Nitsche’s work, but I had difficulty imitating his use of composition and the placement of these elements. I feel like my greatest difficulty in this class is having a strong eye for balance and composition. I think in the end, my poster looks fairly balanced – but that came after really studying Nitsche’s style. And I am glad that this project allowed me to examine and use some classic and elegant elements of graphic design that I will use later in my own work!

Shiyun’s influence Saul Bass

Click here to view my poster full size!

Click here to view my poster full size!


Saul Bass’s design.










My little 500 poster was influenced by Saul Bass’ work. Saul Bass is a very great graphic desiner. He designs a lot of graphics for many companies, like AT&T. I like his works very much. I think his work can show people his thought in a very simple way. So I choose his work to be my influence design.

I found the background of his works always have only one color, and the color of background should be easy for people to see clearly his content. For my posster,  I chose the color, red, be the background color because red is the IU’s color and this color is easy for me to read words. Then, Bass likes to use white and very dark colors, like black and dark blue. For my poster, I mainly used the white and black. The most important words are “Little 500”, so I added the “glass” effect on the “little” to stress it. Using the white to fill “500” because “00” is also the wheel of the bike. In the black bike, the wheels are white can let reader see more clearly “500”. What’s more, Bass’s wrds and shapes of objects are all uneven. For my poster, I used pen tool to write the words “Little 500″, and used pen tool to draw those rectangles. Many unevens rectangles formed the “rectangle” shape, so it looks not in a mess. And I added words on those rectangles to make it more interesting. Based on the creativity what I mentioned above, that learned from Bass works, I am satisfied with my poster.

In general, I think my work successfully represents the influence of Bass. However, the characteristics of Bass’s works must be not limited in what I have found. When I saw his works, I always found although his shapes of objects are uneven, his work always looks in unity, but my poster just can be in harmony, it still can’t be the whole unit like his works. So I still need to study his works in the future.




Click on the image for PDF version

Click on the image for PDF version

1993-31-165-Matt Flynn 027

1993-31-165-Matt Flynn 027










This is my influence post. I did my poster of Little 500 under the influence of Alvin Lustig, who was an American graphic designer. I choose one of the posters that he designed and I studied its design style and apply it into my poster.

The overall style of the poster that I choose is pretty simple. The outline of the main object it quite rough and doesn’t include lots of details. For the design of the central image of this poster, Lustig filled it with pure brown color and also added few text in it, so that it won’t make me feel too empty and boring. Behind the main image, there is another shadow like object which has the same shape but in a larger size and a lighter color. The rough sketches on the shape make the image looks more artistic, and it also correlates to the simple and rough style that Lustig used in this poster design. The font that Lustig chose to use is quite simple and clear to see. I really love his design in this poster overall.

As for my poster, I follow the overall style of Lustig in this poster. I left some space in my poster, and I use only three colors in the entire poster, in that I don’t want to make my poster looks complicated which would contradict to Lustig’s style. In order to show the theme of Little 500 of the poster, I drew a rough shape of a man riding a bicycle. I filled this shape with all black color and add the “Little 500” text in this shape. As what Lustig did, I put a larger size of the same image behind my central image and add some rough sketches in the filled while color. I use Abadi MT Condensed Extra Bold as my font, because it looks clean and simple, without any extra decoration. Moreover, I put my the details about the event as three stratified lines at the bottom, as if they are the roads that the bicycle passes by.

For the overall design, I think I focus on studying the influence under Lustig and apply his style in designing poster into mine. I do follow his simple and rough style in designing, so I try to keep my poster as simple as possible. For my first version this poster, I drew some delicate lines of the man and his bicycle and I think that looks nice, but after review Lustig’s design, I feel that he seldom drew something in a very realistic way. Instead, he loved to represent them in a rough and kind of dramatic way. I think that’s what I learned from him.

Violaine & Jeremy Influence Poster


Click to see the larger view of my poster design based off my influence


Click to see a design from my influence


Click to see more of my influence’s work










For this project I chose the graphic designers/studio Violaine & Jeremy. I specifically focused my influence on a project they worked on with Yann Kebbi. Violaine & Jeremy are a graphics company based in Paris, France that uses intricate (at least to me) technics to make graphic designs and illustrations.  This company is known for artistic direction, illustrations, textile pattern design, graphic identity, webdesign, and editorial design. The reason I chose these specific graphic designers is because when I saw their work nothing else could really compare. I knew making the poster would be difficult but their graphics grabbed me. I like the fact that they are so detailed in the works that they do. Many of their projects are hand drawn, or they actually make molds to imprint impressions on the paper, extremely detailed, or sophisticatedly simplistic. I feel like their projects a re all very regal, slightly vintage, and their color choices – even the more gray scale works – grab me. I felt drawn to their work, and I felt inspired when I looked through their different projects. Since some of their projects had different styles I knew it was going to be hard to choose which style to work off of, but I finally chose the one with Yann Kebbi. The reason being, I knew it would be challenging (they all would have) but I loved the use of color and dimensions and the youthful aspects I saw through this work. I think I did way better than I expected to on representing my influence. I was so nervous about this project to begin with, but I think in the end it turned out really successful. I used photoshop with this one a lot more than I every have so that was a new experience for me, but it was interesting to learn more about the program. I think that my color choices were a little off, but I’m guessing that mainly had to do with the fact that I had to use some colored pencils. However, when I went back through and did some tonal balancing I believe that helped as well. There were many steps involved in making the poster look like my influence. I don’t know if in the future if I could eliminate any of the steps or not. I think the one thing I would change if I could was to get the background color more of a yellow tent like Violaine & Jeremy use. This is the first time I think it’s hard for me to fully critic myself, because although it was harder than I originally expected, it also turned out way better than I could’ve imagined. I was stretched and definitely feel like through this project I learned so much more about graphics and the work it takes to make something in my influence’s style.

Madi’s Influence Poster

Click here to view my poster full size!

Click here to view my poster full size!

I was pretty excited about working on this project. I really enjoy poster design, and one of my goals for the semester is to expand my design style and try things that are out of my comfort zone. I chose Kate Moross as my inspiration for a couple of reasons. For one, I think her designs are really fun and just interesting to look at. They’re colorful and playful, which I think people are sometimes afraid be. She also breaks some design rules by using pretty much any color and font that she wants, which I thought would be a challenge for me. I’m not used to designing in neon and with really gaudy display fonts. So I went for it.

Kate Moross, my influence.

Kate Moross, my influence.



My design changed a couple times from the initial sketch to the final version. My original sketch combined the core information with a bunch of bike-related words and some small bike graphics and shaped all of it into a blob in the middle of the page. I realized I was kind of trying to mimic the poster I kept looking at for inspiration. Once I moved into Illustrator, I realized there were a lot of unnecessary pieces. I didn’t like all of the text that didn’t provide information, and I didn’t want to overwhelm the poster with a bunch of bike-related graphics. I wanted to take from the minimal movie poster and keep this somewhat simple as well.

My first Illustrator version was still a little busy, as I had the full wheel off-center with text in only half of the spokes. I also had two chains zig-zagging their way around the wheel. It just looked a little haphazard for me. I also had a different font for each main piece of information. I decided that I didn’t have to follow all of Kate’s rules, so I stuck to two main fonts and moved the wheel to be cut in half, which I liked a lot better. I also went with a more abstract chain design, but kept it vertical instead of snaking around the page. I added a few smaller wheels around the edge of the main wheel to balance the text at the bottom. I also added some white highlights in the main font to make it look shiny (the original font has those pieces transparent, so they were black on my poster.)

I like my poster, but I wish I had given myself a little more time to really get the details worked out. The first text spoke is my favorite, and I wish I had worked more to get the other pieces of text to fit in the spokes more like the first one. I also ran out of time to add the white highlight to the website text, but I think that font is too small for highlights to be noticeable anyway. While my poster doesn’t look exactly like Kate’s, I think I did pick up some design tips from her. I think I could have spent more time adding some cool patterned details, like Kate’s has around all of her individual text pieces. However, I think there is a thing as too much design, and I didn’t want to overwhelm my viewers.

Liling’s Influence Saul Bass

Click to see a clear version.

Click to see a clear version of my poster.

Click to see my influence Saul Bass's poster.

Click to see my influence Saul Bass’s poster.










This is my second project—influence, my chosen designer is Saul Bass. I did research on Google by typing ‘famous graphic designer poster’. Then I have read a couple of articles introducing different graphic designers which include their work. Then I copied some of the designers’ name and use Google to search more images of their work. I eventually chose Saul Bass because I was attracted by one of his poster in the beginning, after seeing more of his work I knew this is the designer I want to pick.

Graphics designer Saul Bass.

Graphics designer Saul Bass.

Saul Bass’s design looks clean and concise, and he is famous for his use of color. His posters usually have black and white for the main content and title, and one solid color for the background. Saul Bass often use silhouetted figures against a medium-tone background color. The image in his poster usually perfectly integrates with the background. Saul Bass have a slightly off-kilter geometric shapes in his content and typography, which sometimes look like graffiti. The shapes as well as images are usually not very detailed or elaborate. I love the tone and style of his work and thus chose him as my influence.

Click to see another poster from Saul Bass.

Click to see another poster from Saul Bass.

As I said, I have been attracted by one particular poster from Saul Bass, in the beginning I limited myself to that poster and started to draw some sketches. I have created a sketch I like and is related to the poster. But as I keep doing it in Illustrator, I feel like I don’t have that many inspirations and just keep following the sketch. Of course what I created also does not fulfill what I exactly want. Also Steve said we shouldn’t have mimic one particular poster. Then I pulled out all Saul Bass’s posters again and viewed them one by one, trying to figure out the exact style of Saul Bass’s work. In the meantime, I started to do some random changes in the work I have created. Gradually, I seem to find some inspiration and a different direction after I have tried different color, typography and shapes. Eventually, my work have some Saul Bass’s style but look original.

Saul Bass's work process.

Saul Bass’s work process.

After the discussion of my work in Thursday’s class, the following days I’ve been working on minor changes in order to make my poster with more Saul Bass’s style. Since Saul Bass’s design is fairly simple and concise, I took out many exact details in my work, such as the lines, shapes and logo in the bicycle. I tried to make different tracks and played around with the color of my poster. Also, I cut the track as well as the rider into parts and kind of put them in off-kilter order. Moreover, I spent time finding suitable typography as well as trying to draw a typography myself. Sadly I couldn’t draw my own typography with Saul Bass’s feeling.


Saul Bass’s creating process.

After doing all these changes, I got this final poster. I believe my work represents the influence picked in some ways. Clearly the way of using colors and the how the image looks like have Saul Bass’s style. I would say the typography however, doesn’t represent the influence a lot. Although I spent time trying to create a suitable typography, eventually what I got didn’t satisfy me. I understand typography plays a significant role in Saul Bass’s work, so in this part I believe my design doesn’t represent it. Thus, I would say for this project, I am in the middle successful in representing my chosen influence Saul Bass.

Through this project, I understand trying to mimic someone’s style is not easy. You have to spend time figuring out this designer’s style and typography in order to precisely create an original work with that designer’s style. Also, we shouldn’t limit ourselves in one particular design, we should try more changes and sometimes we can get better results.

Paula Scher Influence Poster

Click to see a full version!

Click to see a full version!

Public Theater Poster by Paula Scher.

Paula Scher is a famous American graphic designer. She is also one of my favorite graphic designers. I really like her creative and expressive design style. For my poster, I chose one of her Public Theater Posters. After my observation, I found that the feature and style of the poster design is special. She used many words in different size and scale to create a exaggerated visual effect. These words distributed around a cutoff person image in order to help expressing the image. This is what her design influenced me.

In my poster, I photoshopped a photo of a bike racer of the little 500 and put it at the bottom center. Then, I put all the information about races above the image in an inverted triangle shape. The inverted triangle can be viewed as a race track. Also, the words above expresses that bike racers are trying their best to win. I put the Little 500 on the bottom and on the top layer of the cutoff image. It looks like a finish line.

In this project, the most challenging thing for me is the word distribution. I first tried to draw some lines and type in paths. But It’s hard to make the word look smooth. I also tried to make outlines and use perspective tool to distribute words. Both of the two method works not ideally for my poster. So finally I used the envelop distort tool. I think that if I have more knowledge about photoshop, the cutoff will look better than now. This is what I need to improve in the next projects.

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Under the Pop Art Influence





Click here to see bigger picture

Click here to see bigger picture





For this project I chose to be influenced by Pop Art. Roy Lichtenstein caught my eye because of the simplistic shapes that are eye catching. His use of color, dots, and black in his art are shown through my graphic design. The horn is the main identifier of the lil 500 race that the poster promotes. Most students understand what Lil 500 is and there is usually never a need to communicate what the event means. The air horn shows an urgency of the event that will be coming up in the spring. At the same time, it represents the start of the challenges the racers will endure.

In Roy Lichtenstein’s design of the spray can, he has straight lines and dotted lines representing the hair spray. For the air horn in my design, I took this influence and turned the air horn’s loud noise into the race track and finish line. I liked this idea because it was simple and completely understandable.

I believe the location is one piece of information that is never communicated enough. Throughout my four years on campus, I never knew it was at Bill Armstrong Stadium until this assignment. I wanted to convey that information the most so I put it at the top in a comment bubble similar to one seen in a Lichtenstein design.

I’m not that crazy about little 500 or IUDM contrary to popular belief as an IU student but this assignment was fun and I enjoyed creating something i’d like to see as a reminder of “that time of year again.”