In “The School of Hard Knocks,” Armin Vit offers tips and advice that may change the way you approach the sometimes arduous design process. Learn why you should embrace client revisions, how to overcome the mundane and obnoxious, and why being consistently good enough can make you great.
WARNING: The poster below reveals every “Sons of Anarchy” spoiler. Scroll only if you are up to date with the show.
There’s some pretty cool “Sons of Anarchy” poster design out there, but nothing compares to the incredibly detailed, thoroughly researched and well-crafted poster that Armit Vit, cofounder of UnderConsideration, has designed.
“This poster is a celebration of one of the best shows on TV and the complex (and deadly) relationships between its cast of characters,” Vit writes on his website, where the poster can be purchased. “All major characters—along with key secondary ones—are included and organized by affiliation. Links are made between them showing who are related by blood, who are connected by love (or sex), and who killed whom—and how.”
We chatted with Vit about the project. Read on to find out why he chose the hit FX show SoA, why he nearly gave up, and what was most fun about the process.
Sons of Anarchy Poster Design
HOW: Did both you and Bryony Gomez-Palacio [co-founder of UnderConsideration] work on the design and concept?
Armin Vit: Nope, this was all me. With her blessing, as it took a big chunk of time away from other projects. She doesn’t watch the show, so she had no vested interest in it and at this level of dorkiness you have to really be passionate about the subject at hand.
How long did this take from start to finish?
I had the idea at the end of season 6, sometime early in 2014. Then I put it in the backburner until late September, at the beginning of the final season 7. I started gathering all the data in a spreadsheet in early October and started designing in late October. It took me almost a month to find the right layout and level of information and arrangement of all the characters. From mid-November to December 9, when the series aired its final episodes it was all about making last-minute adjustments each Wednesday based on Tuesdays’ shows. I sent the files to the printer on December 11, and they were printed by the 18.
What made you do this for SoA, rather than some other show? Is it because it’s your favorite show? Or perhaps the nature of the show lends itself to this sort of project?
I like the show a lot, but it’s not my favorite show ever. (Lost would take that title). At some point I was thinking about how screwed up it was that everybody killed everybody regardless of family ties or business relationships; it was a free for all. And there was a lot of people getting offed. So the amount of deaths and the clear divisions of groups between characters lent itself to something like this. Even a show like The Walking Dead doesn’t have the number of characters necessary for something as obsessive as this poster… unless you did every zombie ever killed.
What was the biggest challenge of the project?
Making it as readable as possible. When I did the first round of making all the connections of who killed whom, I almost gave up because it was too messy and impossible to follow. I spent a lot of time twisting each curve so that it would be as clear as possible where each line started and ended.
What was the most fun part?
Working with designer and illustrator Taylor Goad. He did all the character portraits and all the “kill” icons. It was great to receive batches of these characters in their most minimal rendition. Giving him feedback was fun too, like “Tully’s hair needs to be asymmetrical” or “Lin’s hair needs to be dorkier”. He also nailed the icons for things like car crashes and dismemberment.
- SIZE: 18 × 24 IN.
- PRINTING (OFFSET): TWO HITS OF BLACK, RED, AND METALLIC SILVER
- PAPER: SAPPI, MCCOY, MATTE, 100 LB. COVER (THICK AND SMOOTH)
- PRINTING: CAPITAL PRINTING(AUSTIN, TX)
- SHIPS: IN TUBE VIA USPS
- DESIGN AND CONCEPT: UNDERCONSIDERATION LLC
- PORTRAIT ILLUSTRATIONS: TAYLOR GOAD
- RESEARCH SUPPORT: DIANE FAYE ZERR, PRESCOTT PEREZ-FOX
- TYPEFACES: MARIAN 1812, FINKL PRO
- GREATEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION: SAMCROPEDIA
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