Exercise: Travel guides

Exercise: Travel guides

I found this exercise particularly difficult. It asked to produce travel guide covers for Milan, Istanbul and Helsinki.

The first step was to understand as clearly as possible what to do, so I put my ideas in order with this brief:

Produce three cover illustrations for travel guides, for the locations Milan, Istanbul, and Helsinki. Every illustration has got to have more elements brought together in a diagrammatic way. The type has to be hand drawn in an appropriate way.

  • Size: 10 cm x 19 cm.
  • Text: Istanbul, Milan and Helsinki type will be occupying maximum one third of the page and will be hand drawn, being part of the illustration. Additional text will include the sentences : ‘A complete, compact travel guide’; ‘Map included’; ‘City’s best restaurants, shops and hotels ‘; ‘day-trips and weekends itineraries’. There is no need for empty spaces, as this text will be added over the illustration.
  • Colour: The colour palette has got no restrictions.

At my starting point I was already familiar with the first two cities, being Italian and having studied archaeology in the past, but I had absolutely no idea about Helsinki, apart from knowing its location, therefore how cold it could be over there.

I started researching about the cities at first very generally on the internet, then I got some travel guides from my local library which I found immensely useful. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a travel guide of Helsinki, so my gap stayed there until I kept searching the net for more information and curiosities (which where very useful to let me create an identity for this city).
I started working on the cover for Milan. I wrote down the key information to help the brainstorming process and then I used thumbnails for my ideas.

Scan 44
I thought the second one was working best. The images are drawn in a layered effect, there are models walking on the foreground, the Duomo on a second plane, and an opera singer on the stage, holding the type Milan. I chose what I thought to be the most popular symbols of this city, fashion, the Duomo and the theatre Scala, famous for opera and ballet performances. I sketched very quickly at first and then more in detail.
I traced the sketch and created a visual, which is only slightly different from the original idea, where I thought to collage some models walking before the Duomo and in the end I chose a slanted perspective, which gave a sharper effect.

Scan 50
The same process has been followed for the Istanbul cover.

Scan 45

Between the ideas that came to my mind, I chose the one which sees a roman statue and the Blue Mosque to represent the characteristic double side of this city, even geographically split in two parts, being dominated in the first place from the Western Greek and Roman populations and slowly sliding in the Oriental hands of the Turks Ottomans.
The symbols for the two side of this city are lying on a kilim rug background, typical from the area.
The font once again tells about the two-faced city: arabesque shapes, western alphabet letters.

Scan 51
Finally I got to the Helsinki cover. After collecting informations I came up with few ideas and chose one.

Scan 46
The background sees the space divided into three sections: the middle one is decorated with a pattern from the Helsinki design museum (the city has been 2012 design capital). The sides are coloured in black and white to represent the peculiar dramatic daylight length, which switches from 18 hours in summer and only 5 in winter. On the black side I placed the type in white, just as if it was made of snow. The font is in Art Nouveau style (apart from the K being reindeer’s antlers) because Helsinki is rich in buildings featuring that style.
The foreground sees a squirrel, symbol of the city, on a can of reindeer meat, a typical product which feels quite ‘exotic’ to me.

Scan 52
I was really satisfied with the outcome, even though I struggled a bit in the first place.
I chose to take the Istanbul cover to the next step. I painted it with watercolour and gouache and painted the font with black indian ink.

For the final step I used Photoshop for a quick mock up:

Scan 53




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