“Posters are a perfect cross section of all things graphic design. For an app that only involves text and images, it has the potential for so much more,” says Sydney-based designer Jack Forrest. “By sticking to the poster format, you create a degree of consistency that can frame different styles of imagery, typography, and layout without being too jarring.”
Forrest began his ongoing Instagram poster project last March when the impact of the pandemic on the world was just beginning to be felt. “Covid-19 saw me spending more and more time sitting at home. At the same time, I was entering my final year of university and looking for ways to improve my portfolio and start creating a point of difference for myself as I started looking for my first full-time designer job,” he explains. “Ultimately, I was just looking for a way to grow and improve as a designate. I wanted to try doing something (almost) every day and cross my fingers after a few months those things would look better than they did when I started.
The designer switches from style to style depending on the poster, but they have a clean and simple approach that unites them. Forrest tends to emphasize typographic elements, which are then combined with found photographs or one of Forrest’s own illustrations. “The best way to describe it is to line up big letters with pretty pictures,” he says. “I try to make the posters colorful, attractive and fun always considering the alignment and overall balance of the composition.”
Forrest shares his posters on Instagram and he sees the other design work shared on the platform as both inspiration and motivation to improve. “Instagram has a very strong and friendly community of creators which, coupled with the massive exposure potential of the platform, makes it the only real option,” he explains of why he posted the project there. “Instagram is used by a billion people around the world, allowing exposure and commentary from a much wider cross-section of society, which is what the design is all about.”
Finding the time to do something each day was Forrest’s biggest challenge throughout the project, so he became adept at designing on the go. “Now it’s about making the most of otherwise wasted time; like the train ride to work or the interruptions of the day,” he says. “Otherwise, the main difficulty is keeping the work fresh and preventing yourself from repeating the exact same formula over and over again. Anyone can find a formula that works and then use that same pattern over and over, but your audience will then begin to lose interest because he knows what to expect.
By swinging between using photography, illustration, and animation in his posters, he keeps things fresh for both the viewer and Forrest. “Ultimately it’s about exploring the different styles of work that I like and then (hopefully) the quality and interest will follow – it’s a personal project after all, if I don’t didn’t really like doing this job, I would never be able to sustain it,” he says.
Forrest first got into design by watching Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials on YouTube. “It was by watching and following these tutorials that I slowly gained an introduction to Adobe Creative Suite and the endless potential to create anything and everything,” he explains.
“Once I figured out how to use the most basic features of these programs, I loved (and still love) spending time experimenting with the different niche tools and functions to see what happened. and if it looked fun or interesting.This led me to study a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication at the University of Technology Sydney, which I recently graduated from.
Being part of the Instagram design community has been the biggest highlight for Forrest with this project, as well as connecting with people around the world. “I like that design is a universal language. Graphic design is something everyone can (and has) an opinion about, regardless of dialect, cultural background or profession,” he says.
“And although most projects are designed with a certain audience or target market in mind, the visual nature, and therefore the possibility of sharing, of the design means that it will never be exposed to this audience and audience. alone. I really love knowing that great design has the potential to make people all over the world happy, even if just for a moment.