2015 was the 5th year for the BWBeatles and saw a return to the beginning of their four album performance cycle. It all started with the iconic Abbey Road, which proved both a good design challenge. The cover of Abbey Road is easily one of the most iconic in history, so my challenge was to find a way to interpret it and create my own ideas while still staying true to the original.
Like the previous year’s The White Album event, I wanted to create a couple teaser poster ideas to genreate enthusiasm for the upcoming concerts. After some thought, I decided that another iconic Abbey Road landmark, in addition to the zebra crossing on the cover, is also the street sign that bear’s the road’s name. The famous London Tube signs were also another icon that I wanted to re-create, so I wound up going with both. I found both official fonts, used the same dimensions, and created the signs!
My main challenge with this year’s poster and event design was improving on perfection. Every year, I’ve tried to incorporate original cover elements into my own designs, but with Abbey Road I was at a bit of a loss on how to pay tribute and create something original.
My first step was the event typography, as it usually is. While there isn’t anything on the main cover, there is some nice black & white typography on the back cover (see right) that I used. After some searching, I found a very close font and actually re-created the spacing in the logo as the same as it is on the back cover, ensuring my logo would be as accurate as possible.
When it came time for the main poster, I tried several differing ideas at first. A psychedelic idea playing on the lines in the crossing was my first attempt, but the album isn’t as spacey as previous Beatles albums, so the technicolor wouldn’t really tie the design and album together well. I then tried to utilize a 60s-inspired palete of colors also based off of songs and lyrics from the album. The color associations are:
Some of these choices felt like stretches, and after having my last Beatles poster be full of album and lyric references, I didn’t want to explore the same idea two years in a row. After a quick Warhol-inspired pop art design (that I would reuse later), I was back to the drawing board.
I couldn’t get past the idea of the iconic image in my head, so then I remembered that there were outtakes from that famous photoshoot. I immediately began searching for every image I could find from that day. My idea quickly took shape from that: use every iconic image from the Abbey Road cover shoot except the final one. I compiled them as if they’d been dumped out of a shoebox onto a floor, brought in the existing logo I’d created, carried over that treatment for the rest of the info on the poster, and finished it off with a black & white vector of the original cover to tie in the black & white text with the imagery. And plus, I couldn’t not use it.
Every image on the cover is an outtake from the Abbey Road cover shot, except for one. In true Beatles fashion, I put an easter egg on the poster. Along the bottom left, in a very small sliver of space between two images, I placed a photo of my brother crossing Abbey Road in 2009. Just in case you can’t find the photo, Paul McCartney is pointing him out!
As the Beatles concerts at BW have grown every year, so too has the school’s involvement. This year, the tickets for the main concerts were done online so as to try to curb some of the chaos that ensued around the campus when the tickets were available. Because they used the school’s online ticket format, there were no main event tickets for me to design.
However! There still was a student / university preview concert that takes place in a smaller venue on Friday night that they still needed tickets for. I really liked my pop art poster design, so I re-incorporated that for the tickets. Each color would be an individual ticket. After tweaking the event logo to say “PREVIEW CONCERT” I added the details at the bottom and finished it off. I liked that each ticket had a different organization of logo & info, based around the position of the each Beatle on the crosswalk.
Like last year, I again was asked to deisgn the program and layout the contents inside. For the cover, I created a variation of the poster, but lowered the opacity of the photos so that the title, date, and vector were the focal points of the design.
Inside, I carried over the design elements so that the whole piece felt like a single unit. This included the logo / text treatment and the main Abbey Road vector. I used these wherever possible in the design to help bring it all together.