PSA: We are all Animals

♪ A wild ride, over hallway ground
Such a lust for school, the circus comes to town
We are the hungry ones, on a lightning raid
Just like a river runs, like a fire needs flame, oh
I burn for you to get out of the way ♪

Def ‘Melody’ Leppard

Animals! For this assignment, I created a PSA Billboard to address one of my pet peeves (which I believe I mentioned in a previous post). The task for this assignment was:

“Using Gimp or a similar program, create a public service announcement billboard on something that really aggravates you about people, society, the world, etc. It can be serious, goofy, but not offensive. Use a 680 x 300 work space in order to mimic the space of a billboard and have fun with how your positioning, font, colors, and images can help get your message across in a small space. Take it to the next level but superimposing it on a photo of an existing billboard!”

I had fun conceptualizing one of my biggest pet peeves: when groups of people block the hallway or walkway! Admittedly, this was a bigger issue at GMU. I swear it was like everyday that students would take up the entire width of a hallway with no regard for other students just trying to get to class. At UMW, crowding is more of an issue under the walkway near the nest. If it’s a hallway, UMW students are more likely to bowl you over in their rush to get to class in the too-brief 10 minute time span in-between classes than they are to crowd the space.

So how could I represent this annoying occurrence? I knew that I wanted a school hallway, but crowds of people didn’t feel attention grabbing. One way of thinking about design is to exaggerate an element, and/or use a play on words. If you like making puns, design could be for you! The punnier, the better. So what’s the exaggeration of crowds? Ah, what if I had a huge elephant blocking the hallway? But then how do I connect that to crowds of people? Well, a pack of animals is like a crowd!

Once I had my idea, I started playing with taglines while I superimposed animals onto a school hallway (This can be done a multitude of ways: you can select the background and delete it, or just use the eraser tool if the contrast isn’t high enough to accurately select areas). Additionally, I wanted to include an image of a ‘stuck’ person trying to get past the animals, and for this I used an image by Ivo Mayr, who has a whole photo series of people stuck to buildings. I even toyed with the tagline of “Feeling Stuck?” but decided against it because that message would have been aimed at the person trying to get through, not at the people who block hallways.

I decided on “Crowds Belong at the Zoo,” and “Keep it moving.” The hardest part of design is usually playing with type, and this was certainly the case with my phrase. It’s difficult to keep text readable when you are placing it over top an image. To make the text readable, I first turned the image into bold colors and simple shapes by using the cutout filter on the hallway, and the dry brush filter on the animals/person. I then set the type to be around the 100-200 pt range, and moved them around to create a nice flow. I decided to put “at the” vertically next to “zoo,” because the text has to live in the dark green space to be readable, and also because I wanted to keep the reader’s eye at a certain height, which limited me to 3 lines of text instead of 4. If you look, there is a little stair case of eye flow: text to animals to text.

For the text itself, I needed a simple font because the background is quite busy! If you have a simple background, that’s when you can embellish fonts. I chose ITC Avant Garde Gothic Pro and set it to a pink color to contrast with the green. I played with the levels of the hallway to make it darker, and used the stamp tool to make the whole top left corner dark. Lastly, I added arrows to increase eye flow and to emphasize my taglines.

Final result:

Superimposed onto a billboard:

Et voilà! My pet peeve in billboard form! It’s a little too busy to be practical in the billboard world, but I think that it gets the message across. Keep it moving, peeps!

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