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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Museum Poster

The brief requires you to explore 3 different illustrations for 3 posters that are aimed at different age groups; Children, Teenager and Adult.

I went in with all good intentions on this exercise. I'd made my trip to The British Museum with a sketchbook and a pencil case full of pencils and pencils. Little did I know that they day I decided to go was the day there was a protest happening inside the museum.



As well as filling my phone gallery with 92 photos, I made some sketches! I found myself being more interested in the artefacts that had a face! I found a relatively quiet spot in the Age of Curiosity, where I was able to sit, chill and take the time on sketching something with a little bit of detail. I loved the "Bowl" which consisted of two faces either side that had holes. It was said to have been used to serve "Awa and intoxicating drink". The sketch below on the right is one of the faces. Whilst sitting there drawing, several people were also drawn to this one object. They would find the use of the object humorous as the drink would pour out of the mouth of the below face, and on the opposite side it would pour out of its bum. Kids would laugh at this discovery. Possibly something to consider with the poster?

Once I returned home from the trip, I sketched out a few more objects from the photos I took. This time being able to use different mediums.

Whilst sketching the objects, I would scribble beside it a possible idea for the posters. I loved the above mask and felt this could be an easy one to add humour.


Before I started playing with the sketches to create posters, I collected a few museum poster images I thought were interesting.

Natural History Museum posters we few of my favourites in this collection. I really liked the one line in the image on the left and I like the use of illustration in the image on the right. It kind of made me feel like I would have had more success going to this museum!

It made me think what other popular tourist attraction museum posters looked like. The Science Museum for example, is the perfect family friendly museum. Its full of interactive displays which kids absolutely love. I remember this museum being completely mind blowing when I went there as a child! So it felt like a good place to research how different they promote their exhibitions knowing the door is open to curious kids.

You can see a huge difference in their promotion. It's far more graphic with the heavy use of the Science Museum logo. They're colourful and feel to be tech oriented... or science, which would make more sense...

But I decided to go to The British Museum. Which as promotions go, they're very conservative. In almost all of their posters, they have kept to their brand identity. The use of a single colour background and a photo of one artefact from the said exhibition. I mean, they are strong posters, but who do they target?

Recently, I must admit, they did choose to step away from the black background, and it was perfect. Manga came to the British Museum last year with the super bright and hard to miss posters that took over London. I've never attended a Manga exhibition so I was pretty pumped to see it! But even now, you can't forget the posters. The orange is still ingrained in my memory!

They had a budget for this exhibition, that's for sure! What we had the pleasure in seeing, was a variety of different posters. I think they knew they had a winner on their hands which could attract all ages easily. They catered for everyone in my opinion. The use of the Manga really helped them. They had inside the Museum their classic black roll out banners. But on the streets of London, they painted it orange! I like how they even added a "3D" element in one small billboard above, by extending the tail out of the frame, I see this would attract the youngest audience. Perhaps the big, full illustration wall with the pure orange billboard above would be a teenager audience, whilst the traditional black would be older. You have to admire Manga!


So, with posters. I find it a lot easier to just develop them straight on the computer. My head turns in to Graphic Design mode rather than illustrator, and I prefer to just move things around and see what works rather than draw thumbnails. So here are my posters.

I wanted to keep in the realms of the British Museum.

Once I'd got the conservative out of my system, I thought back the Natural History museum poster with the one "real" voice liner. I also thought in the sense of pop culture, or the current news.

It's not wild in design, but I quite liked adding the quote from Toy Story, Woody with the mosaic serpent in the below concept. There's a snake in my boot! Is a classic, and anyone who reads it will probably hear Tom Hanks as Woody. A line like this can target any age, as there's a high percentage everyone will recognise the line and either giggle, smile or feel nostalgia. It's a simple effect I felt matched the Natural History Museum, and makes the poster feel different to the standard none offensive posters from British Museum.

Below I stepped away from black and quickly mocked up a bright yellow version.

Sticking to the same idea of adding the quote, below I went a little real...

Yup, I did it. Would it be allowed? I don't know actually. I think there's fun to be had with adding a little risk to promotions. Trump probably has the most amount of memes, jokes and impersonations. Why wouldn't they try something like this?! Like the quote from Toy Story, I think this would have a similar effect for teenagers and above. With the meme and gif culture on the rise with social media, this would be mocking the anti-Trump trend, poking fun at his appearance, and almost showing off that in the Museum we to have a trump impersonator! And it dates way back further than yours! Actually, I'm not sure if it reminds me more of Alec Baldwin's impression.

I hope that ended this blog with a chuckle!


I know I haven't given much of the behind the scenes process to how I decided on these posters. But I think with all the research I was pretty much set on the direction. As I had mentioned before, when it comes to posters, I can't help but just go straight on the computer and just go into autopilot until I'm satisfied with the end picture. It takes a lot of head tilting.

Honestly, I think I underachieved in this exercise. As much as I enjoyed making the trip I don't think the posters were very interesting. I did play it safe by sticking to the British Museums promo recipe so not a lot came from me.

If I were to do this again, I would maybe change my trip to the Natural History museum where even adults are running to see the next artefact! this I could have gone larger than life full illustration, much like the whale in the poster I had featured in my moodboard.


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