Citizen Jane 2018

“It’s not cool because there are a bunch of different fonts.

It’s cool because this poster is an invitation to mess with those fonts, and make them ugly, and mess them up, and twist them how you want to, because this is yours. You get to do what you want to.”

I’ve designed for Citizen Jane for 5 years now, so I won’t repeat that it’s an amazing women’s festival in the midwest whose brand I’ve worked on developing on a shoestring budget year after year. If you know me, you know this!

But I will talk to you, specifically, about my process for working with last year’s art. The college that hosted the festival wanted to use student art, so the base concept of the woman with lazers shooting from her eyes- nay, from her soul?!- are courtesy of an amazing young woman named Jonné.

My job was to push in colors, add the textures and patterns you see, and flush out all that typography. And let me tell you, for whatever reason, I felt liberated, loose! I warped the type on purpose. I broke all of these basic typography rules in ways that I normally would be really uncomfortable with. I messed with the size. I moved things around at random. The integrity of this type has been completely ravaged in every way. Technically, it’s awful, and it kind of makes my skin crawl, but holy goodness did it scratch an itch.


It doesn’t have to be “beautiful” to be good design.

Design isn’t about beauty, it’s about functionality.

It’s about serving the audience and creating something for them that accomplishes the task at hand.

And maybe it’s also about making their heart race a little.

You can’t go anywhere without seeing really perfect design. People in design world can get very caught up in making something beautiful. There’s a message in many parts of our culture that women have to be beautiful too — that it’s their purpose, and if they’re not beautiful then something is subtracted from them.

Because we’re a women’s film festival, I wanted to use design to rebel against that. I really relish in the fact that it’s not beautiful, and that’s why I think it’s important for it to represent our film festival this year. It can be off-center, a little aggressive, flawed at a microscopic level, and still be gorgeous.

My goal every year is to make something that is bold enough to get attention, simple enough to be picked up by any collaborator on the team, and deep enough to be able to hold the weight of a powerful message.

Rudi PetryComment