Valentine’s Cabaret


Poster design collaboration with Tobias Ottahal.

Poster design for the Valentine’s Cabaret, a pub night and fundraiser organized by first-year students at the Emily Carr Institute. Timeline was about two weeks, budget around $0.

My first idea was to get a real heart and take a very detailed photograph of it. Lots of posters out there with Gray’s Anatomy-style heart drawings, or other love-related themes; our poster would be just like those but with a slightly catchier image. I wasn’t necessarily aiming to gross people out, but rather make a real heart look beautiful. Two other people, including the designer of the poster, Tobias, agreed it would be cool.

I originally thought of getting a cow heart. A few butchers in the area said check out China Town. While we didn’t find cow hearts there, pig hearts were a-plenty if you asked for them.

Photographing the heart.

Photographing the heart.

We brought the heart back to school and booked the photodoc room equipped with permanent bulbs and a light table. I shot a series of the heart by itself, then we shot with a puddle of blood (made from corn syrup, red dye and a little milk). Sticky work. I sent a good 40 shots off to Tobias who came back a couple days later with three completed poster designs from which our little volunteer committee quickly chose one.

Heart shown in hand for sense of scale and fun.

The final step was printing. After a few proofs and some minor tweaking Tobias and I ran off 15 or so tabloid posters in black and white on the school laser printers.

We’d done some pricing and despite the lack of budget we agreed our own money would be well spent on at least one large colour print. Forty-five dollars and 24 hours later we had a 20×30 poster printed at a shop on Broadway called InPrint. Overall quality was kinda poor, esp. for that price. But it still works well, so we spray mounted it to foam core and chose the most visible, high traffic area on campus to display it.