Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Whale Poster

I spent several years working for an adjunct of the newspaper called NIE (Newspaper in Education). The purpose of NIE is to encourage literacy and readership in the classroom, and to provide reading programs to students and teachers – at no cost. Perhaps you remember receiving the American Scholastic magazine in your own classroom when you were growing up. (I did, and it always made me feel more adult.) Well, the NIE publications are very much like that. Designing tabloids and posters for children brought me full circle, and I always designed with the young Mark in mind.

NIE publications are sponsored by corporations, and this whale poster was sponsored by SeaWorld of Orlando. A designer's work is always made easier when a client provides reference material as beautiful as SeaWorld's. Initially, I wanted to have the whole inside of the poster just the photograph of the man and the whale swimming "hand in hand." (Did you know that within the whale fin, there are five digits?) But the photo resolution wasn't high enough, so I came up with the design above instead. It worked out better that way for two reasons: 1) the curved shape mirrors both the whale and the world map, which makes for a more interesting design, and 2) there is a balance of type that is reversed and not reversed, so the eye doesn't have to work quite as hard. This poster was folded into quadrants, so I designed the folds to hit a minimum of type.

By clicking on this image, you might be able to read some of the interesting facts about whales. Remember though, that this was not printed on glossy paper, which would have made the type sharper, but rather on newsprint. The ink on newsprint bleeds 15% into the paper, which is of course very absorbent, so the clarity of this detail and reversed type is a real testament to the excellent calibrating that happens in both the photography and printing setups at the newspaper.


  1. What beautiful work. Working in education, I can see that this would be interesting and engaging for young people and their teachers.

    I follow environmental causes, and I am touched to learn that the whales have 5 digits giving their fin a somewhat human aspect. It makes me feel all the guiltier (collective guilt) for the dreadful things we do to the habits of these wondrous creatures.

    You can be rightly proud that you were involved in such a project to educate the adults of tomorrow, and heighten awareness of nature and species at risk.

  2. Thanks, Terry, it was much fun. Incidentally, as you might have guessed, all the highlighted words are meant to be new vocabulary and topics for discussion.