The Harder They Fall

kiridesign Design, Illustration

The Harder They fall…

Dealing with cool designs that get rejected

The Brief

Create artwork for a teaching series called “Facing Giants” that metaphorically depicts taking on giant issues such as depression, racism, and doubt.

The Idea

I wanted a stylized fantasy/adventure look that gave the topics an epic feel, but with a sense of wonder and optimism that one can actually face big issues and battle them.

The Issues

In the midst of re-shuffling programming due to COVID, this project had a major time deficit. I couldn’t create original drawings, so I had to get creative with stock imagery.

The First Draft

Since the topics at hand were big, complex, and ultimately impossible to cover completely, I started with a character facing something more or less unseen and unknowable, but certainly monstrous. I didn’t want to try to depict a concept specifically, as the concepts and issues addressed were varied. I used six different images I’d found on Shutterstock and composited them in Photoshop.

The Response

This initial design was met favorably in that it looked and felt cool. The main complaint, however, was that it was too dark and frightening.

The Revision

Moving ahead with my set of composited images, I made it brighter, more colorful, and more vaguely huge, but not as scary.

The Second Draft

I kept pushing in the direction I had, using brighter colors and a less monster-like giant to represent the metaphor.

The Response

The second draft was still well-liked, and addressed the initial concerns, but now it was considered “too futuristic.”

The Revision

The feedback was to use more specific, “ancient” imagery that related more directly to the source material.

The Final Draft

The final artwork incorporated traditional imagery, was graphically simpler, and relied mainly on emotional gesture and texture to convey the theme.

The Response

This was the final design chosen.

The Takeaway

While there was nothing inherently bad or wrong about the initial designs, sometimes the cool thing just isn’t the right thing.

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