The Hangovers: A 50th Anniversary Commission

The Final Illustration — Poster dimension

I was recently commissioned by The Hangovers, an all-male A cappella group at Cornell, to design a poster for their 50th Anniversary Concert.


While doing research, I identified a couple symbols that were integral to The Hangovers’ identity. One was a yellow happy face that appears in their logo, and the other is their striped shirt, a uniform that they wear at concerts and arch performances:

Gathering Inspiration

Initially, I considered a more lighthearted, bright mood. The images compiled below were representative of the what I had in mind:


I initially explored the idea of a silhouette contained within the colored areas of the mockups I made:

Initial Explorations

I made a silhouette of a male signing into a microphone, as well as a mockup inspired by their striped shirt uniform. The wine-related mockups were inspired by their previous album covers, which made use of alcohol-related puns. 🤔(wonder why..? 😂)

After coming up with these concepts, I continued to generate more fine-tuned iterations of them, however, none seemed to work well. It felt as if things were only being thrown together, with no unifying element in the illustration to tie it all together.

Final Iteration

I took a break for a couple days in hopes of approaching the project with a pair of fresh eyes.

While discussing the initial concepts I made with the group, I got the most positive feedback on the striped uniform idea. I thought, what are some examples of stripes in real world objects or structures? I thought, window blinds. But that concept would imply that the viewer is passively peering from the inside, which wasn’t something that I thought would be fitting for the poster. So the next thing I thought of was stairs.

The next problem to tackle was how to effectively merge the two concepts — the striped shirt and the stairs in a non-awkward way. I attempted to incorporate more rigid, top-down steps, but they looked stiff and unnatural. Upon googling more images, I came across an image with a folded shirt, laying diagonally. It reminded me of an angled view of a winding staircase, and I decided to go that direction.

These are some images I gathered for reference and inspiration:

Inspiration images
Sketch of the final concept

Color & Lighting

I moved away from a brighter color palette in favor of more dramatic colors; it would pair nicely with the contrast between the colored stripes on the shirt. Additionally, concerts are usually dark, punctuated by bright and colorful lights. I wanted to recreate the feeling of awe that an audience member experiences by watching someone perform on a stage. In order to make the male figure stand out from the darkness of the background, I placed the light source behind the singer.

Final Concept

This project was challenging because of how open-ended the design prompt was, but that was part of the fun! This was a great opportunity to learn more about tying an organization’s brand to a design via symbolism, space, color, and much more.

Curious to see more? View my design and illustration work here. :)