Poster Recipes: Think First, Design Later by Lex Drewinski

AIGA Los Angeles
Aug 15 · 4 min read

This post is part of the new Recipe series, dedicated to getting an inside look into the practices, processes, and routines of some of the most incredible talents around the world.

Lex Drewinski is a designer like no other — his art resembles a gun shot — it pops suddenly and loudly and it never misses a bullseye. Posters by Lex Drewinski are always concise, coherent, simple and masterful. He has an innate, almost instinctive understanding of the power of an image, and a great and rare ability to create an image that will truly foment its audience.

~ Lex Drewinski

DT: “Every creative process is a wonder, whether we are talking about preparing a meal or designing a poster. In art this awe is in the diversity of expression — every designer has his or her own signature style, an original recipe of sorts for making a poster. So let’s talk shop: What is your behind-the-scenes process of poster design?”


Ingredients

topic
idea
technique
message
color
sign

Method (told by Lex Drewinski)

Give me one second, let me put the kettle on. As I’m sure it is for most artists, it all starts with an IDEA. Without a good idea, there is no reason to even begin — the idea is essential to the entire process.

But any idea is molded by the TOPIC, which a poster is designed to address. The majority of my work deal with social and political issues. For me the life itself is a form of politics — our family squabbles are the genesis of political discords. That is why I often cannot tell whether my art is social, cultural or political in nature.

With the topic selected I turn to TECHNIQUE. I begin with drawing my ideas on paper. I then process the images using my computer and prepare the films for screen print. I do that manually whenever possible, mostly using scissors.

Throughout the entire process, I’m always mindful of what MESSAGE I want to convey. Poster without a message is like a pack of C4 without a detonator. In order to get the message across I stylize imagery into its simplest form. I believe that by reducing the poster’s visual “noise” a message will be received best.

In the same respect, I’m often frugal with my COLORS. I see this as a next logical step, where the reduction of color naturally follows the simplification of form. I’m with colors as I’m with money: if I spent everything today, I will have nothing left for tomorrow.

To achieve this boil-down effect I always try to think in terms of SIGNS. Typography is an art onto itself, but it can become very possessive. The majority of my work communicates with the viewer solely through imagery. I believe this to be the highest level of mastery.

A journalist once wrote that my posters are traffic signs on the road of life. This is a great description of what I‘m trying to achieve. It‘s a shame, however, that I cannot fine people for violating these signs as they go through life.

I have to leave you now — my tea is ready.


Interviewed, translated, and curated by Olga Severina.

Olga is an exhibition curator and graphic designer residing in Los Angeles, California. Having a passion for the graphic arts, Olga Severina founded PosterTerritory initiative that became a launching platform for contemporary art shows and poster exhibitions in the US and abroad. Under its umbrella, she curated graphic art campaigns, which tackled a variety of social issues and featured artworks by some of the biggest names in the international design community.

DesignToast

DesignToast observes timely and intricate issues, examines design history, and uplifts the new generation of designers–with a focus on the local community of Los Angeles.

AIGA Los Angeles

Written by

Los Angeles Chapter of AIGA. Empowering the local creative community.

DesignToast

DesignToast observes timely and intricate issues, examines design history, and uplifts the new generation of designers–with a focus on the local community of Los Angeles.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade