Being the collage fanatic I am, when the Daily Bread Food Bank asked me for some creative input on their annual hunger report my mind immediately pictured a collage made up of packaging materials from various nonperishable food sources. In my mind the collage could act as a reoccurring theme throughout the report to tie together the various paragraphs, headings, infographics and statistics. The food bank commissioned this 8.5″ x 11″ collage and is going to use it as a type treatment for the titles and headings in the report and for this blog post I documented the steps that went into making the finished type, from blank slate to .pdf final.
Step 1: Blank Slate
I worked on a gessoed masonite board that I reused from a past project. It doesn’t matter if the board is perfectly white because you’re going to be collaging right over it.
Step 2: Add Paint
The Daily Bread wanted white as the predominant colour in this piece but also asked for red, orange and yellow to be the main palette. When using recycled materials it’s hard to control exactly what you get in terms of colour so I wanted to use paint. Adding in a background colour in which to paste on top of also speeds up the collage process.
Step 3: Cutting and Pasting
I like to start with large pieces that are going to act as background once everything else is on. Make sure you wait until the paint is fully dry from step 2. I use matte medium to paste down thin materials like tissue paper, newsprint or paper towel and a craft glue for more solid materials like cardboard or fabric.
Step 4: More Paper, More Paint
When I do a collage, even if it’s just for use as a texture, I treat it like a painting. It needs to have balance, it needs to have depth and like a painting, I’ll know once it’s done. Once I’ve got enough paper down I like to go back in with a paint brush. For this piece I went back in with white, being the predominant colour in the piece.
Step 5: Finish & Photograph
Once I’m content with the finished product I take it outside and photograph it. I’ve tried scanning but find the end product always comes out best when photographed on a bright day (not necessarily sunny, even overcast is okay if it’s bright) It’s INSANE what lighting can do to your original piece so try several different spots and see what you get. I upload the file into my computer and crop it to the edges of the board.
Step 6: Photoshop/Illustrator
Once I have the cropped collage saved I bring it into photoshop to play with the levels. I adjust brightness, saturation and hue to get it exactly the way I want it. I also sharpened this one to reduce slight blur from the photograph. I then went into illustrator to choose the fonts I wanted to use.
Step 7: Finished Type
Once I have my fonts chosen I select Type…Creat outlines and copy and paste the outlines on top of my collage in photoshop in a separate layer. From here it’s as easy as using your magic wand tool to select the type, selecting the collage layer and clicking copy and then paste it onto a separate layer. Now if you hide your type and collage layers in the layers palette all you’ll see is your new type treatment out of the collage you just made! I like to add drop shadows to give the 3D effect from the type.
You can create multiple treatments with one collage by just adjusting the levels in photoshop to different settings each time. It’s a really cool, easy way to do fun things out of type.