In her day job, Alex Proba works as a graphic designer at Kickstarter. But every night when she comes home from work, she sits down for 30 minutes at her computer and creates a poster graphic, either from manipulated found imagery or from shapes and patterns she’s created on her own. Then she posts the final product to Tumblr, as she has every day for almost an entire year. It’s the kind of experiment that every creative person says they’ll do — what writer hasn’t vowed to pound out words in the early hours of the morning? — but hardly anyone makes good on.
The posters range from geometric to abstract to surreal — we love the one of a fish growing out of an enormous cucumber — and while many of them are trendy (hello, pineapples!) each one of them is pretty darn delightful. We recently spoke with the designer to find out a bit more about the project, and we’ve included a selection of our favorites here.
How did this project begin?
“A Poster A Day” started rather unexpectedly. One night I was working on a client project, and somehow I got stuck. I usually draw inspiration from nature, traces of the past, and literature, especially works like The Secret Life of Plants and Stories of the Brothers Grimm — things that are not directly connected to design. But that night I started creating graphics without over-thinking, with no limits or restrictions. While playing around with shapes, lines, and imagery, I realized how happy I was to just create for the sake of creating beautiful things. Which made me wonder if I could make this a routine. I gave myself a challenge and decided to make a poster a day with just one restriction — time.
Can you take us behind the scenes in terms of how you create? How much of each image is found versus designed? Do you keep clippings of imagery you want to use? Do you know before you sit down what you’re going to make?
This totally depends on my mood, experiences, moments, and feelings. Some of my posters consist purely of abstract or geometric shapes; others are collages created out of stock photography combined with photographs of materials such as marble, wood, and concrete. Others are made out of a mix of personal photography and graphics. There’s no set ratio or formula for this. I try not to think about the poster until the evening when I come home after work and sit down in front of my computer, drawing inspiration from my day. If I now look back on the posters I can recall exactly what happened the day of each and every poster. It restores my past, and that’s magical and beautiful.
As a designer it is easy to spend a whole day tweaking just one tiny part of a graphic and it’s also easy to never be pleased with the result. I knew that the only way the project could work would be to give myself a 30-minute time limit. It was challenging for me to do this at first and equally difficult to incorporate into my daily routine. After 20-25 posters, I realized that the time and place in which I create a poster makes a big difference on the content. Today marks 250 consecutive days of creating. This project has become my visual diary, each day narrated through a poster. Making a poster is now the last thing I do before I head to bed. It’s like brushing my teeth.
What’s your color inspiration? Do you have a ringer color that always just brings an image together?
This is a tricky one to answer. First I thought I should be more conscious and vary the colors even more, or use some that are not in my liking. However, after thinking about this more, I realized that this would distance the poster from myself. I think colors are what tie an image together in the end.
When looking at my Tumblr, the posters all feel like one big family. They almost all work together as a series (as far as the color spectrum). However, the colors I work with in this project are colors that I personally tend to and like very much, but it happens unconsciously. I decided to continue as is and just let it happen naturally. Even if that meant that all of my posters would be navy and peach!