In recent weeks I have been working on a poster design for a competition to advertise ‘Fidel’ the musical. The musical is all about the life and iconic moments of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution, and in particular how he vowed to liberate Cuba from the dictator Batista.
In terms of design, I tackled the background of the poster first. My approach for this was to illustrate the Cuban revolution and it’s victory against America. The tale of the Cuban revolution is a tale of sacrifice, love, heroism, and repeated victories against incredible odds. How did a tiny island hold off an unexpected invasion by its massive American neighbour in 1962? How did Fidel survive an estimated 638 attempts on his life? With just a few hundred soldiers and limited weapons they took on Batista’s army of thousands, with it’s tanks, aircraft and US-backed weapons and won. Their secret was their bravery, dedication, and the support of the Cuban people who desperately longed for social justice and an independent Cuba.
In order to visually demonstrate this vital part of Cuban history, I have chosen to use collaged magazine pages to form the Cuban and American flags merging together. The ripped stripes of blue, white and red gradually merge together fusing the two together and create a background that resembles a graffiti sprayed wall. Cuba is known for its vibrant and colourful streets, so I felt this graffiti-like image worked well to emulate a part of the bright Cuban culture. I also made a point of having the Cuban flag in the foreground of the two in order to show how they overcame a time of great difficulty against such a powerful nation.
As for character design, I wanted to keep this simple, in contrast to the bright and busy background. I came up with two versions of the poster after including character illustrations. The first shows Fidel on his own, looking very grand with an iconic pose, making it clear who the image is portraying. Whereas in the second version I wanted to see how the poster would look with a few more characters involved. Keeping Fidel as the main image, I then included illustrations of his brother Raul, the current president of Cuba and Che Guevara his best friend. I thought it was important to test having the other characters as well as Fidel in the centre, but in the end I have chosen to submit the poster displaying Fidel alone with his grand stature. My reasons for this were because I felt with the busy background the poster as a whole worked better with one single character illustration as a centre piece to focus on. Also the drawing of Fidel has most likeness and is very iconic, so it is clear who I am portraying.