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Unity, Love, Strength: Designing Adobe’s 2017 Pride Visuals

Adobe is celebrating LGBTQ Pride as it does every year by participating in events in numerous cities that have Adobe offices. This year, an in-house creative team wanted to create a poster graphic that could not only serve as a visual identity for these events but also be given away as a gift—to employees and the public.

As part of Pride Month, many cities across the United States celebrate their LGBTQ communities, and Adobe is proud to join in. This year, the Adobe Proud team asked a small group from the Adobe Studio to come up with a visual identity for North American Pride events.

Would you like a poster or an image file for social media? Click on this poster image to go to a Creative Cloud folder with downloadable files. You’ll see two folders: “Pride Posters” has four downloadable 18-by-24-inch PDFs (that can easily be printed at any paper size, including 8.5-by-11-inch paper). “Pride Social Images” contains three JPEGs that are sized to be shared on Instagram or to be used as a Facebook cover image or a Twitter header image. 

Adobe Create managing editor Charles Purdy and Adobe creative director Kashka Pregowska-Czerw brought one concept to the Adobe Proud event team—and the team went for it right away.

“In coming up with the concept, we were inspired by a number of things,” says Charles. “Here in San Francisco, the theme of Pride this year is ‘A Celebration of Diversity,’ and we knew we wanted to speak to that idea. I was also inspired by what I’d seen at Women’s Marches across the country and Adobe Create’s profile of Kate DeCiccio, who designed a poster that was reproduced by the Amplifier Foundation and distributed at Women’s Marches across the country. And I had recently read that Los Angeles Pride had recast its ‘parade’ as a ‘march’—still festive and celebratory, but perhaps a bit more purposeful than in recent years.”

These inspirations led to an initial concept of creating an empowering image that could be reproduced on posters and signs (to carry in the parade and distribute) for a march feel, supporting the power of celebrating diversity—as well as on Adobe’s Pride T-shirts and other materials.

A SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL SOLUTION

This brief was then handed off to Adobe marketing manager Brian Yap and Adobe art director Erica Larson, who collaborated on the visuals.

Erica says, “The first thing I did was read San Francisco Pride’s manifesto to ensure that I was thinking about the event’s goals. The second thing I did was comb Behance to see how others were approaching similar themes, not only to get inspired but also to see what clichés emerged from seeing lots of projects at once. Identifying motifs that I wanted to avoid and unpacking why I was reacting to them helped me think critically.”

Erica says, “When I got started on unity, I went to the thesaurus! It’s nerdy, but research like that helps to expand my understanding of a concept and broadens the visual vocabulary I can use. I decided I wanted the letters to connect to and interact with each other, so script was a natural choice.”

Brian says, “The concept of the ribbony design of love, believe it or not, came from an actual doodle. I liked the idea of the ribbon changing colors to represent Pride, but once the designs started to develop, its placement in the middle couldn’t have worked out better. It was a way to connect all the words and that felt as symbolic as much as it felt like it was working on a design level.

Erica says, “Early on in the process, Brian brought some cool examples of 3D ‘optical illusion’ typography. We thought that was one way of talking about different perspectives coming together as one, and ultimately took this approach for the strength lettering.”

Brian and Erica explored a couple of poster ideas, but they landed on a typographic solution as the best way to be simple and inclusive. (This approach also allowed the two designers to work on the project at the same time—each working on separate elements.) Kashka, Erica, Brian, and Charles landed on the words love, strength, and unity as both expressing Adobe’s point of view and addressing important social issues.

REPRESENTING DIVERSITY

“For the type, we were thinking about gradients as a visual metaphor for the spectrums of sexual identity,” says Erica.

Most of Brian’s illustration work starts in Adobe Photoshop Sketch these days; for the word love, he started with a doodle. “I used the Pencil tool and a lot of spirals and erasing to get it where I wanted as an outline.” The pair primarily used Adobe Illustrator CC for the project—overcoming a few challenges along the way.

Erica says, “The word strength was hard. Isometric art is rigid in that you're always working in 30-degree angles. Sometimes having those rules helps a lot because they put a fence around what can be done, but I realized pretty quickly that it was a balancing act to create type this way while keeping it readable! I don’t know how many times Brian and I sent files back and forth asking, ‘Can you read this? Is this better?" By the style's nature, the way the letters are constructed is totally impossible, but we even had to break those imaginary rules a few times to make the word work. I used tips from a Create Blend tool tutorial to create the 3D effect for unity.”

HAPPY PRIDE!

We wish everyone a happy, safe, and meaningful Pride Month, and we hope you enjoy the posters we made.