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Best of Behance: Vasjen Katro

By Jenny Carless

Who: Vasjen Katro

What: Graphic Design, Art Direction, Print Design

Where: https://www.behance.net/katro16

Behance member since: 2008

One day, one poster—every single day. Albanian visual designer and creative director Vasjen Katro is now in his second year of this inspiring mission.

In the process, he’s created a style he calls “Baugasm” (think Bauhaus + orgasm), which is characterized by colorful shapes, gradients, and shadows.

“I think the way I blend all of these elements is what distinguishes my work,” he says.

Katro likes to work with Adobe Photoshop (“It’s the king!”) and Adobe Illustrator, as well as Cinema 4D. But he doesn’t limit himself to digital tools; he also enjoys using acrylic paint to create patterns and textures for his posters—as you can see in this tutorial.

FROM AUDIO TO VISUAL

Katro came to graphic design through music.

“I was an electronic music producer years ago. When I signed my first contract with the label, I wanted to create the artwork for my first EP myself,” he explains. “I was into photography and some image manipulation, but that was the first time I explored graphic design on a real product.”

He kept at it and discovered how much he loved design—in particular, the power to control the end product in such detail. He has a bachelor’s degree in Computing Science and Multimedia, but most of his graphic design skills are self-taught.

Katro loves to see people's reactions to his graphic design work—whether it’s on a product, in an advertisement, or in his subjective artwork, like Baugasm.

BAUGASM POSTER-A-DAY

“I wanted to create something every day and to not cheat,” he says of his poster-a-day project. And it’s something he’s taken very seriously: Even when he ended up in the hospital with two broken ribs, he asked for his laptop and kept creating posters—with a little help (or hindrance) from pain killers.

“I’ve learned so many new things,” he says. “The most exciting part has been that every day I try to make a better poster and every day I try something different. That makes it challenging but also pushes me to experiment.”

Previously, he used Photoshop and other tools to design web and mobile apps.

“Creating the posters has made me explore the potential of the many tools Photoshop and Illustrator offer to experiment and create unique artwork,” he says. “Sometimes you have to challenge yourself and experiment more—and you might just end up learning something new!”

People often ask how Katro comes up with the ideas for his posters.

“Most of the time, it’s just experimentation until I’m happy and tell myself to stop,” he says. “Knowing when to stop is part of being a designer. You have to learn when to finish a project. I could spend hours designing one poster.”

PERSONAL FAVORITES

What makes a great poster?

“For commercial purposes, I think it has to be attractive and has to sell the product or the message,” Katro says. “If it’s experimental, as are most of the Buagasm posters, then I think layout, composition, typography, and overall aesthetics are very important, but also knowing to keep things simple and mix them correctly.”

Katro likes his June 25, 2017, poster because it was created with many different tools.

“I painted the texture with acrylic paint, edited it in Photoshop, made the 3D object in Cinema 4D, and then completed it in Photoshop,” he explains. “Combining different software is the best thing ever, because you have unlimited tools to play with and possible combinations.” (Watch a tutorial on how Katro created this poster.)

An animated poster (check it out on Katro’s Instagram feed) is another of his favorites.

“We always think of posters as printed and still, but with the digital age, posters don't have to be so old school,” he points out. “Why not animate them?

“The first animated poster I created blew my mind,” he continues. “I’m really in love with this one, and I plan to do more. It takes more time, but it’s so worth it!”

Katro likes to tell everyone that his poster-a-day project started out as just a crazy idea, but it has ended up being so much more.

“My advice to people who want to challenge themselves is to create a project, whatever that may be,” he says. “Do it. Even if it’s just for you, it’s a good learning path.”

Katro is about one-third of the way through his second year of creating a poster every day. While he’s not sure exactly what he’ll do next, he is sure that he won’t continue for a third year.

“But Buagasm will definitely continue to exist,” he says. “I’m still exploring ways to expand the project.”

 

See more of Vasjen Katro’s work on his personal website, on his Instagram profile, and in his Skillshare tutorials.